Necessity may be the mother of invention, but in Afghanistan’s eastern region, the need to connect dismounted soldiers to the network has prompted a mother lode of innovation. The forbidding area is unlike any other part of Afghanistan, according to U.S. Army officials. With mountains more than 20,000 feet high, much of the tough terrain is not traversable with ground vehicles, making dismounted operations a must in the area. Connecting those dismounted troops to the network is a critical necessity, which is why Army officials are experimenting with a host of prototypes designed to put dismounted soldiers on the digital map. Those systems include the Distributed Tactical Communications System, the Broadband Global Area Network satellite terminal and the Panther satellite communications system.