The U.S. Defense Department's ambitious effort to develop and field a family of multipurpose software-defined radios is beginning to make progress after numerous setbacks. The Joint Tactical Radio System program's goal is to replace the services' myriad radios with equipment designed for joint interoperability. The project is back on track after cost overruns and a lack of oversight in key areas drew government criticism and forced it to undergo a major reorganization in March 2006.
The U.S. seat of power will be home to the country's first regional communications network of networks to link police, firefighters and first responders. Working with its geographic neighbors, Washington, D.C., begins acceptance testing of the network within the district next month. Once fully in place, the system will enable emergency personnel throughout the National Capital Region to communicate and share information seamlessly with each other.
Advances in technology soon may make large-scale mesh networks a reality. The developments will create a system that can handle hundreds of sensors without occupying all the available bandwidth. The advancements improve communication among mobile nodes and support low-bandwidth sensors.
A portable device that will be among the first of its kind to incorporate secure voice capability as well as e-mail and personal digital assistant functionality is on schedule for distribution by the end of the year. The device's features will include secure transmission up to Top Secret level for voice and up to Secret level for data. Its small, integrated package will enable troops to take advantage of these features while they are mobile.
Five Myths of Cyberspace and Cyberpower by Lt. Col. Forrest B. Hare, USAF
Scientists Design Sensor-Embedded Insects By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.
A team of engineers, physicists and biologists is seeking to create insect cyborgs—creatures with a mixture of organic and mechanical parts that could be used for military applications. The realization of cyborgs with embedded machine components would provide stealthy robots that use their own muscle actuators, which have been developed over millions of years of evolution.