Addressing the complex issues security, defense and intelligence-gathering pose in the global war on terrorism can be an overwhelming challenge for any single organization. But experts from around the world are working diligently to cooperate and find the best solutions to tackle these issues. The task is not an easy one. They must balance protection and freedom, safety and privacy and at the same time learn how to collaborate to degrees unheard of in the past. Technology offers many solutions, but some of the best work is done when these experts and the people on the front lines meet face to face, roll up their sleeves and engage in dialogue.
These are exciting times in terms of technology at the U.S. Senate as we work to execute our information technology (IT) strategic plan. Having just implemented a comprehensive active directory and messaging architecture and entering the testing phase of a new services portal to bring business to the Web, we are poised for the next technology wave to have the biggest impact on the Senate-convergence communications technologies, including Internet protocol telephony (IPT).
The People's Republic of China has developed a marine corps for maritime and amphibious operations. However, instead of being designed to invade Taiwan as expected by many Western experts, China's marine corps appears to have been created for South Sea expansion. A major upgrading of weapons, structure and support is making the Chinese marines an increasingly viable threat to nearby islands.
Under a new joint and integrated framework, the Netherlands military is addressing its traditional fragmented satellite communications capabilities by consolidating existing commercial C- and Ku-band satellite communications. The framework involves using flexible and more cost-effective arrangements and infrastructure. A prime strategy is to extend robust X-band military satellite communications usage from a limited shipborne-only role to the air force and army by purchasing capacity on the United Kingdom's new Skynet 5 private finance initiative. In addition, the country is inserting new capabilities through participation in the U.S. Advanced Extremely High Frequency Program as an international partner. This mix of media is designed to provide flexible, available and assured beyond line-of-sight connectivity to Dutch forces.
A World Wide Web-enabled technology is on the verge of dramatically changing the way people and computers interact and share information. It provides a common architecture that permits data to be communicated and reused across application, enterprise and community boundaries. This automated context mapping capability will allow complex network-centric systems to reach their full potential and to scale beyond present systems.
An emerging design methodology allows system designers to connect different vendor applications to share information across a network or networks and to adapt rapidly to changing technologies. With this structure, a variety of software tools can interoperate and organizations can establish metrics to monitor system use and data sharing between internal departments or external agencies.
The changes wrought on the U.S. military by the global war on terrorism are more far-reaching and are happening more quickly than expected, according to U.S. military and government leaders. These changes affect everything from the information infrastructure to personnel policies, and the long-term nature of that war means that even more changes are likely to emerge.
Col. Steven Spano's response to this question, on behalf of U.S. Air Forces in Europe (SIGNAL Magazine, January 2006, page 336), eloquently articulates much of the critical thinking that is taking place in the U.S. Marine Corps today. His assertion that "it is not about the technology, but how it is applied, that matters," speaks volumes about our service's approach toward emerging technologies.
The Defense Intelligence Agency is meeting the global threat head-on by moving from its traditional decentralized information technology framework to a consolidated, enterprise-centric environment. As part of a transformational effort called the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Way Ahead, the agency is replacing its stovepiped environment with regional service centers that have global reach. The centers facilitate all-source data access and enable worldwide availability of information, and the consolidation will correct inefficiencies, decrease costs and improve user productivity.
The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory undertakes a busy agenda for the next two years and beyond after releasing its 2006 Experimentation Campaign Plan. The 41 initiatives in the plan fall into seven categories: command and control, maneuver, logistics, fires, intelligence, force protection and mine countermeasures.