Italy is partnering with its local industry to develop a next-generation radio family similar to the U.S. Joint Tactical Radio System. The United States and several other nations will offer significant input in the radios' development.
The complexity of the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance environment has increased significantly during the diverse operations the U.S. military has supported in recent years. From the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq to the devastation in the Gulf Coast region, the ability to share information has been instrumental in saving lives and carrying out effective operations. However, the fast tempo of activity within such a short period of time has brought to light the challenges that still exist in sharing data among organizations.
There was a time when federal agencies were required to buy their goods and services from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA's business was pretty much guaranteed. Like the days of the 10-cent postage stamp, however, that time has passed.
Last summer's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) change of command was bittersweet for the information technology community, as we said farewell to one friend and welcome aboard to another. It also was a reflection of how blessed our nation is that as we make changes at the highest levels in our armed forces and their agencies, we continue to provide superb leadership and management. Even when styles and methods are different, the change almost always turns out to be healthy.
The final phase of a three-stage plan has been put into place to modernize the Defense Information Systems Agency's acquisition process for getting new technologies into the hands of warfighters rapidly. Four new program executive offices will improve integration across product lines and support end-to-end engineering of the Global Information Grid. Streamlining the total acquisition process and holding these offices accountable from a budgetary standpoint are among the goals of the transformational effort.
What may be the oddest looking U.S. Navy craft to set sail in years is carrying the hopes of visionaries who aim to transform Navy ships and missions with the aid of advanced technologies. The composite-material craft couples a new hydrodynamic design with a modular network-centric electronic system to leverage the many innovations emerging from the information technology sector.
The 2006 edition of the U.S. Defense Department's Quadrennial Defense Review, released February 6, 2006, emphasizes the irregular nature of the long war against terrorist networks. The document's recommendations center around agility, flexibility, speed, responsiveness and pre-emption, urging substantial increases in special operations capabilities, according to Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, USN, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A deployable cell-phone-based system will allow coalition warfighters to communicate on the move without relying on vulnerable links to satellite groundstations. Designed for portability, the equipment can form self-healing tactical networks that connect automatically to other nodes and to satellite or landline systems. It relies on third-generation cellular waveforms that transmit live streaming video, provide reduced latency and increase bandwidth and security.
Despite the ongoing push toward information system interoperability, attaining the goal of Defense-Department-wide jointness may fall victim to the need for some stovepipe systems. While U.S. forces continue to strive for joint and coalition interoperability, many specialized roles cannot be served adequately by applying a one-size-fits-all approach to information technology and systems.