Transformation will be essential to NATO's new missions in the post-Cold-War global war on terror, according to the alliance's leadership. And, as in the United States, government and industry will need to partner to achieve the individual goals that must be reached for that transformation to succeed.
The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) information technology environment is rapidly evolving and maturing, all to the benefit of the warfighter. Most of these changes are directly related to contributions from both the services and the joint command, control, communications and computers community. Today, we are applying technologies in a way that allows us to enjoy the advantages of the network-centric operational environment concept envisioned for tomorrow. This dynamic pace of change among applications, supporting infrastructure and mode of communication presents us with both opportunities and challenges.
The recent disasters caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast of the United States laid bare many long-overlooked facts. Among them is the importance of local communications interoperability. From individuals at home to emergency responders operating on a national scale, communications connectivity is vital during a crisis. The communications shortcomings experienced during that series of disasters contributed to the difficulties faced by the populace.
The United Kingdom's tactical and operational commands soon will be linked by a mobile, high-capacity communications network. Designed around an Internet protocol architecture, the system replaces aging asynchronous transfer mode equipment with a scalable application that can be configured rapidly to meet the needs of an expeditionary force. It also interoperates with other digital communications technologies now entering service with the British military and provides a secure messaging channel to coalition allies.
The next terrorist attack on the United States mainland might take the form of conventional missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction. These missiles could be launched from a number of different offshore platforms or basing systems that would give citizens in coastal cities almost no warning before impact. Either cruise missiles or short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, which are easily obtainable in the global weapons market, could be used to inflict untold devastation on any of the 75 percent of the U.S. public that lives within 200 miles of the nation's coastline.
Where many sources of intelligence currently confound military analysts' efforts to build an accurate picture of the battlespace, a new joint Web-based system allows them to obtain information through a uniform query across the field of intelligence databases. Known as the Joint Intelligence Operations Capability-Iraq, or JIOC-I, the system gives analysts the ability to extract data faster and to spend more time on the analytical side of their tasking.
Renowned mathematician George B. Dantzig died on May 13 at age 90, and the U.S. Strategic Command stood up a new component to focus on global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts on May 31. A mathematical model used to optimize resource allocation could tie Dantzig's work to the new group.
The U.S. Air National Guard is using a data mining and analysis tool to keep track of everything from jet engines to personnel qualifications. The software package allows users to access and compile information from a variety of sources, offering the ability to conduct high-level analysis or in-depth study of a specific unit's readiness. The technology will soon enter service with the U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve.
George Pedersen always wanted to run a $1 billion company. When he started ManTech International Corporation on a shoestring budget several decades ago, the hard-charging executive knew achieving that level of market share would be a watershed moment for his fledgling enterprise.
As the military looks to commercial technology to help satisfy its communications needs, U.S. Army reservists working in the private sector are bringing a welcomed source of knowledge to the table. Grecian Firebolt 2005, one of the nation's largest annual training exercises for Army Reserve communicators, highlighted the ever-closing gap between military know-how and innovative commercial solutions.