Field operatives can share the capabilities of their headquarters counterparts to access and cross-reference law enforcement data from large archives or active files. Software capable of running on commercial off-the-shelf hardware allows collection and dissemination of vital police information from diverse sources without overwhelming its user.
The Defense Department is striving to link its diverse battlefield communications through a single system based on an airborne platform. This system would be capable of providing connectivity among radio and cellular telephony users while loitering over a theater of operations, and its capabilities could also be applied to intelligence collection and dissemination.
The advent of increasingly sophisticated threat organizations as well as the need to interoperate with technologically mature militaries are impelling many nations to acquire highly capable communications systems that are available from only a few sources. One system, the PRC2100V Spectre V, is the latest in a series of tactical voice and data communications systems and was designed primarily for use by countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as in emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe.
Economic uncertainties, a rapidly changing political picture, and growing regional rivalries complicate U.S. efforts to preserve security in the Pacific region. The world's largest ocean abutting the most populous continent offers numerous challenges to U.S. forces counted on as the major font of stability in that area.
The National Imagery and Mapping Agency is fielding a team of commercial companies to provide vital geospatial information services to military and civilian government customers. The goal is not only to rapidly obtain various products ranging from basic mapping to detailed geospatial imagery, but also to establish an extensive commercial base of geospatial information services and generate two-way technology transfer.
As satellite data volume swells and virtual environments appear on more desktops, knowledgeable commanders are making split-second decisions by relying on their experience. Soon they will have the support of smart systems replete with subject matter expert material that describes choices and their consequences.
The role of imagery as a national intelligence asset could be on the cusp of a promising alternative future, or it could be about to dwindle significantly. Much depends on the choices that the imagery community makes over the next several years.
Unity and simplicity are moving to the Pentagon. After more than 50 years of accumulating individual communications technologies to meet information distribution needs, the military headquarters is following the lead of its individual services and is well on its way, on time and on budget, to creating a joint and integrated information technology system.
The U.S. Air Force has demonstrated the ability to provide airborne joint surveillance target attack radar system operators with real-time video ground imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle. The capability allows positive identification of targets, decreased reporting and response times for attacking critical targets, and reduced fratricide.
New versions of handheld tactical radios offer secure links, improved portability and the ability to function after being submerged in up to 20 meters (66 feet) of fresh or salt water. Special operations forces equipped with these radios can travel lighter and be in touch as soon as they get out of the water, instead of having to stop, unpack and hook up their radios.