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.
The federal government and the military are pursuing parallel paths to implement information systems as they incorporate commercial off-the-shelf technologies. Their varying paces of implementation have resulted in a polyglot of capabilities that, while different, must still interoperate and evolve as new technologies emerge from commercial innovators.
Technology providers are responding to the growing demand for telemedicine services by combining individual strengths. Companies that specialize in integration are working hand in hand with medical personnel to determine preferences and needs and then are bringing this information back to hardware and software developers for implementation into products. Individually, these companies could only bring part of the solution to the medical community; together, they are helping to increase the use of telemedicine.
Lightweight ultrasound technology that captures three-dimensional images may help determine the extent of internal bleeding of injured soldiers on the battlefield at least 40 times faster than current equipment. Although the capability to acquire these pictures has been achieved in the past, a system currently being developed by a medical center under contract with the U.S. Defense Department would put this medical service closer to the front lines by making the equipment easily portable.
The Naval Research Laboratory, the U.S. Navy's primary in-house facility for basic and applied research, is taking a leading role in the development of advanced applications of both solid-state semiconductor devices and vacuum electronics-two technologies widely thought to be heading in opposite directions.
Just as information system users are becoming accustomed to the concept of cyberwar, a new form of information conflict is emerging that rests on a completely different set of principles. Popularly known as netwar, it is based on a strategy of accessing a network, not to destroy it but to maintain and operate it as a tool to gather support and maintain communications.
The U.S. Department of Defense is not fully exploiting information technology in military operations and departmental procedures. For an organization that relies on information superiority and technological capabilities to put U.S. national defense at an advantage, the department is lax in thwarting potentially devastating threats to its information systems.
While the security industry concentrates on protecting systems from external threats, a danger to information access is brewing from within organizations. The expansion of and growing reliance on networks is jeopardizing military information technology by exposing numerous sectors and even entire commands to errors that are introduced internally by a single entity.
Researchers at one federal agency are adding a new dimension to remote access computing via the Internet. A computer program created through research at the agency provides a web-based interface that simplifies command-driven queuing systems and applications environments. Without extensive expertise in complicated command language, users can now perform computing tasks on remote systems as if directly connected to them.