Viewpoint

August 2007
By Christopher K. Mellon

A simple mantra can change the course of history. “It’s the economy, stupid!” shifted the tide of a political race by keeping partisan foot soldiers focused on the critical issue of a campaign.           

July 2007
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Technology that connects anybody also connects everybody.

June 2007
By Lt. Col. Forrest B. Hare, USAF

 
U.S. Air Force personnel are cyberwarriors who must be skilled at establishing satellite communications, especially during combat operations.
Confronting misconceptions paves the way for superiority in the third domain.

February 2007
By Col. James P. Kohlmann, USA, and Col. Keith H. Snook, USA (Ret.)

 
Typical communications infrastructure destruction caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita led the U.S. Defense Department and the U.S. Northern Command to deploy military communications systems to the region.
Numerous interoperability efforts are underway, but an overarching, unifying concept is missing.

January 2007
By Lt. Gen. Jack Woodward, USAF (Ret.), and Ryan M. LaSalle

 

The era of network-centric warfare combines precision operations, agile ground forces, unprecedented surveillance and real-time communications that connect diverse forces in remote locations. A new technology-based approach may consolidate available data in a way that allows commanders and logisticians to predict outcomes mathematically.
©Ed Kashi/Corbis

August 2006
By Col. Taylor Chasteen, USA; Maj. Cheryl Hynes, USA; and Lt. Col. Ken Blakely, USA

 
An Internet Café, sponsored by the 13th Corps Support Command in Balad, Iraq, has helped deployed warfighters keep in touch with family through e-mail since 2004. To keep this morale booster viable, however, the U.S. Army may have to make adjustments so that legitimate e-mail is not viewed as spam.
Nascent standard may disrupt U.S. Army e-mail flow.

February 2006
By Robert Fonow

Threats to networking extend beyond virtual vulnerabilities.

In the United States, both corporate and Defense Department telecommunications have developed along a path of increasing complexity to support global geopolitical or commercial requirements. The paradox is that while this complexity improves the ability to support worldwide operations, the underlying network is becoming more vulnerable.

May 1999
By Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal

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.

Members of the imagery community include the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), the National Reconnaissance Office, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense and their relevant subordinates as well as the congressional oversight committees. This community is facing at least seven key issues, beginning with the changing nature of the threat.

January 2000
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

An absence of trust and common perceptions of privacy will pace security reforms.

The exploding use of encryption in cyberspace has spawned a dilemma for policy makers. They must strive to balance citizens' rights to security and privacy with the needs of law enforcement and intelligence to police what a senior defense official terms a "lawless frontier," and others call the "World Wild Web."

March 2000
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Alarmed that its borders can easily be breached through technology in the hands of criminals, terrorists, nontraditional foes and even the merely inquisitive, the federal government has broadened the definition of national security. In doing so, it has established a timetable for erecting defenses, enlisted a host of recalcitrant bedfellows into its national security apparatus, and charged the intelligence and law enforcement communities to collaborate and perform what some believe without resources to be a near-Sisyphean task.

June 2000
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Clash between revolution and evolution challenges military doctrine and systems integration.

The military’s increasing reliance on commercial off-the-shelf information systems is leading to an environment in which the technologies could be driving the doctrine. The opportunities—and the challenges—presented by these new technologies cover the gamut of communications, computing, sensors, networks, interoperability and security. The defense community’s response to this development may define military superiority for years to come.

November 2000
By James H. Ward

In the move toward depending on contractors, the pros and cons must be weighed carefully.

Nowhere does the battle for or against outsourcing rage more fiercely than in the halls of the Pentagon, seat of the most powerful military in the world. The U.S. Defense Department is finding itself in the throes of a debate that might, over time, cause it to cede its hegemony to commercial forces and lose the tools it will need to fight on distant battlefields.

February 2005
By David E. Peterson

 
U.S. warfighters in the Coalition Operations and Intelligence Center in Camp Doha, Kuwait, monitor the ground war in Iraq. Computer-to-computer signals intelligence gathering could be used as another means to conduct intelligence-gathering and psychological operations.

Computer forensics offers new intelligence-gathering options.

January 2005
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

It’s the evil them versus the inept us.

Today’s threats to U.S. national security range from the bloody reality of terrorist suicide bombers who kill and maim individuals to weapons of mass destruction that potentially hold many thousands at risk. The U.S. information infrastructure is a vital element of U.S. national security, but the design and management of software render its terminals, nodes and networks demonstrably vulnerable to malicious manipulation.

January 2001
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Commercial off-the-shelf procurement is now a fact of life for the U.S. Defense Department. This thrust is driven as much by economics as it is by technology advances. However, the headlong rush to commercialize the defense technology base is producing unwanted complications that threaten to undermine the original goals of commercial acquisition.

April 2001
By Capt. Philip Ray, USN

Security policy and procedures need further examination.

April 2001
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Asymmetric tactics and network-centric warfare demand a new look at command and control. Information now is a weapon of choice; software, radio frequencies and bandwidth are critical commodities; networks are essential delivery platforms; and access controls are mandatory. All must be melded into operational art. The foremost challenge for commanders and staffs in this new battlespace environment may be the command and control (C2) of the infostructure.

January 2002
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

The tragic events of September 11 provide ghastly substance to the metaphor of asymmetric warfare. And, they add credence to prescient but nebulous warnings of threats to homeland security and concomitant vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures.

While public switched networks (PSNs), cellular telephones, wireless networks and the Internet—the backbone and heart of the U.S. information infrastructure—were not prime targets, the cascading consequence of collateral damage to information systems was laid bare. The information infrastructure was found wanting in support to intelligence collection, law enforcement, disaster mitigation and recovery efforts.

June 2002
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Military superiority, diplomatic deftness and economic clout are measurable and globally respected instruments of U.S. national power. Information, on the other hand, while a potent strategic resource and foundation for national power, has not earned equal recognition. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the failure to win the battle for hearts and minds of Arab and Muslim populations. The world’s superpower is, in the view of most commentators, losing the propaganda war.

October 2002
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Why information technology can’t connect the dots.

Information technology is widely and often wildly heralded as the key to rearming the U.S. military for networked conflict, marshaling a host of disparate and dispersed bureaucracies to secure the homeland, and exporting American principles of liberty and justice. But, cloaked by hubris is the indisputable fact that the worth of information technology is established not by how much it costs, but how intelligently it is employed and how well it satisfies user needs.

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