MILCOM09

October 21, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

MILCOM 2009 panelists discussing network centricity and coalitions explained the differences that exist in the methodology during operations that comprise more than just U.S. joint forces. Expectations as well as information must be managed, and this can be difficult in an environment that involves different languages as well as different cultures. Malcolm Green, chief of communication services, NC3A, shared that the International Security Assurance Force's (ISAF's) concept of communications involves each country operating in Afghanistan using its own infrastructure.

October 21, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

A person recognizable to anyone who has been in military information technology for a few years offered MILCOM 2009 attendees insights into where the Defense Information Systems Agency is headed. Tony Montemarano, component acquisition executive, DISA, revealed that the agency is working on a campaign plan in which the word "convergence" is used time and time again. The plan, which is in the midst of final modifications, comprises three lines of operations: enterprise infrastructure, command and control, and information sharing.

October 21, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

Unmanned aerial systems were the topic of the final panel session of MILCOM 2009. Although it seems UAVs have been around for a long time-and are essential in current operations-the ground truth is that a number of challenges remain to be resolved before these aircraft can be used to their full potential. Among the challenges is how to reduce weight, size and power needs. In the area of research and development, a number of programs are underway that will increase UAVs' effectiveness on the field. Although the U.S.

October 21, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard is simply enthralled with the opportunities social networking platforms offer. Adm. Thad W. Allen, USCG, opened the final day of MILCOM 2009 by explaining that it took some time for him to move into the Web 2.0 realm, but now that he's there, he understands that it is a domain that all military leaders must learn to use. "We have to understand that the changes in technology, computation and so forth have created what I call a fundamental change in our social atmosphere.

October 20, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

The Honorable Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Defense, said that strategic convergence will distinguish the 21st from the 20th century in both threats and solutions. Speaking at the MILCOM 2009 luncheon today, Chertoff used the binary versus the quantum approach as an analogy to describe national security threats as well as the changes that must occur to deal with them. "In the 1990s, we had the tendency to view the world through a binary lens.

October 20, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

The final session at MILCOM 2009 today focused on the science and technology of communications and networking for current operations. Dr. Cynthia Dion-Schwarz of the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) organization led panel members in a discussion that centered on existing capabilities as well as those that are on the not-too-distant horizon. Dion-Schwarz pointed out that many of the technologies currently in use on the battlefield began as research and development programs that seemed incredible when they began. These include the Global Positioning System, night-vision devices and networks.

October 20, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

The stars were out this morning as Lt. Gen. Dennis Via, USA, director, C4 systems, J-6, the Joint Staff, kicked off today's MILCOM activities. In addition to Gen. Via, a panel of four high-ranking military officials responsible for solving some of the most difficult problems the U.S. faces today explained what their organizations are doing to address the concerns surrounding the theme of the event "The Challenge of Convergence." Panel members agreed that these challenges are going to change drastically as the U.S. military draws down the number of its troops in Iraq while ramping up the troop count in Afghanistan. Gen.

October 20, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

Seven panelists discussed whether the GIG is a fad or reality during MILCOM's first session this morning. At the conclusion of the session, all concurred that not only is the GIG a reality but it has moved beyond its initial objectives and has become the epitome of convergence. Each panelist described the activities of his own organization, which demonstrated that the GIG has indeed diverged from the original intent and now is converging additional capabilities as they become available.

October 20, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

Richard J. Byrne, vice president, command and control center, The MITRE Corporation, wrapped up the unclassified discussion on the first day of MILCOM 2009 by proposing that today's acquisition problems should be viewed in a different manner. Rather than thinking about how to improve what the U.S. government is doing, perhaps agencies-the U.S. Defense Department included-need to come at the problems from an entirely new direction-a very complex direction. Complexity theory can be applied in a number of areas-from acquisition to cyberthreats, Byrne explained.

October 19, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

BOSTON - October 19, 2009 - MILCOM 2009 opened today with a speech by David Gergen, CNN commentator and editor at-large for US. News and World Report. Gergen, who has worked for four U.S. presidents, pointed out that the relationship between president and military has changed over the past two decades. The differences have evolved as the men who occupied the Oval Office and held the position of commander-in-chief of the military themselves did not have first-hand military experience.

October 19, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

MILCOM 2009's first panelists spoke about the practical challenges of the convergence of communications capabilities. Representatives from U.S. government agencies as well as local law enforcement agreed that plans for emergencies and special security events must involve collaboration and preparation, but they also admitted that a plan is just that-a plan. Everyone involved in the command and control of these activities-from the cop on the beat to the person in charge-must be ready for the unexpected.

October 19, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

Lt. Gen. Ted F. Bowlds, USAF, commander, Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, delivered the luncheon speech at MILCOM 2009. Gen. Bowlds stated that the world is changing so fast that it is impossible to predict what innovations will develop as well as threats the U.S. will face in the next 10 to 15 years. "Five years out is about all we can go," he said. Although irregular warfare is the buzzword today, in the spectrum of conflict, it doesn't represent any more than 10 percent to 15 percent of the threat today, he said.