Back in 1946 when AFCEA and SIGNAL Magazine were new, the number-one technology problem vexing military planners was to provide mobile communications to the warfighter. Now, 60 years later, we face exactly the same challenge. Even though all of the other factors of warfare have changed, that problem still persists.
The U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review and the fiscal year 2007 defense budget submission were noteworthy for their focus on special operations forces. Both documents called for increased emphasis on small, highly trained, mobile units in the ongoing global war on terrorism. Our success in ridding
The military is on the cusp of a new generation of sensor advances. Signal processing and detection technologies are uniting to provide better information and understanding than ever before. Combine that development with the global network being extended to the warfighter and you have the potential for the greatest situational awareness picture ever envisioned by a military planner.
But the pitfall that the military must avoid has not changed: sensor overload. Information that is collected by a sensor must get to the person who needs it in the right format and in a timely manner. How to do that without overwhelming the user has been a topic of debate for years.
Last summer’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) change of command was bittersweet for the information technology community, as we said farewell to one friend and welcome aboard to another. It also was a reflection of how blessed our nation is that as we make changes at the highest levels in our armed forces and their agencies, we continue to provide superb leadership and management. Even when styles and methods are different, the change almost always turns out to be healthy.
The headline-driven controversy over the PATRIOT Act tends to obscure many of the key issues that buttress this important element in the war on terrorism. The Free World is facing an unyielding enemy that is using every aspect of Western society—from its liberties and protections to its technological infrastructure—to suit its twisted ideology that lauds mass murder of innocents. The
This year, AFCEA International marks its 60th anniversary. As with other successful organizations, the key to AFCEA’s future lies in its members. Our corporate, government and military members do more than just define the association; they also serve as the focal point of our activities, which are entering a new phase in the association’s storied saga.
As AFCEA embarks on a course into its seventh decade, I am very proud of the service that our association continues to provide to our members’ nations. This reflects well on the ability of our chapters and their regions to bring together government and industry to understand requirements and to develop solutions.
From its start as an adjunct to warfighting to its expanded role in all forms of military activities, the discipline of information operations has steadily increased in importance to the modern force. The concept has grown in size and scope, and it now finds itself occupying an important seat at the table of force projection. Yet this evolution did not come about without difficulty, and challenges still remain before the true effectiveness of information operations can be realized.
The recent disasters caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the
There should be no debate over the need for effective information security in the information revolution. As digital information becomes more vital with the growth of cyberspace, securing it increases in importance. However, even with broad public awareness of the need for cybersecurity, the infosphere is faced with a serious challenge that is multifaceted and that defies easy solution.
For example, recently my wife’s computer rebelled and refused to cooperate. As the machine’s functions deteriorated and my wife’s frustrations grew, she declared that if the cause were another virus, then she would give up going online and would cede cyberspace to the bad guys.
When people look at the ongoing force transformation, they probably see investments in technology changing the way that the military services are equipped. The goal is for the military to be better prepared to fight the nation’s wars in the foreseeable future. This visage might translate to lighter, more agile forces; a more ground-centric military; or more automated and unmanned platforms—depending on the viewer’s perspective.
This year will mark a watershed event for AFCEA International; one that we think will be very beneficial to all of our constituencies: government, military, industry and academia.
AFCEA International’s objective always has been—and will continue to be—to inform the public, to provide professional development opportunities, and to bring together industry and government with unquestionable ethics. As part of this thrust, for more than 50 years AFCEA has held its annual convention and exposition in Washington, D.C. Recently known as TechNet International, the event has served to consolidate association sponsors, members and their related technologies—in effect, AFCEA International’s identity—under a single roof.
As Alvin Toffler predicted almost 30 years ago, society is transitioning from its second wave, the industrial revolution, to the third wave, the information age. All three waves, beginning with the agrarian age, offered their own elements of control that proved vital to prevailing economically and politically. In the first wave, the objective in the agrarian society was to control the land from which life-giving food would be harvested. In the industrial second wave, the objective was to control the means of production. Now, in the information age, the objective is to control the information technology.
Just one year after the Defense Department launched its Defense Reform Initiative, information technology is proving to be a vital player in this effort to bring the department into the next millennium. The U.S. military’s increasing reliance on information systems for operations and support has opened the door for the commercial sector both to enable change and to benefit from it.
The network-centric Free World is placing a greater emphasis on intelligence than ever before—both for battlespace military operations and for winning the war on terrorism. However, while much attention has been focused on intelligence collection, processing and dissemination, it is knowledge management that will win or lose conflicts in the future.
This month, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrates its 50th anniversary. In addition to preserving peace and freedom for members on three continents, NATO’s strength and resolve contributed to the collapse and dissolution of its adversary. With the alliance’s original task accomplished, NATO now stands on the cusp of a new era where its primary mission can be to extend freedom to those long denied.