November 2000

November 2000
By Christian B. Sheehy

Existing technology coupled with software product delivers improved networking capabilities.

As businesses increasingly turn to visual methods of interaction, the demand for software programs that support multiple connectivity requirements has fueled growing technological research. The ability to tap the virtually limitless resources of voice, video and data services for use in real-time collaborative communications between companies has attracted interest in the ways these companies can maximize their Internet capabilities.

November 2000
By Sharon Berry

Multidisciplinary approach drafts unlikely candidate for missions.

A research pipeline between biologists and engineers has led to a new class of microrobotics, spawning a paperclip-sized mechanical flying insect that will weigh one-tenth of a gram and will measure 1 inch from wing tip to wing tip. The result will be applied in search and rescue missions, mine detection and even planetary exploration.

November 2000
By Maryann Lawlor

Shared communications capabilities bolster unified efforts.

U.S. military forces on the Korean peninsula are mobilizing the power of technology to nurture a partnership that has been more than 50 years in the making. The unique nature of the Korean theater of operations has prompted the combined and joint commands in that area to fine-tune information systems to meet their distinct requirements.

November 2000
By Alec Umansky

High bandwidth, portable transmission systems quicken communications.

The Australian army is taking advantage of technology that consumers recognize as a faster way to connect to the Internet. To enhance their communications capabilities in the field, the service is collaborating with industry to design equipment that meets its specialized needs. The system has broad applications across a spectrum of other fields, including transportation and energy resources.

November 2000
By Clarence A. Robinson, Jr.

Missile industry restructures to conserve scarce research and development resources.

Forced to go its own way in technology and weapon system development because of a peacetime nonalignment policy and wartime neutrality, Sweden suddenly finds itself the focus of international business attention. Extensive changes are taking place in Sweden’s defense and aerospace industries as foreign interest centers on investment, acquisition, merger and multinational consortium arrangements.

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.

November 2000
By Maryann Lawlor

Despite its vastness, when it comes to cyberspace, it is a small world after all.

The U.S. Pacific Command is cultivating a variety of technological tools that would bring coalition partners into permanent wide area networks and support the numerous partnerships in the vast region. Enhanced connectivity within the U.S. military forces and improved links for foreign nations will support the United States’ primary mission in the Asia-Pacific region—ensuring security in an area of the world that continues to build up its armaments.

November 2000
By Henry S. Kenyon

Brigade subscriber nodes allow soldiers to communicate across a wide spectrum of equipment and protocols.

U.S. Army rapid deployment forces will field an advanced communications management system that will provide its units with a more efficient data conduit than is available with legacy equipment. The vehicle-mounted platform consists of mobile switches and routers that feature integrated commercial and government hardware and software designed to provide voice, video and data service in a tactical environment.

November 2000
By Christian B. Sheehy

Experimental unmanned machines could assume high-risk field duties.

By the latter part of this decade, a fleet of wheeled robots now evolving toward autonomy may perform many of the tasks handled by today’s front-line soldier. The U.S. Army is experimenting with a prototype of radio-operated vehicles capable of engaging in various kinds of reconnaissance and surveillance activities. Once fully integrated into the service, these unmanned units will enable the execution of important objectives while reducing the casualties and logistical complexities often associated with rapid reaction forces.

November 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

Soft commitments go nowhere; shared costs, international standards and testbeds may open the way to future operational successes.

Nations seeking to enable information exchange among international coalition partners face several daunting tasks for laying the groundwork for vital interoperability. Many of these efforts involve individual national commitments to build interoperability into their systems and practices, while others require consultation and consensus before proceeding along equipment deployment paths.

November 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

Leap ahead and reach back become complementary concepts for military network mavens.

The information assets inherent in strategic connectivity may soon extend down to the individual soldier in the foxhole. Not only will combatants be able to provide their own slant on theater operations, they also may be able to tap the massive data resources of the entire U.S. Defense Department.

November 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Air Force’s newest weapon is information, and the service is already developing its related weapon system.

The next air combat operation may feature command and control as a distinct warfighting element. U.S. Air Force planners are working to move information processing and decision making directly into the flow of combat.

This approach does not require choosing between bytes and bombs. Instead, information derived from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) would join air-to-air missiles and precision-guided bombs in an aircraft’s arsenal. Data assimilated from diverse sources would elevate decision making to a level at which it would become an interactive part of warfighting operations.

November 2000
By Lt. Gen. C. Norman Wood, USAF (Ret.)

Information is the Swiss Army Knife of the tactical warfighter. It is a multifaceted tool that can be applied to a wide range of functions, many of which have unintended benefits. It is rapidly migrating from a warfighter’s helper to a more central role in military operations. In this era of network-centric warfare, information is a weapon, and its enabling hardware are becoming weapon systems.

November 2000
By Christian B. Sheehy

Radio architecture provides enhanced functionality.

The U.S. Army is testing a new technology that will enable a seamless connection between the wireless world and the landline world by means of tactical radio networking. Through the use of an already proven network infrastructure, the addition of a centralized routing capability within a family of current-generation tactical field radios has provided access to multiple forms of connectivity that were previously unattainable in the field.