April 2001

April 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman and Beverly P. Mowery

Existing and future 21st century threats will take a different form, but they still will challenge the United States and its allies.

Winning the Wars of the 21st Century” was the appropriate theme of West 2001, the first western conference and exposition by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute in the new millennium. The first of three days of panel discussions and distinguished speaker addresses generated lively debate over how to prepare for—and deter—war in an uncertain era.

April 2001
By Sharon Berry

Three commissions share findings about national security in space.

A consensus is growing among national security experts that the U.S. government’s security policies must make space a top priority. If it does not, a space-based Pearl Harbor could be around the corner.

April 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Highly mobile units foreshadow future network-centric operations.

Fast, agile units employing advanced sensors and situational awareness suites will soon become the U.S. Army’s vanguard rapid deployment forces. Currently mustering and training at Fort Lewis, Washington, these interim brigade combat teams will rely on a variety of wireless communication and information technologies to detect, outmaneuver and engage more heavily armed opponents.

April 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Portable system is first step to future battlefield awareness tool.

A series of mobile groundstations soon will provide commanders with real-time detection and trajectory information about enemy theater and strategic missiles. Developed to operate with a new constellation of advanced early warning satellites, the air-transportable facilities will enhance the survivability of U.S. expeditionary forces.

April 2001
By Maryann Lawlor

Industry giants engage in information operations.

The military is not the only entity that knows information is a powerful weapon. Companies that both develop and depend on communications technologies now recognize that strength increases with numbers and cooperation benefits individual firms and protects overall economic growth. Despite the competitive nature of commerce, information operations have moved from the public to the private sector.

Apri 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Advanced cryptographic program increases security and flexibility.

The U.S. government is poised to adopt a new encryption standard that will replace existing ciphers used in secure, nonsecret communications. The algorithm is compatible across a variety of software and hardware applications and in limited-memory environments such as smart cards.

Advances in computer technology have made older cryptographic systems vulnerable to cracking. Ciphers with relatively short key lengths can now be compromised through brute-force computing. Researchers are preparing modern algorithms with greater key lengths and increased security to thwart such attacks.

April 2001
By Christian B. Sheehy

Initiative puts information security and reliability first.

The U.S. Defense Department is refocusing efforts to protect military communications from computer network threats. By shifting its network operations emphasis from exclusively defensive to a more offensive stance, the government seeks to ensure the integrity of coalition operations. Preparations for projecting a greater disruptive potential to adversaries are underway.

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.

April 2001
By Capt. Philip Ray, USN

Security policy and procedures need further examination.

April 2001
By Lt. Gen. C. Norman Wood, USAF (Ret.)

Small businesses constitute a major element of AFCEA International’s membership. Their breadth of activity in many ways reflects AFCEA’s areas of interest, and the association is paying heed to their impact as well as to their needs.

In a way, small businesses are a microcosm of AFCEA. Their numbers have grown in recent years as larger corporations consolidated and advanced technologies began to emerge from smaller startups. No longer are large companies the dominant mainframes of industry. Now, innovation is distributed among a range of companies large and small, and all play significant roles in leading the information technology revolution.

April 2001
By Maryann Lawlor

Services unify efforts to share data.

Although experts agree that the vast majority of future military operations will be fought by joint forces, the U.S. military’s information technology continues to be somewhat fragmented. To take advantage of all the benefits of information operations during a mission, systems used by all the forces and at all levels must be able to talk to each other. Numerous technologies have been developed that enable this capability; however, the challenge is larger than technology.

April 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman

Bringing diverse information technology programs together under a single umbrella goes beyond settling on common commercial technologies.

Virtually every piece of military electronics hardware, from the simplest handheld personal computing assistant to the most powerful mainframe computer, faces the challenge of interoperability to fit into the U.S. Defense Department’s Global Information Grid. Designed as the ultimate military networking project, the grid is a cornerstone for achieving the information superiority outlined in the department’s Joint Vision 2010 and Joint Vision 2020.

April 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman

The CIA is looking for a few good companies that can serve its information system requirements.

Faced with rapidly changing information technology needs, the Central Intelligence Agency is serving as a venture catalyst to help fund private sector startup companies with promising technologies. An organization established by the agency seeks new companies with commercially viable products and serves as a facilitator providing the firms with access to capital and markets.