March 1999

March 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

Digitized signals allow versatile tactical radio units, networked radar systems and wireless command posts.

New very high frequency radios are sharing the airwaves with sensor systems in battlefield networking. Both communications and radar units have become portable enough that they now are mobile nodes in an interlocking information web.

Increased digitization is allowing command networks to move information about a theater of operations like a traffic policeman controls vehicle flow through a busy circle. The same technology is enabling planners to simulate radio networks to improve deployment efficiency and to reduce interference and electronic countermeasure vulnerability.

March 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

A portable computer can host realistic communications links without scarce and intrusive orbital connectivity.

A simulation tool that creates a virtual satellite allows ground personnel to rehearse satellite communications and operations disciplines without tying up valuable orbiters. The new system enables warfighters to train on, assess and certify orbital communications links without interrupting ongoing satellite operations.

March 1999
By Fred V. Reed

Developmental software itself ultimately may be the limiting factor in future semiconductor design.

Semiconductor designers are increasing their dependence on computer-aided design and testing to advance microcircuitry beyond the current state of the art. Demand for more and more complex chips has necessitated taking design out of the hands of engineers and into the realm of cyberspace.

March 1999
By Fred V. Reed

Consumers say goodbye to the mouse and keyboard, and let their fingers do the walking across computer screens.

Touch-screen technologies based on surface waves and improved resistive screen systems promise to increase touch-display durability, making these devices more useful for both military and general public applications. Although several current offerings provide users with the convenience of entering mouse-free computer commands, many have drawbacks that have limited their consistent, effective use. Two new approaches address these problems, offering additional options to current users and opening up potential applications in a variety of markets.

March 1999
By Edward J. Walsh

Pilots eye targets, then engage controls without looking down or maneuvering into firing position.

March 1999
By Mark H. Kagan

Novel twist on display technologies gives Army generators enhanced capabilities.

Two new types of flat screen displays are now being used in rugged military and commercial applications. The first type, which was designed for use on U.S. Army field generators, is an intelligent display screen that employs an innovative “transflective” design. This allows information to be easily read in both bright sunlight and darkness while requiring unusually low power inputs to operate.

March 1999
By Mark H. Kagan

European Union remains focused on forming a single market without legal and regulatory barriers.

The introduction of the euro is expected to give a significant boost to the already healthy expansion of electronic commerce throughout Europe. The priorities of governments and regulatory bodies on the continent, however, will continue to be concentrated on eliminating obstructions to emerging opportunities and establishing a predictable legal framework that will apply to all members of the European Union.

March 1999
By Mark H. Kagan

Troops learn that new gear is not their father’s single channel ground and airborne radio system anymore.

Technology advances have transformed a longstanding U.S. Army radio system into a new device that barely resembles its progenitor. Features such as position location and tactical internet access promise to change the way Army forces operate on the battlefield, and other improvements in the pipeline may change the nature of the communication system.

March 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

Military experts are adopting commercial approaches to develop efficient business practices with industry.

The Defense Department is melding the expertise of the business and technology worlds to embrace electronic commerce as its primary means of transaction. To enable the services and defense agencies to conduct business with private industry more efficiently, the department is working with its contractors to adapt their own best practices and technologies to military requirements.

March 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Data interchange over the Internet links players previously left out of the game.

One of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers has a goal—to operate in a paperless environment with its suppliers by the year 2000. A web-based tool, which also speeds response times to customers’ requests, is bringing the company closer to that objective.

March 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

University of Texas center explores the future of commerce as emerging electronic marketplaces and communities develop.

Professors and students at the Center for Research in Electronic Commerce at the University of Texas at Austin are helping government and industry understand how business practices should adapt to the electronic age. By exploring the dynamics of the digital marketplace, center participants are gathering and providing knowledge about one of the world’s most rapidly growing business arenas. Their goal is to determine where the world of electronic commerce is headed and how best to arrive there.

March 1999
By Lt. Gen. C. Norman Wood, USAF (Ret.)

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.