Information technology is widely and often wildly heralded as the key to rearming the U.S. military for networked conflict, marshaling a host of disparate and dispersed bureaucracies to secure the homeland, and exporting American principles of liberty and justice. But, cloaked by hubris is the indisputable fact that the worth of information technology is established not by how much it costs, but how intelligently it is employed and how well it satisfies user needs.
U.S. government research centers are applying existing technologies in new ways to help fight the war on terrorism. These new applications will permit better detection of radioactive materials or chemical and biological weapons and aid first responders in the event of a chemical or biological attack.
An interactive wargaming program developed by the U.S. military for joint force exercises is helping to protect potential terrorism targets in the United States. The software was employed to model security scenarios for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
In warfare, as in chess, victory often depends on the ability to foresee the opponent's next move. So, it seems more than a little appropriate that Lt. Gen. Carl G. O'Berry, USAF (Ret.), a chess enthusiast, is now vice president of a company that is helping the United States develop an integrated battlespace designed to redefine modern warfare.
Businesses and the U.S. military have between them a multitude of information assurance programs to protect against cyberattacks; however, a recent research project reveals significant gaps in national policies, procedures and relationships that must be addressed to ensure success. As the United States becomes more dependent on technology and near-real-time data, information operations are evolving into a critical national security matter that requires a joint approach.
Miniaturized routers have been merged with mobile technology to give the military uninterrupted high bandwidth connectivity to mission-critical data as forces move throughout a theater of operation, all via one small rugged device. The capability could network troops in unique ways and solve defense-identified challenges of achieving seamless communications mobility between networks while addressing what is known as the form factor-maintaining a small device size and configuration. It can provide interoperability within a group as well as among defense organizations.
In the war against terrorism, ship and aircraft activity may be foremost on the nightly news and in the public eye, but in information-age conflicts an almost invisible force is just as critical to mission success. The military service members who build communications infrastructure from the ground up under combat conditions have become major contributors to winning battles fought by joint and coalition forces.
A new approach to personal computer security confounds internal thieves and external hackers by making data disappear without a trace. The new security system effectively conceals the very existence of critical files and applications from all except the authorized user.
The military services must accelerate their incorporation of new technologies and methodologies to ensure victory in the war on terrorism, and information systems lie at the heart of these efforts. These technologies are likely to be the glue that bonds conventional and unconventional forces, the cornerstone of homeland security and the basis for ensuring continued military supremacy in all situations around the globe.
The war on terrorism has added a new sense of urgency to the Central Intelligence Agency's science and technology development. The agency is accelerating its work in a number of key areas both to serve ongoing operations against al Qaida and to ensure long-term vigilance against asymmetric adversaries who are constantly changing their ways of operating.
Already tasked with maintaining a steady menu of operations covering one-third of the Earth's surface, the U.S. Pacific Command now is fully engaged in the war on terrorism. The command is fighting disparate al Qaida groups in different countries concurrent with supporting operation Enduring Freedom in the Afghanistan region.
When U.S. trade and military alliances are mentioned, Europe usually is the first region that comes to mind. That continent has been a long-established trading partner, and the nations ringing the North Atlantic set the global standard for democratic capitalism in the post-World-War-II years. In foreign affairs, NATO stands tall with more than half a century of security and peacekeeping that defines it as the most successful alliance in history.
Communications system upgrades planned for the Korean theater will support network-centric warfare, transforming the Asia-Pacific region into a cutting-edge digital environment in both theory and practice. Armed with a vision of how information technology creates a common operational understanding of the battlespace, military leaders on the Korean peninsula are using lessons of the past to chart a new course for the future.
The interception of a U.S. Navy EP-3 signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft over Chinese coastal waters early last year highlighted the activities of the People's Republic of China coastal defense forces, which have been low-profile and largely remain so today. Such interceptions and intrusions over Chinese waters and nearby coastal areas have occurred for decades, as with the former Soviet Union. In addition to the expected People's Liberation Army Navy assets, a surprising array of non-navy units are integrated into offensive and defensive military coastal roles, in part because the People's Republic of China has no force comparable to the U.S. Coast Guard. These units include coastal air defense as well as nonmilitary naval forces from a variety of paramilitary organizations.
The Central Intelligence Agency is reallocating vital resources to address the urgent and long-term needs of the war on terrorism. In addition to transferring substantial numbers of analysts and increasing overseas operational activities, the agency is establishing new links with nontraditional domestic customers.
Rapidly changing technology, along with the high demand for well-trained communicators to support current operations, is testing the limits of the U.S. Army's human resources and training facilities. To meet this challenge, the service is moving quickly to ensure that the people who keep communications up and running have the skills they need for the systems they will use.
The U.S. Army is deploying a transportable satellite broadcast management and uplink system that features greater bandwidth than traditional satellite systems, reduces transmission time and frees space on other tactical communications equipment.
U.S. civilian emergency management and law enforcement agencies are becoming increasingly capable of interoperating with the U.S. Defense Department. By enhancing communications and computer networking systems, organizations are readying themselves for flexible multiagency and multiservice joint operations in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
A new type of defensive software protects computer networks by actively identifying reconnaissance probes and blocking subsequent attacks. The program operates in front of a firewall by marking all incoming scans and probes. The mark consists of false data about servers and other applications. Any attempts to penetrate the system using the distorted information is treated as an attack and automatically stopped.
A voice-recognition protocol may be on the verge of widespread market acceptance. Developed by a consortium of major telecommunications and technology firms, the standard creates a set of programming rules that can be easily incorporated into existing telephone and wireless networks.