February 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman

No longer an independent operation, battlespace awareness is now a part of the fight.

U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is relinquishing its separate identity and becoming an integral part of air combat operations. Sensor advances and the advent of network-centric warfare have both increased the discipline’s importance and compressed the time required to carry out its mission taskings.

February 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

Smaller, more proficient devices provide sharper signal differentiation for both military and commercial uses.

Highly refined signal filters will open new vistas in applications ranging from complex intelligence gathering to cellular telephony. The advances emerge from high-temperature superconducting materials incorporated into semiconductor chips. Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have moved some aspects of this technology to the private sector for production and commercialization.

April 1999
By Clarence A. Robinson, Jr.

Dangerous theater competitors in Asian flash points engender increasing threat environment instabilities.

Sails billowing from strong economic, technology and military winds, the U.S. ship of state is tacking toward the future, seeking to shape its own strategic environment. Dead ahead in Asian waters, however, are ominous heavy weather and treacherous shoals. The U.S. military and its allies are facing a growing number of hostile rogue states that are equipping themselves with dangerous technologies designed to thwart power projection.

May 1999
By Mark H. Kagan

Exercise shows that operators on aircraft can use video to confirm identities of radar images of ground targets.

The U.S. Air Force has demonstrated the ability to provide airborne joint surveillance target attack radar system operators with real-time video ground imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle. The capability allows positive identification of targets, decreased reporting and response times for attacking critical targets, and reduced fratricide.

June 1999
By Frank Colucci

Post-Cold-War widely varied emitters require more discriminating detection.

The U.S. Army is developing new countermeasures to defeat smarter air defense threats, including systems that rely on radar targeting technology. The recently introduced suite of tools detects, identifies, locates and jams modern gun and missile radars.

On the AH-64D Longbow Apache and other battlefield helicopters, radio frequency countermeasures offer protection in a threat-rich environment. On the Army’s digital battlefield, the technology promises to classify and target threats for a true joint force networked on the tactical internet.

October 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

An organization designed to support military campaigns now finds itself in the thick of information operations.

The National Security Agency is reorganizing its structure and activities to serve as a full-fledged participant in military operations. This break from its traditional role of providing support to decision makers and warfighters reflects the growing magnitude of information in military operations.

October 1999
By Maryann Lawlor

Acquiring the latest plans of an adversary is no longer only the craft of undercover agents.

Intelligence-gathering techniques perfected by the government have made their way from the battlefield to the boardroom and now to corporate war rooms. These distinctively designed facilities are headquarters to a company’s team of specialists who provide decision makers with knowledge that is critical to corporate survival and growth in today’s highly competitive environment.

December 1999
By Joan C. Marburger

Security agency works with commercial sector to produce next-generation systems.

The National Security Agency is spearheading a U.S. Defense Department effort to develop, with commercial assistance, joint tactical signals intelligence systems. The agency has formed a steering group to shape an architecture for generating standards around which industry will design and build the next generation of tactical signals intelligence systems.

January 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

Being able to extract useful information from archives is the new vital talent for rapidly changing operations.

The U.S. defense intelligence community is changing its information philosophy from emphasis on-call functional or geopolitical expertise toward rapid access to relevant knowledge from vast data files. To accommodate this shift, new technologies are enabling planners to implement an information architecture designed to provide authorized customers with streamlined access to vital information or expertise.

April 2000
By Clarence A. Robinson, Jr.

Army’s Land Warfare Information Activity provides model of profiling approaches to meet new hazards.

Creation of a national operations and analysis hub is finding grudging acceptance among senior officials in the U.S. national security community. This fresh intelligence mechanism would link federal agencies to provide instant collaborative threat profiling and analytical assessments for use against asymmetrical threats. National policy makers, military commanders and law enforcement agencies would be beneficiaries of the hub’s information.

May 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

Experiences gleaned in Caucasus urban battles shape Russian doctrine, but raise more questions for U.S. Marines planning future operations.

Several months of Russian attacks have shifted the balance of power in Chechnya and changed U.S. thinking about urban warfare. After suffering stunning public defeats just a few years ago, Russian forces applied painful lessons learned then to drive Chechen forces out of their capital city, Grozny, this year. Yet, according to U.S. analysts, this may have merely altered the thrust of battle, not resolved it. And, the tactics employed by both sides are forcing U.S. experts to take another look at the concept of urban warfare.

April 2005
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Army’s Every Soldier a Sensor (ES2) simulation uses computer game technology to teach soldiers how to perform as if they were sensors in an intelligence network. This screen shot shows a typical street scene in an urban environment where a soldier may have to interact with the local populace or deal with suddenly introduced situations.

November 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

A re-examination of goals and capabilities is forcing the community to focus on human assets.

The defense intelligence community, flush with new collection and dissemination technologies, now faces a crisis in its human elements. Years of improving technological capabilities have left a serious gap in human intelligence collection as well as in analysis.

October 2000
By Maryann Lawlor

Data hunters and gatherers hone predictive skills.

December 2000
By Robert K. Ackerman

Cutbacks in human assets limit understanding of disparate crises on several continents.

The proliferation of new and diverse threats to U.S. interests has the intelligence community scrambling for scarce resources to maintain pace with newly emerging challenges. Traditional menaces such as the spread of weapons of mass destruction and organized terrorist groups have been complicated by emerging geopolitical changes and technologies. Keeping up with this dynamic threat picture has taxed the intelligence community and may require considerable funding increases and a reallocation of resources.

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.

October 2001
By David R. Zenker

Government solicits private sector input on evolution of airborne signals intelligence systems.

October 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman

The information age and the new global power structure mandate costly, massive changes.

Editor’s Note:  The interview on which this article is based took place three weeks before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The U.S. intelligence community must invest in new technologies, capabilities and personnel, or face the possibility of a catastrophic failure with national implications, according to its director.

October 2001
By Robert K. Ackerman

Traditional functions may spin off from warfighters to information mavens.

Unified military operations are leading to a redistribution of intelligence functions as the U.S. Defense Department transitions into a network-centric world. Sensors and shooters once belonged to the same family of operators. Now, sensing, analysis and dissemination of intelligence information are moving into a realm apart from the weapons delivery process.