It really is the perfect weapon for a country of couch potatoes. Grab the remote, point, click and “boom,” there goes some hapless al-Qaida bigwig, blown to smithereens in living color. It is like playing “Call of Duty,” but with real ammo. That’s what smart operators can do with an MQ-1 Predator (as in “Apex”) or an MQ-9 Reaper (as in “Grim”). The bad guys never see them coming. Yes, for the United States, this truly is the day of the drone.
Awareness on the battlefield coupled with lighter loads for increased warfighter mobility are key enablers of the future fight. Brig. Gen. (P) Paul A. Ostrowski, USA, the program executive officer, Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, is focusing his organization on addressing those needs.
The widespread use of mobile devices on the battlefield, which may have seemed an improbability just a few years ago, may become an actuality within the next few. A recently released strategy document supports that pending reality, which is expected to increase situational awareness, improve operational effectiveness and enhance the operational advantage for U.S. forces.
“I don’t think it’s going to be 10 or 15 years before these devices are going to be the preponderance of what we see on the battlefield. We’re probably three to four years away from that,” says John Hickey, Defense Department mobility portfolio manager, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
The U.S. intelligence community has suffered significant damage from a perfect storm of insider revelations and budget cutbacks. Simultaneously, the threat picture confronting the United States has grown to an unprecedented level just when intelligence organizations are hampered in their efforts to continue to protect the nation.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is looking toward small business to provide vital technologies as the agency confronts budget constraints. Enticement efforts include targeted outreach, reshaped acquisition patterns and improved networking among potential contractors.
The relationship between small business and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is growing, says Sandra Broadnax, the small business director for the NGA. “We’re doing a lot more to embrace and bring industry to the table so that they can better understand our processes,” she states.
U.K. government entities at various levels are looking into bring-your-own-device policies for their purposes. And while their mandates differ, they all have one factor in common—a need for the right level of security. To help groups at the most open classification levels make the right choices, a U.K. security agency has released a series of guidance documents that outlines what decision makers should consider.
The United States is in the midst of preparing its largest intelligence hub outside of its own national borders. The center will accommodate operations with reach into several global areas, including those rife with anti-terrorism operations. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into the work that includes consolidating resources from other installations.
Wounded veterans aspiring to receive a college education can earn diplomas from a wide selection of disciplines at a uniquely conceived center that will offer the aid of state-of-the-art assisted and adaptive devices tailored specifically to meet their needs, irrespective of their disabilities. The facility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign employs a range of advanced technologies to enable an environment for severely wounded veterans, along with any needed caregivers, to pursue educational goals that otherwise might be viewed as inaccessible.
The jury is still out in the corporate world as to whether the bring-your-own-device trend will gain a permanent foothold. While the movement creates security worries and extra work for information technology employees, it presents a few perks corporate leaders are reluctant to turn down: cost savings and increased employee productivity. Efforts for full implementation for both businesses and government entities are stymied much more by policy than by technology, or the lack thereof, experts say. While some technological shortcomings create some security risk, viable solutions are on the horizon.
A new mobile operations fusion kit that provides easy, rapid and on-the-go interoperability for mobile field operations and communications piqued the interest recently of the U.S. Marine Corps’ research and development community. It was impressed by the technology that proved successful in interoperability testing in June. Known as Operations Fusion Kit 2.0, the unit is a multimedia communications system bundled into a compact, lightweight, waterproof, ruggedized Pelican carrying case that enables secure voice, full-motion video and information sharing on a global, real-time basis.
The U.S. Army is preparing—for the first time—to develop and field micro robotic systems under programs of record, indicating confidence that the technology has matured and years of research are paying off. The small systems will provide individual soldiers and squads with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in jungles, buildings and caves that larger systems can’t reach. Ideally, they will become valued combat team members.
Future wars will be fought not over territory, not over ideals nor even over prestige. Future wars will be based on what creates wealth, according to a former Defense Department official who helped usher the department into the information age.
“What will be the wealth people are going to want to fight over?” asks Linton Wells II, a public servant who has dedicated 51 years to service of the United States. “Certainly, the whole issue of information in society, the … trends of technology are going to be major wealth generators,” he says, echoing a theory first pitched to him by colleague Bill Eliason.