Warfighter Technologies

March 10, 2009
By Beverly Schaeffer

When it comes to military technologies, it's all about the warfighter. The men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan know firsthand their greatest technological needs, and their counterparts back home are striving to provide them as quickly as possible. The combat experience also is providing grist for the design mill as engineers plan for the future. SIGNAL looks at the efforts underway to develop new warfighter technologies as well as what may lie ahead. The laboratory is the birthplace of many technologies, and the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, is developing a range of new systems. "Appliqués Speed New Technologies to the Front" describes how the center is moving new technologies into the battlefield by inserting them into existing programs, while it also researches innovative technologies for long-term efforts. One of the keys to success in the battlespace is situational awareness, and the U.S. Joint Forces Command is teaming with the Army Topographic Engineering Center to integrate geospatial data with command and control information. In "Echelons and Partners Soon Will Be on Common Ground," News Editor Rita Boland writes how this effort will help move geospatial information across all echelons of command. Business Editor Henry S. Kenyon reports on a new Defense Department data-tagging tool that embeds location coordinates into battlefield imagery. Troops can load geographically coded images onto maps for dissemination and archiving, as Kenyon describes in "Image Tagging Stores Vital Data." Moving that geographic information down to the individual Warfighter depends on many key links in the command and control chain. Boland returns to report in "Colossal Computing Power, Itty Bitty Storage Space," about a small wearable supercomputer that can be clipped onto a belt. This Lilliputian processor can deliver the capabilities of a simulation center to individual warfighters in the field.

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