Warfighters on the digital battlefield require robust information technology for secure, reliable, real-time access to mission-critical information

June 16, 2010
Technology focus -- Bits and bytes of data and information are as important as bullets and bombs on today’s battlefield -- if not more so. Many defense organizations, in fact, understand well the competitive warfighting advantage gained through the efficient exchange of mission-critical data. To that end, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is pioneering network-centric operations (NCO) and network-centric warfare (NCW), intended to increase mission effectiveness through optimized information sharing and collaboration across a robust, distributed network.

Bits and bytes of data and information are as important as bullets and bombs on today’s battlefield -- if not more so. Many defense organizations, in fact, understand well the competitive warfighting advantage gained through the efficient exchange of mission-critical data through battlefield radios and communications equipment.

To that end, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is pioneering network-centric operations (NCO) and network-centric warfare (NCW), intended to increase mission effectiveness through optimized information sharing and collaboration across a robust, distributed network. At the same time, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence is striving toward network-enabled capability, or NEC, and the Swedish Armed Forces are adopting network based defense, abbreviated NBD.

“The ability to collect, communicate, process, and protect information is the most important factor defining military power,” writes Brian D. Berkowitz in The New Face of War: How War Will Be Fought in the 21st Century. “Information technology is so important in war today that it overwhelms everything else.”

Wars are increasingly digital; battlefields are transforming into robust networks of informed, geographically separated military personnel; and, the role of electronics and information technology is growing in military environments. The digital battlefield is not without its challenges, which the DOD and industry technology partners are working diligently to overcome.

Greater data

Growth in the number and the capabilities of “sensors and robotic platforms have accelerated the generation of data,” says Joe Miller, director of Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Ground Domain for General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz. “This data must be collected, processed into information, and disseminated in a timely fashion to improve situational awareness, command, and control.”

Aaron Frank, product marketing manager of switches and routing products at Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing in Kanata, Ontario, also notes an “increased awareness of the value of sharing of information from one system to another, and between systems. As we see and use more and more information on the battlefield, and as this information is increasingly shared between groups, it will enable better decisions to be made to ensure successful tactical missions.

“A key element in the digital battlefield is the value of situational awareness information, and this information needs to be shared among the various teams, whether they are on the ground, in the air, or at base camps,” Frank continues. “To achieve this information sharing, systems must communicate over a variety of mediums, and with absolute security to protect sensitive data. So we need to manage an ever-increasing volume of sensitive information, and to share it within and between systems.”

Mission-critical data also now takes many forms. “Voice no longer dominates the spectrum,” Miller adds. “It now shares bandwidth with video and packet data.” Everyone wants video and needs to distribute that video over a heterogeneous network, explains Jon L. Korecki, executive director of strategic development at ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for information generation and dissemination has significantly increased the demand for digital video solutions, while the vulnerability of analog UAV feeds has expanded the need for data security in military environments, Korecki continues. “A key challenge is providing the video feeds from UAVs to all the stakeholders in a secure, managed way.”

More cores

Sensor-laden unmanned vehicles are being fielded in ever greater numbers, generating a wealth of data and driving the need for faster, more secure networks, greater bandwidth, increased processing power, and data storage. Legacy systems are largely unable to handle the increased workload of the digital battlefield.

“The trend is to use more off-the-shelf products to solve the problem today,” Korecki explains. “Customers don’t want to spend their money on a system that requires many years in development, but rather one that can be fielded in days.”

Meeting warfighters’ needs, including requirements for more processing power and more storage, “involves keeping up with the latest commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems,” admits Russ Clark, vice president of partnered solutions for DRS Technologies in Parsippany, N.J. “For example, Nehalem processors are already migrating into Westmere processors (6 cores vs. 4 cores).

“Our customers want the latest most powerful equipment that they can get their hands on,” Clark continues. “The biggest challenge we see is synthesizing the data collected and quickly disseminating the result to those who need it.”

Technology firms and military organizations are also tapping more powerful, multicore devices to tackle multiple military applications on a single, compact computing platform. Multicore processors allow for more tightly integrated data and information processing, as well as provide a more efficient SWaP platform, observes Frank.

“The move to multicore architectures allows for consolidation of traditionally discreet hardware devices into single multifunction devices,” reveals Robert Day, vice president of marketing at LynuxWorks in San Jose, Calif. “This is much needed in the battlefield, where avionics and vehicles need to reduce size, weight, and power (SWaP). Having a multicore solution combined with a MILS (Multiple Independent Levels of Security/Safety) separation kernel is a way to implement this with increased information and data security.”

Frank sees software-based MILS as the way of the future in embedded computing applications. “Size, weight and power, performance, cost, and cooling (SWaP2-C2) constraints make it unfeasible to maintain separate security enclaves on independent and redundant computing platforms.”

Safe and secure

“As armies become more dependent on information technology, they will develop new kinds of vulnerabilities,” writes Berkowitz. The need to secure classified information has always been prevalent in military environments, and it is even more critical given the amount of data being gathered, exchanged, and stored across the battlefield among coalition forces.

Right now, a major shift is happening in the security realm. “It is mainly being driven by the need to communicate with a broader based coalition of allies,” Korecki notes. “As our customers want to communicate more information, with more allies, and even across the services, the need for integrated security has grown. With the need to connect and share comes the need for cross-domain products that can enable classified data to flow appropriately across boundaries between networks with different system security levels.”

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been driving a transition from traditional Type 1 high assurance protection to a common standard of Suite B and non-CCI (cryptographic controlled item) products. In fact, the NSA has defined a new product category for broad based use: Cryptographic High Value Product (CHVP). ViaSat worked with the NSA on the certification of what is being called the first CHVP device, the IPS-250 encryptor. The IPS-250, designed for all coalition use, is the first Suite B-based HAIPE (High Assurance Internet Protocol Encryptor) inline network encryptor. “ViaSat is focused on providing secure communications to the warfighter, and we want push the envelope with new innovations that continue to improve information sharing on the battlefield,” Korecki says.

Software-centric communiqué

One such information-sharing innovation, software-defined radio (SDR) is fast becoming the dominant technology in military radio communications, as the DOD seeks to replace traditional radio network elements with SDR components and systems on the battlefield. The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a high-profile SDR garnering significant attention, is designed to deliver reliable, flexible, and interoperable voice and data communications to meet diverse warfighter needs via handheld, vehicular, airborne, and dismounted radios and base stations.

JTRS is based on an international, open Software Communications Architecture (SCA), a standard that uses CORBA on POSIX operating systems and enables increased functionality, flexibility, and expandability. Via the SCA, JTRS removes communications barriers that have previously limited information sharing between different types of incompatible radios used in battlefield operations.

The secure radios handle classified information, as well as sensitive but unclassified (SBU) data. SBU or Type 2 certified radios employ new information assurance technology that enables them to be operated by soldiers without security clearances, lowering the cost of the radio and simplifying the logistics around it, Miller describes. Radios that handle classified data are certified to Type 1. Security Verification Testing on all radios is scheduled for later in 2010, which will lead to full NSA certification in mid-2011, he says.

“Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS) is providing next-generation tactical networking radio products to the edge of the battlefield,” Miller says. “These radios provide the additional bandwidth needed for data-hungry applications.” Additional benefits include greater throughput, frequency agility, small size, and light weight. “Our smallest networking radio weighs approximately half a pound. The networking capability provides the reliable, secure exchange of data between any node within the network. They also provide the ad-hoc networking functions needed for mesh routing to maintain connectivity in challenging environments.”

Connectivity challenges

Battlefield dynamics are accelerating, bringing in not only urban areas and villages, but also rugged mountainous terrain and caves, Miller explains. “This diverse environment presents challenges for communications networks. These networks cannot rely on fixed infrastructure like towers and repeaters; they must self form and self heal.

“Each radio in the network must be able to act as a repeater to extend network coverage,” Miller continues. “Networks are often forced to split and then merge, reestablishing themselves as forces move through these areas. When local line-of-sight connections are lost, signals must be routed via other means including relays through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or satellites.”

Engineers at Raytheon Co. in McKinney, Texas, have introduced a system for tactical network communications that automatically and continually adapts to network changes and challenging urban environments. The Enhanced Mobile Ad-Hoc Network Radio System is designed to provide netted communications and tactical data for coalition interoperability and seamless coalition use in vehicle and dismounted applications.

“Our new EMARS system supports a broad range of time-critical missions, such as air defense, command and control, and situational awareness, as well as user-defined host applications,” remarks Brian McKeon, vice president, Raytheon Network Centric Systems Integrated Communications Systems. “It supplies twice the data rate of our earlier system to enable EMARS' enhanced multifunction capability and provides even greater efficiency in secure wireless data exchange.”

EMARS combines Raytheon's Enhanced Position Location Reporting System-XF-I, MicroLight DH500 handheld radio, and MANET (mobile ad-hoc networking) technology. “It provides a wireless, Internet Protocol (IP) capability network that implements Advanced Encryption Standard encryption over an extended frequency range,” says a spokesperson. “The system also uses the most advanced EPLRS waveform available for simultaneous voice, video, data, and critical position location information.”


“The rapid migration to software-defined radios using advanced multicore platforms, like the [Texas Instruments] OMAP3530 chip,” is a trend on the digital battlefield, reveals Chip Downing, director of Aerospace & Defense at Wind River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corp. in Alameda, Calif.

Wind River has collaborated with PrismTech in Woburn, Mass., in the development of a high-performance SDR solution that combines Wind River's VxWorks 6 real-time operating system (RTOS) with PrismTech's Spectra SDR Operating Environment. It offers compliance with SCA 2.2.2 and POSIX PSE52 runtime libraries, and includes a small form factor core framework and embedded, object request broker (ORB) middleware. Harnessing the power of multiple Freescale and Intel processors, the SDR solution can achieve roundtrip times of less than 10 seconds to power up, initialize the platform, load waveform components, unload waveform components, and shut down the radio.

“This collaboration will help the shift from hardware-centric, proprietary radios, to software-controlled, reprogrammable, standards-based radios that offer maximum flexibility and value,” says Rob Hoffman, general manager of Aerospace and Defense at Wind River. “By using COTS platforms and tools, project managers can help manage the risks of one-off custom software developments by exploiting the tooling support and robust testing, packaging, standards compliance, and professional support of commercial software products.”

The solution aids SDR developers to use COTS components that adhere to SCA software radio standards, enabling radio manufacturers to meet stringent requirements of the military and public sectors, including standards mandated by the DOD for JTRS and validated by the JTRS Test and Evaluation Laboratory (JTEL).

“Many U.S. military communications suppliers are now looking at developing their next-generation communications system based upon this powerful combination of technologies,” says Downing. “The future is both challenging and bright. The challenge comes with making Common Criteria security documentation and supporting evidence for a COTS product. The bright spot is that the entire industry has the capability to do this, and we will rapidly enable this in a wide variety of future platforms with the cost and quality advantages of all COTS solutions.”

A win for WIN-T

The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) is another element, along with JTRS, in the U.S. Army’s LandWarNet NCO initiative to deliver high-speed communications and combat-related information to networked soldiers in the field.

Lockheed Martin, the lead for the WIN-T Increment 3 Transmission Subsystem, has completed an In Process Review (IPR) for the critical design of the next phase of the Increment 3 Transmission Subsystem. The IPR assessed the design maturity of all hardware, software, and firmware elements of the Transmission Subsystem, which includes advanced components for both satellite and terrestrial communications at-the-halt and on-the-move, such as multichannel radios, antennas, and communications waveforms.

“The transmission subsystem provides the foundation for the network's dynamic capability to transfer data over a highly dispersed, noncontiguous area,” says a spokesperson. “Increment 3 continues development of the components needed to meet the full range of network capacity, security, and full on-the-move capabilities for the Army's modular force.”

The milestone, achieved last month, marked the culmination of more than five years of development for this subsystem, explains Jim Quinn, vice president with Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions-Defense in Gaithersburg, Md. “This review allows us to move into the corresponding implementation and test phases of the program, so warfighters can soon realize the substantial advantages WIN-T brings to the battlefield.”

General Dynamics C4 Systems is the prime systems integrator for WIN-T, the team members of which include: Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Harris Corp., and L-3 Communications. With the IPR complete, the team moves into the build-and-test phase for the Transmission Subsystem components that form the tactical communications network.

Airborne RTOS

Battlefield information technology tools, such computing and communications systems, are taking advantage of various commercial components, including both hardware and software. LynuxWorks’ Day is seeing this dual COTS trend, as well as the convergence of safety and security, in such areas as avionics.

“The requirements for fault-tolerant avionics systems to be connected and consolidated, and add security functionality to protect from malicious attacks, is starting to become reality,” Day explains. “This functionality really requires the use of modern separation and partitioned software RTOSs to be combined with more traditional desktop OSs and, at the same time, drives the need for multicore and virtualization-ready hardware platforms.”

Main flight control applications are not ready for this move yet, especially in commercial avionics; but, for other avionics subsystems and in some military applications, the time is right, according to Day. “LynxSecure was designed to be safety and security certified and, hence, can run OSs and applications at different levels of safety and security next to OSs and applications that are more general purpose, with the separation kernel managing the partitioning between them,” he says.

Barco in Kortrijk, Belgium, selected Wind River VxWorks 653 operating system as the foundation for its CDMS-3000 Control Display and Management System, employed in French armed forces aircraft. “The CDMS-3000 product family is a next-generation offering that provides openness and flexibility to customers, while also offering COTS certification to systems integrators,” says Jean-Christophe Monfret, product management director at Barco. “As a foundation for the future, we required an industry-leading, COTS DO-178B-certified RTOS. Barco chose Wind River VxWorks 653 to power the CDMS-3000, which has been selected for a variety of civil as well as military transport and surveillance aircraft.”

Separation kernels at sea

The U.S. Navy, concerned with the security of shipboard systems, launched the Open Architecture Computing Environment (OACE) initiative. Navy officials are partnering with technology firms to develop OACE, a compatible set of COTS computing infrastructure components, including hardware and software, that serves as the computational framework upon which tactical and support applications are built.

LynuxWorks’ LynxSecure separation kernel is incorporated in the U.S. Navy's Common Display System (CDS), an $83 million OACE project that supports the modernization of DDG1000 Zumwalt destroyers and Aegis guided missile destroyers. CDS, a survivable and configurable high-assurance workstation, provides operators access to multiple shipboard applications simultaneously.

The LynxSecure separation kernel and hypervisor enable multiple guest operating systems to run concurrently at different security levels, without compromising security, reliability, or data integrity, says a company spokesperson. “This is critical because military systems such the CDS display console system require adherence to rigid high-assurance security requirements.”

Open-source OS

Another operating system gaining military interest is Google’s Android, which uses a modified version of the Linux kernel, includes middleware and key applications, and is designed for mobile devices. Engineers at Raytheon Co. in Falls Church, Va., employed Android software tools to develop a mobile device application to facilitate faster intelligence sharing.

The Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS) delivers multimedia content on a common mobile device to warfighters on the battlefield, potentially accelerating the decision-making process from hours to minutes or seconds. The RATS device disseminates vital intelligence data, which is instantly viewable and searchable via the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) Intelligence Backbone (DIB) architecture. Raytheon engineers continue to develop Android applications for intelligence collection and analysis—such as license plate reading, streaming video camera feeds, and facial recognition—intended to enhance warfighter safety with tactical alerts based on the intelligence collected.

Solutions exist to help engineers devise embedded applications for the Android OS on mobile devices. Google offers an Android Software Developers Kit (SDK), whereas Mentor Graphics in Wilsonville, Ore., provides its Nucleus RTOS, SimTest Android Emulator, expert services and support, and video tutorials, Webinars, and white papers on designing for the Android open-source platform.

“RATS provides U.S. military forces with a last mile of connectivity for delivering images and full motion video to our warfighters,” says Mark Bigham, vice president of Raytheon's Defense and Civil Mission Solutions. “We are providing an innovative technology that is available in the commercial market and applying it to warfighter needs. Utilizing existing technologies provides developers the ability to focus on requirements that our warfighters need now.”

Information at hand

“Applications are being distributed down to the soldier as display and processing technologies have significantly dropped in size, weight, and power,” Miller recognizes. “The trend to move data applications down to the individual soldier will continue. Much like the iPhone and Droid applications in commercial cellular, soldiers will have access to applications to increase their effectiveness and improve their safety.” Examples include mapping, chat, and command-and-control applications, all of which require data and further drive the need for networking and greater bandwidth, he says.

Lockheed Martin engineers in Orlando, Fla., have developed the Tactical Digital Assistant (TDA), a ruggedized, tactical handheld device providing situational awareness, command-and-control, and blue force tracking capabilities to brigade and below forces. Dismounted soldiers with the TDA can maintain secure communications and exchange vital position and situational awareness data with mounted forces in an operational environment. The TDA supports shared full-motion video and sensor command and control, can host Android, and sports an open architecture and a ruggedized design able to withstand harsh environments.

“The Lockheed Martin TDA leverages our systems integration experience to meet tactical-level warfighters' critical needs in a joint operational environment,” describes Rich Russell, director of Sensors, Data Links, and Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our solution supports on-the-move communication and information sharing with vehicles and other platforms for improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and enhanced combat readiness.”

Rugged data handling

Makers of portable computing platforms continue to enhance the capabilities of rugged laptops and handheld computers to meet military data demands. “The trend to continuously improve the performance in rugged computers does not show any sign of ending,” Clark admits.

Personnel at Getac Technology Corp., maker of rugged, mobile computing solutions in Irvine, Calif., gain many customer requests for faster processors and better graphics, says John Lamb, Getac’s director of marketing. In fact, Getac engineers have upgraded the company’s E100 tablet PC with such commonly requested features as a more powerful, 1.6GHz processor, a hot-swappable battery, and a 80-gigabyte solid-state drive.

“A lot of people are focusing on data assurance and drive encryption,” Lamb notes. “Customers want full drive encryption, or FDE. Everything from every application and the operating system itself becomes part of full-drive encryption.

“Long-range Wi-Fi—not consumer-grade, but 100-milliwatt Wi-Fi—is another common request,” Lamb adds. Distance is a challenge with Wi-Fi, because it fails and devices often lose the connection. “Customers are looking for longer-range Wi-Fi. Getac has developed, tested, and deployed systems with long-range Wi-Fi. It is an ongoing trend.”

Satellite communications

As the amount of information to be shared has grown, the demand for more bandwidth in battlefield communication systems continues to grow, Korecki says. “The continuing trend is to Internet Protocol (IP)-based networking for most new communication systems being developed or deployed. The shift to IP has been in response to the need to sharing situational awareness data, specifically video, across a unified digital battlefield.”

Also driving the requirement for more bandwidth on the battlefield are the increased demand for UAVs and video surveillance, and the need or mandate to secure video links and protect IP networks from cyber attack, Korecki explains. ViaSat is investing in the development of high-capacity satellites, such as the company’s deployable satcom terminals, to meet growing bandwidth needs and low-cost requirements, he says.

The company is building UAV feeds, based on its Enerlinks digital video data link system for UAV video transmission, that can use private and commercially available satellite capacity and distribute it anywhere on the battlefield.

GigE on the GIG

Battlefields and network-centric operations might soon require Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network bandwidth to connect with the DOD’s Global Information Grid (GIG), given the rate at which data is being gathered and disseminated daily.

In particular, there is “growing interest in using Ethernet everywhere in an ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] system, all the way up to the sensor,” says Ian Dunn, Ph.D., chief technology officer at Mercury Computer Systems in Chelmsford, Mass. “A few of our radar customers are probably on the cutting edge of this trend: They have many sensor elements, all producing gigabits of data, driving a large Ethernet network.”

“For now, customers are not talking about a single, converged network, but instead multiple independent networks used for distributing raw sensor data to a signal processing subsystem, for interconnecting signal processing, data exploitation, and information dissemination functions, and for command and control,” Dunn continues. “While separate networks allow for the isolation of the various traffic flows, Ethernet brings with it an expectation of ubiquity for data as well as command and control.” Nonetheless, he envisions a day when separate networks are virtualized and folded onto a single network or, at least, fewer networks.

Curtiss-Wright’s Frank, too, is seeing “an increasing desire to converge live video, data, and voice on one managed network within a platform, which is driving us toward 10GbE faster than expected.” As information is increasingly shared between groups, it will enable better decisions to be made to ensure successful tactical missions, he says. “We are seeing a move to GbE Networking versus MIL-STD-1553 for communications between platforms on the battlefield.”

OpenVPX on the battlefield

In the open standards arena, engineers and executives at Curtiss-Wright are witnessing a move to VPX/OpenVPX versus VME for information and data in the embedded battlefield. “This standards-based approach provides segmented backplane connectivity and facilitates separate data, control, management planes,” Frank mentions. “VPX systems provide higher intra-system, cross-sectional bandwidth and can support higher bandwidth sensor interfaces—both important in meeting the operational requirements of current programs and providing growth for the future.”

Mercury Computer Systems is announcing a line of rugged, OpenVPX servers to address the growing need for more netcentric operation, and to support the convergence of signal processing, mission computing, data exploitation, and dissemination in a rugged compute cluster. “With the exception of signal processing, very little is done at the sensor today,” Dunn says. “We believe these SWaP-efficient products could tip the balance in favor of doing as much processing as possible at the sensor, with goal of improving the time-to-information metric.”

Data on the move

From a hardware standpoint, solid-state storage (SSD) technology is dramatically affecting how system designers think about data acquisition and retention, explains Jaden Ghylin, technical director at Crystal Group in Hiawatha, Iowa. “SSDs are opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for capturing data that just wasn't possible with rotational hard drives,” he says. ”We are now able to capture terabytes of data in a matter of hours on mobile surveillance platforms. This capability allows for the capture of extremely high resolution images and video while on the move.”

Advances in SSD technology also increase the amount of data radar and video capture applications can collect in real time, enabling high-definition video capture and the addition of more cameras and sensors on surveillance platforms, Ghylin explains. Solid-state Rugged Drivepacks (RDp) from Crystal Group are designed to meet growing demands for high storage capacities and increased information security. Soldiers can transfer or secure data quickly by physically swapping out the drive packs.

”The ability to physically remove storage media from the computer system is an almost universal requirement from our customers and, thus, Crystal has designed all its systems with multiple, removable drive bays,” he says. Advances in SSD performance, along with the introduction of Intel's multicore Nehalem and Westmere CPU architectures, are providing massive bandwidth and processing capabilities, Ghylin describes. “System designers are now able to consolidate multiple systems into one or vastly expand the capabilities of the system.” Designers are also taking advantage of performance increases through virtualization, replacing multiple computers in a rack with one high-performance server, he continues.

Crystal Group’s RS378 SSD storage system is deployed on the CV-22 Osprey, described by Ghylin as one of the most challenging airborne platforms. ”The tilt-rotor design of the Osprey results in extremely high vibration levels during the transition from helicopter to airplane.” The RS378 with SSDs is designed to handle this type of environment and can be used to store maps or for real-time video and data capture, among other applications, he says.

DRS Technologies provides rugged servers designed for mobile military applications that run on military vehicle power and “operate under conditions that would destroy a commercial unit,” says Clark. One customer selected the company’s DC-powered servers to be installed into vehicles and used “on the move” to gather sensitive data and transmit it in real time to operations centers.

Exponential and continual growth

The strong trend of capturing more data to improve military intelligence capabilities will continue, Ghylin predicts. “The military is just beginning to experience the same explosion of data that has been seen in the enterprise world for the past 10 years. The challenge will be to provide systems with enough performance to process and store this data as it comes in.”

“Technology and applications need to address how to sort through all the sensor data being collected faster, easier, and using less manpower, as the DOD’s appetite for more data will only increase,” Clark forecasts. “Second, we need to solve the issues involved in sharing intel and data with those who need it on the battlefield—U.S. forces and its allies.”

Dr. Stephen Jarrett, chief technologist at the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center in Charleston, S.C., might tend to agree. “We are inundating the soldier with data, not information,” he said in his talk during the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum in San Diego last month. “If you go into Walmart, they can tell you what you bought last time and anticipate what you are likely to buy this time. We need a similar solution to assist the soldier in the field who needs specific data; we need to anticipate his needs and deliver on them.”

Technology firms serving the mil-aero community will doubtless continue to innovate and deliver ever more rugged, secure, and high-performance information technology tools with which to manage and exploit what many describe as a military intelligence explosion.

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