The vision for the Defense Department's Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) is to enhance the Defense Information System Network so that it can support OC-192 (10 gigabits/sec) of usable IP and bring the intelligence and command and control communities onto a single architecture and infrastructure.
But one problem GIG-BE won't solve soon is the need for more bandwidth for deployed forces in the field, said Lt. Gen. Martin Berndt, commander of Marine Corps Forces Atlantic. He applauded the Defense Information Systems Agency for the program but said more must be done to make bandwidth available for tactical communications and other applications.
Anthony Montemarano, DISA's program director for GIG-BE services, acknowledged that while 10 gigabits/ sec will soon be the norm in the continental United States, Europe and parts of the Pacific, other areas of the world, including southwest Asia, will have to wait for those higher speeds and reliability. He added that GIG-BE will be at all of DOD's teleport sites, which will help troops in those locations, but "on the battlefield itself, we haven't addressed that yet."
Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., DISA director, acknowledged the battlefield bandwidth crunch but said the individual services are responsible for that tactical piece of the puzzle.
DISA Chief Defends DMS
At last week's TechNet conference in Washington, D.C., Raduege told the Interceptor that although the Defense Message System has been criticized from inside and outside the military, "DMS is a transformational thing.
"We're closing communications centers around the world," which is saving DOD time and money, Raduege said. "DMS revolutionizes messaging by making every person their own communications center."
In addition to DISA, the DOD chief information officer's office, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and a military service steering group have endorsed DMS, and Raduege said that active military personnel who talk about using e-mail and chat instead of DMS, like some Navy leaders recently did, are missing the point of jointness.
"It's human nature to be resistant to change...especially when you're changing something that's basic to someone's life," Raduege said. "But we have got to get on with the modern ways of doing warfare."
The national security intelligence community is in the midst of a "renaissance," but better systems are needed to make analysts even more efficient, said Richard Haver, special assistant to the secretary of Defense for intelligence.
Haver, a former Navy intelligence analyst, said he thinks the community is also at a "crossroads and [an] identical situation as it was in the late 1960s," when industry produced solutions that helped the United States gain a tremendous advantage over Russia in the Cold War.
U.S. intelligence analysts must make an effort to "know what we don't know," which is difficult because most systems "don't cue us to the unknowns; they cue us to the knowns," Haver said.
As an example, Naval intelligence officers searching for enemy submarines come up with nothing about 90 percent of the time. But when they do identify something, it is usually because they are "getting something out of all those zeros," Haver said.
"Analysts are always looking for context and comparing new intelligence to information they already know," he told the Interceptor. "That used to be done by memory, but systems that do that in an automated way make them 100 times more efficient. You're never going to take people out of the game, but if we make them more efficient, that's the key."
Reporters embedded in military units may have been a nightmare for many Pentagon traditionalists, but some DOD information technology leaders said the armed forces are already reaping the benefits of increased public exposure.
Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg Jr., director of command, control, communications and computer systems for the Joint Staff, said he's been told that embedded news feeds have served as a "three-week recruiting video" for the military.
Kellogg said he has met with officials from NBC to pick their brains about why feeds from reporter David Bloom, who died April 6 while embedded in Iraq, were so much clearer than other reports. The "Bloom-mobile" allowed NBC to transmit clear, low-jitter and low-latency pictures of the reporter riding atop a tank in Iraq. Kellogg said he's been told Bloom did much of the engineering.
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