JWID Web sites serve up hot tech for warfighters

Gadgets and gizmos galore - that's what's promised at the annual Joint Warfare Interoperability Demonstration (JWID). If you can't make it this week to one of the JWID '96 sites then you can tap into JWID on the World Wide Web on a home page hosted by the Army at www.army.mil/jwid96.htm.

Once on this page you can easily hopscotch between the sites sponsored by all the services the U.S. Central Command's site and a site in the United Kingdom. (At www.army.mil/jwid/demos/demoplan.htm there's a master list of JWID demonstration site home pages.) The opening page also offers links to highly detailed information on all the JWID '96 projects tied together by the theme "Seamless Information Exchange for the Warfighter."

These pages highlight the emerging technologies that the JWID staff believes stand a good chance of making it from test to deployment in short order.

JWID '96 will put such buzz words as direct broadcast Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches and transmission and battlefield cellular to the test in a real world military environment and the Web pages offer a lot of insights for the armchair warrior.

Once you start clicking you might wish for an ATM switch of your own. The folks who put together these pages are serious Power Point Rangers and Adobe Acrobats. Anyone attempting a JWID download on anything less than a T-1 circuit should take a dinner break - and not take-out Chinese either.

Download problems aside the main JWID site offers a wealth of information for anyone willing to take the time to go through the exercise with the "Demonstration Plans" link providing the ability to drill down to each technology - ATM cellular etc. - and obtain the slides text and charts pertinent to that technology.Besides serving as a jumping-off point to the technologies the JWID home page serves as a gateway to the nuts and bolts of the operation including schedules how to arrange visits to the demonstration sites (located mostly on the Eastern seaboard) and security clearance information. Putting this boilerplate on the Web should save literally hundreds of hours of voice and fax phone calls it also demonstrates the true utility of Web technology in helping to manage a one-time event.

The Marines the lead service for last year's JWID just dipped their K-bars into the Web but the Army has gone full-bore this year. This is best illustrated by the offshore links click a mouse and you're transported to the United Kingdom and to the JWID home page hosted by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency www.dra.hmg.gb/jwid/jwid96/jwid96.html. From there it's another easy hop to the NATO JWID Web site or the Navy Central Command Web site in Bahrain.

The amount of detail found on JWID Web pages is illustrated by the Navy site in Norfolk Va. (www.army.mil/jwid/demos/lhd3.htm) which focuses on demonstrations aboard the USS Kearsage. Those demos highlight the Navy's role in demonstrations ranging from an Army-sponsored Medical Situational Awareness demo to the Navy-sponsored Information Technology for the 21st Century and Communications Planning Aids demos.

Click on the "Rider Information" button on the Kearsage page and you end up deep into administrative boilerplate including a note that "we are equipped with a full weight room/gym. Appropriate workout attire is required if you plan to use the facility." Alas the page does not note exactly what constitutes appropriate workout attire for a 'gator freighter designed to haul Marines.

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