Air Force seeks greater 'reachback'
- By George I. Seffers
- May 24, 2000
The Air Force needs greater investment in information networks at U.S. bases
to extend its "reachback" concept, according to Gen. Michael Ryan, the Air
Force chief of staff.
"We have some of [the infrastructure], but we don't have all of it,"
Ryan said. "A lot of it was built in the Cold War era, and we need to update
that.for large-capacity throughput. It's the same problem any company has
today with the amount of information they need fast."
Under the reachback concept, forces deployed in hot spots around the
world use IT to request supplies and equipment as needed, rather than transporting
and stockpiling goods in the vicinity of the hot zone. In addition, reachback
enables forces to tap into vast databases for critical battlefield information.
The concept is designed to dramatically reduce the number of personnel
and the amount of equipment transported to hot zones.
Despite Ryan's call to modernize air base IT infrastructure, reachback
worked during the recent conflict in Kosovo, according to an Air Force posture
"Satellite communications enabled warfighters to reach back to the United
States for real-time information and analysis while avoiding the need to
deploy such systems," the statement said. "By reaching back to [the continental
United States] for real-time support, theater forces were both leaner and
better supported than if we had deployed CONUS forces and their equipment