Defense CIO decries bandwidth expense

Technical constraints, largely in the area of bandwidth, are preventing network centricity — the idea that everyone on a battlefield has situational awareness and connects to a network — from becoming a reality, the military's chief information officer said last week.

"Bandwidth is still expensive," said John Stenbit, the Defense Department's CIO, speaking in Boston at the Military Communications 2003 conference. "We send all of the data out at once. Every picture goes out from [the National Imagery and Mapping Agency] once; all of the [intelligence] stuff goes out from [the National Security Agency] once." "It's a bandwidth-expensive, process- and storage-cheap system," Stenbit said. "We only send it once; you've got to store it. If you don't store it, or you miss it, or your link was down, you're never going to get that data again because NIMA is never going to send that picture out over that broadcast again," he said. "Time is what we're going to go work on, and we're going to get faster," he said. "It requires bandwidth to be cheap. More than one person will want a picture at the same time."

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