Fusion project highlights net-centric warfare

Recent successes related to the Horizontal Fusion Portfolio initiative demonstrates that Defense Department officials can carry out network-centric warfare, said a top DOD information technology program manager April 12.

"Implementation of a net-centric environment is doable," said Marian Cherry, manager of the portfolio, a multimillion-dollar effort that sets aside space on the military’s intranet so troops and intelligence analysts can quickly and easily post and access war-fighting and intelligence data. She spoke during the Lessons Learned Implementing the DOD Net-Centric Data Strategy with Service-Oriented Architectures conference sponsored by officials at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration and Chief Information Officer and the Association For Enterprise Integration, an industry trade group.

The Quantum Leap experiments of the past two years showed that commanders, warfighters and analysts in different locations could access data from one Web portal by connecting different systems. "We can capitalize on legacy investments," Cherry said.

Troops and analysts started using the Defense Intelligence Agency's Collateral Space initiative — one of the original 13 Horizontal Fusion Portfolio efforts — last month. It was developed by officials at McDonald Bradley, who built a Web-based, services-oriented computer architecture to pull together multiple, disparate military data repositories. Some soldiers from the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps now use notebook computers to quickly search large amounts of information on the military’s classified network, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET), to identify improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan and instant message with military experts.

"There comes a time when execution is more important than theory," said Cherry, explaining that information is now a weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She said DOD officials will focus on four goals related to net-centric operations. They are:

• Propagate more data.

• Tag it.

• Expand public-key infrastructure programs on the SIPRNET.

• Update security policies.

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