DISTRIBUTION A:
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Document created: 1 March 04
Air & Space Power Journal - Spring 2004

Military Applications of 
Information Technologies

Paul W. Phister Jr., PE, PhD
Igor G. Plonisch*

 

Editorial Abstract: The information age has increased the amount of data available to all commanders. Consequently, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate seeks to transform military operations by developing systems that focus on unique Air Force requirements. The major thrusts include Global Awareness, Dynamic Planning and Execution, and the Global Information Enterprise. Supporting these developments are technology-focus areas, ranging from information exploitation, to air and space connectivity, to command and control.

*We wish to thank all the individuals assigned to the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/IF). Without their dedication and devotion to duty, we could not have written this article. Special thanks go to the following: Dr. Northrup Fowler III (AFRL/IF chief scientist); division technical advisors Dr. Warren Debany, Mike Wessing, and John McNamara; and others who contributed to the development of this paper, including Scott Adams, Carson Bloomberg, Tim Busch, Col Matthew Caffrey Jr., USAFR, Joe Caroli, Steven Drager, Steven Farr, Dan Fayette, Joe Giordano, Rick Hinman, Richard Jayne, John Lemmer, Dr. Mark Linderman, Dr. Richard Linderman, Dr. Mark Minges, Dr. Thomas Renz, Dave Legare, William McQuay, Richard Metzger, Dr. Don Nicholson, Paul Oleski, E. Paul Ratazzi, Dr. John Salerno, Scott Shyne, Lt Justin Sorice, Clare Thiem, Derryl Williams, Dave Williamson, and Bill Wolf.

Among other reasons, warfare constantly changes because advancements in technology lead to advancements in “the art of war.” Today’s information age has produced an explosion in the amount of information that is (or will be) available to commanders at all levels. Some observers believe that by 2010 “[air and space] planners will have an incredible amount of information about the target state. They’ll never know everything, but they will detect orders of magnitude more about the enemy than in past wars. With this information, commanders will orchestrate operations with unprecedented fidelity and speed. Commanders will take advantage of revolutionary advances in information transfer, storage, recognition, and filtering to direct highly efficient, near-real-time attacks.”1 Some people believe that this scenario has already come to pass, laying the foundation for the transformation of warfare.

This transformation within the military services moves from classic platformcentric warfare to networkcentric warfare (NCW), the latter dealing with human and organizational behavior and based on new ways of thinking and applying those concepts to military operations.2 It is defined as an information-superiority-enabled concept of operations that generates increased combat power by networking sensors, decision makers, and shooters to achieve shared awareness, increased speed of command, heightened tempo of operations, greater lethality, increased survivability, and a degree of self-synchronization.3 A conceptual view of NCW would highlight some of its major elements or building blocks (fig. 1). One may also envision a networkcentric view regarding command and control (C2) in the context of previous work done for C2 concepts (fig. 2).

Figure 1. Elements of networkcentric warfare.

Figure 1. Elements of networkcentric warfare. (This figure, as well as figures 3–20, is reprinted from USAF sources.)

Critical advances in warfare-related information technology, the foundation of networkcentric operations, have their roots in military laboratories, which provide a critical service to the military by transforming basic information technologies into war-fighting applications. Although the Air Force Command and Control and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center at Langley AFB, Virginia, has assumed the responsibility for the Air Force’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) for more than half a century, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate (AFRL/IF) in Rome, New York, has researched and developed technologies that have helped fuel the information revolution. The electronic computer, integrated circuit, storage and retrieval, and Internet, to cite but a few obvious examples, benefited from research performed or guided by scientists and engineers located in Rome. Moreover, AFRL technologies have found and continue to find their way into both military and commercial worlds where they, quite literally, transform operations, practices, and even ways of thinking (i.e., changes in doctrine).

Because information and information technologies often mean different things to different communities, it is important to understand the distinctions that might arise. The word information is commonly used to refer to various points on the information spectrum that convert data to knowledge.4 Therefore, information has a different meaning, depending on the domain in which one operates. For example, David S. Alberts and others have identified three domains—physical, information, and cognitive—each of which describes and defines information differently.5 However, the fundamental fact remains that information is the result of putting individual observations into some sort of meaningful context. Given this distinction, information is defined according to its application or, more specifically, the domain within which it will operate. Consequently, members of the commercial and academic communities treat information differently than do their counterparts in the military community.

Figure 2. Domains of networkcentric warfare.

Figure 2. Domains of networkcentric warfare. (From briefing, Hanscom AFB, MA, subject: Information Technology for Networkcentric Warfare: An ESC [Electronic Systems Command] Integration Week Event, February 5–6, 2003.)

Aside from the domain distinction just described, there are a number of reasons why the development of information technologies differs between the military and the industrial/ academic communities. For example, the commercial market is driven by profit or return on investment, not by overall system performance. Additionally, in the commercial world, the end user of a new product has become the “beta tester.” In a combat environment, where a fault discovery can literally sink a ship, this practice is unacceptable. Similarly, although a faulty design may cause numerous reboots per day on a commercial system, such recurring faults in a military system can cause injury or death. For example, during Operation Enduring Freedom, the system used by five US soldiers to direct an incoming smart weapon rebooted and, unbeknownst to them, inserted their current location instead of the target location into the system. Consequently, the weapon vectored onto their position instead of the selected target. The bottom line is that military applications demand higher performance at reduced cycle times and cost than do nonmilitary applications. Finally, commercial technologies are more computationally based (e.g., building better calculators, computers, etc.) while military applications are based more on supporting courses of action (e.g., campaign-planning assessment and effects-based operations [EBO]). Clearly, a significant need exists for military-specific information technology, even when such systems do not meet the profitability or return-on-investment criteria of the commercial sector. At this point the value of the AFRL/IF truly comes into play.

Research Efforts in
Information Technology

The AFRL/IF seeks to transform military operations by developing information-systems science and technology that focus on unique Air Force requirements. By using commercial practices, it moves affordable capabilities to Air Force ground, air, cyber, and space systems. Broad areas of investment in science and technology include upper-level information fusion, communications, EBO, collaboration environments, distributed-information infrastructures, modeling and simulation, intelligent agents, information assurance, information management, and intelligent information systems and databases. Successful outcomes from these areas provide affordable capability options required for Air Force information dominance and air and space superiority. To provide these capabilities, the AFRL/IF has three major thrusts—Global Awareness, Dynamic Planning and Execution, and the Global Information Enterprise—that receive support from seven technology-focus areas: information exploitation, information fusion and understanding, information management, advanced computing architectures, cyber operations, air and space connectivity, and C2.

Information Exploitation

Given the growing threat of global terrorism, the potential use and exploitation of readily available information technology by our adversaries make it imperative that the United States continue to invest in technologies for the protection and authentication of digital information systems for the military and homeland defense. Toward that end, the AFRL/IF conducts advanced research and development in the field of digital data-embedding technology. The directorate’s work in such areas as information hiding, steganography, watermarking, steganalysis, and digital data forensics will greatly enhance war fighters’ ability to exploit enemy systems while providing greater security to ensure that an adversary does not have access to US and allied systems.

Information Fusion and Understanding

What is going on? Who is the adversary? What is he up to? Such questions are being addressed in the emerging area of fusion 2+ or situational awareness (fig. 3). Over the past decade, the term fusion has become synonymous with tactical or battlespace awareness after hostilities have begun. As such, work has concentrated on identifying objects, tracking algorithms, and using multiple sources for reducing uncertainty and maximizing coverage. As more situations unfold throughout the world, smart, strategic decisions must be made before the deployment of limited assets. In order to assess adversarial intent and possible strategic impact, we have vastly broadened the scope of fusion to take into account strategic situational awareness and the information technology necessary to support it.

Figure 3. Fusion 2+

Figure 3. Fusion 2+

Air Force Space Command’s strategic master plan states that “the first priority is to protect our vital national space systems so they’ll be available to all warfighters when and where they are needed” (emphasis in original).6 This protection also includes the ability to repair damage caused by a wide variety of anomalies that might affect space systems in orbit. As part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Picosat program, the AFRL/IF launched the world’s smallest satellite—the Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems-Based Picosatellite Inspector (MEPSI)—from the space shuttle in November 2002, thus laying the groundwork for an emerging onboard-protection and/or servicing capability for satellites. The InfoBot (fig. 4) is a robust onboard device that receives, processes, correlates, and distributes information reliably, unambiguously, and rapidly. This concept paves the way for numerous emerging capabilities, such as an onboard servicer or an onboard protector.

Figure 4. InfoBot

Figure 4. InfoBot

Space protection requires warning of possible threats (both natural and man-made) to allied space systems, receiving reports of possible attacks against satellites and US cross-cueing of other owners or operators, and directing forces to respond to a threat. To fulfill these needs, space systems must have onboard sensors to detect attacks and quickly report anomalies or suspicious events. The primary goal of these “battle bugs” (fig. 5) would be to provide a rapid-response capability to counteract impending threats that cannot be avoided by other conventional means (e.g., orbital maneuvering, shielding, etc.) in an inexpensive yet effective manner.

Figure 5. Space “battle bug”

Figure 5. Space “battle bug”

Information Management

The essence of the joint battlespace infosphere (JBI) (fig. 6) consists of globally interoperable “information space” that integrates, aggregates, and intelligently disseminates relevant battlespace information to support effective decision making. The infosphere is part of a global combat-information-management system established to provide individual users at all levels of command with information tailored to their specific functional responsibilities. The JBI brings together all information necessary to support war fighters and their missions and allows them to obtain and integrate data from a wide variety of sources at the touch of a screen, to aggregate this information, and to distribute it in the appropriate form and degree of detail required by users at all levels. The JBI is a true system-of-systems in that it works for users at all echelons, from the remote battle-command center down to the soldier in the foxhole. It is distinct in organization, process, and usage from the communications infrastructure on which it rides and from the user-application systems that it serves.

Figure 6. Infrastructure of joint battlespace infosphere

Figure 6. Infrastructure of joint battlespace infosphere

The JBI is a “place,” independent of fielded C4ISR systems, where information can be brought together. Past attempts to manage information have been system-based. That is, in developing a system (whether communications or user-application) to provide a given capability, developers made decisions on how to define, organize, manipulate, store, and transport information based on what was optimal for the particular system under development. These application-specific systems optimized information based on the storage and access needs of the system’s software, data stores (databases), and intended user interface. Consequently, communication systems were optimized based on routing, bandwidth, throughput, and transfer speed. Management of information based on these optimizations has proven severely detrimental to interoperability—that is, the ability of systems to exchange and use information and services. The JBI acts as an “information layer” that harnesses the discipline of information management by eliminating the current “rigid-layered” information environment and replacing it with interoperable, consistently managed, widely available, secure information spaces that encourage dissemination of information to all who need it. The JBI will provide answers to numerous important questions: Where did the data come from? Who wants it? What is their priority? Is the data “good”? Can I trust it? Does the data need to be transformed, aggregated, or integrated with other information? Who may access it?

The multidomain network manager (MDNM) system (fig. 7) allows system administrators to monitor multiple security domains (e.g., US Only, Coalition, Unclassified) simultaneously on a single set of terminals. It will provide a network common-operating picture, hierarchical views of security domains, a secure boundary device for accessing net information, and a reduced operational footprint. Estimates indicate that the system will make possible a 10–25 percent savings in manpower, will keep costs low (less than $10,000 per installation), and will allow for multilevel attack detection of information warfare as well as response capability. Within an air and space operations center, for example, the MDNM would have the net effect of significantly reducing the number of system administrators required to monitor the various security domains around-the-clock, year-round and of collectively monitoring the system for adversarial intrusions.

Figure 7. Multidomain network manager

Figure 7. Multidomain network manager

An application programmer’s interface, Java View (Jview) (fig. 8) is designed to reduce the time, cost, and effort associated with the creation of computer-visualization applications or the visualization interface of an application. Jview allows for the importing, displaying, and fusing of multiple simultaneous-information sources. What does this mean for the war fighter? Imagine having ultrahigh resolution within a flat screen in an F-15 or a B-2 or an eyepiece for the infantry soldier.

Figure 8. Jview

Figure 8. Jview

The new Department of Defense (DOD) doctrine for networkcentric operations requires the application of information and simulation technologies in order for the war fighter to function in a knowledgecentric universe that integrates air and space information. Mission commanders need to assimilate a tremendous amount of information, make decisions and responses quickly, and quantify the effects of those decisions in the face of uncertainty. AFRL’s research on the distributed collaborative decision support (fig. 9) environment provides an application-independent collaboration framework of integrated tools, information technologies, and adaptive collaboration services aimed at providing enhanced decision support, knowledge sharing, and resource-control capabilities. These technologies will allow geographically dispersed people, processes, and resources to work together more effectively and efficiently to create the products for distributed-defense enterprises of the future (e.g., collaborative battle management, crisis-response planning, and antiterrorism).

Figure 9. Distributed collaborative decision support

Figure 9. Distributed collaborative decision support

Timely information about enemy forces, friendly forces, and battlefield conditions is especially critical for combat aircrews whose battlefield situation changes rapidly. The common situational awareness (CSA) advanced-technology demonstration (fig. 10) is developing and demonstrating the onboard information-system architecture needed to support task-saturated crews by processing, selecting, and displaying available information. The CSA program, targeted at multiple special-operations-forces mission and aircraft platforms, will integrate information from onboard systems and exploit off-board intelligence databases and imagery products to provide a consistent battlespace picture to the aircrew. The CSA design contains three key elements: connectivity, integrated modular architecture, and a crew/system interface.

Figure 10. Common situational awareness

Figure 10. Common situational awareness

Advanced Computing Architectures

Growth of information technology in the twenty-first century will be driven by advanced computing technology brought about through the development and implementation of information-processing paradigms that are novel by today’s standards. Advances in information technology will provide tremendous benefits for war fighters who not only face the enemy on the field, but also struggle to comprehend the overwhelming amount of data coming at them from numerous sources. Future information systems will include biomolecular and quantum computing subsystems (fig. 11) that incorporate data- storage and processing mechanisms with density and performance metrics, such as power and speed, far beyond current state-of-the-art silicon technologies. These information systems are likely to be hybrid systems consisting of biomolecular/silicon, quantum/silicon, or biomolecular/quantum/silicon computing architectures. They will be able to process information faster as well as acquire new attributes that will enable progress toward even faster, more intelligent computing systems.

Figure 11. Biomolecular and quantum computing

Figure 11. Biomolecular and quantum computing

Current space systems utilize 1970s and 1980s technology in the form of 286/386/ 486/586 microprocessors. However, tying C2 systems, sensors, and weapons via “horizontal integration” requires the ability to rapidly process new as well as previously acquired raw imagery data. A diverse, distributed community of intelligence analysts and battlefield decision makers needs this capability so its members can take appropriate actions based upon these analyses. AFRL/IF is working with its sister directorates—Sensors (AFRL/SN) and Space Vehicles (AFRL/VS)—on the next-generation space computer (fig. 12). Imagine an onboard Cray-like supercomputer that would provide enough processing power so that up to 50 percent of a satellite’s mission ground station could be housed in a single spacecraft. This space computer will enhance a satellite’s processing capability from millions (106) of operations per second to a trillion (1012) operations per second in 2006. Mission ground stations can take advantage of up to a quadrillion (1015) operations per second in 2010. Such capability carries with it significant advantages within the space community: reduction in footprint, significant reduction in operation-and-maintenance costs, and the ability to directly view, process, exploit, and disseminate information throughout a theater of operations without reaching back to a fixed mission ground station.

Figure 12. Next-generation space computer

Figure 12. Next-generation space computer

Cyber Operations

Software intelligent agents make possible the controlling and “patrolling” of cyberspace. These encapsulated software entities have their own identity, state, behavior, thread of control, and ability to interact and communicate with other entities, including people, other agents, and legacy systems. Essentially “cybervehicles,” often referred to as “infocraft” (fig. 13), they would operate in the cyber domain similar to the way air and space vehicles operate in the atmosphere.

Figure 13. Infocraft

Figure 13. Infocraft

Air and Space Connectivity

Achieving a completely secure, noninterceptable operational environment requires the secure transfer of information using channels dominated by quantum effects—that is, quantum key distribution (QKD) (fig. 14). In most cases, quantum noise is key to developing a communications channel, but recent work employing quantum-limiting behavior independent of noise is making a major contribution to information assurance. In conjunction with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, AFRL/IF is currently addressing three major problems that inhibit the establishment of a quantum channel: signal-to-noise ratio, channel control, and maintenance of usable data rates.

Figure 14. Quantum key distribution

Figure 14. Quantum key distribution

The timely establishment of communications-network connectivity is vital to the success and survival of US forces in modern-warfare environments. Recent conflicts have proven the need for rapid deployment and quick reaction to fast-changing scenarios. Effective and responsive decision making becomes impossible without adequate and reliable local (e.g., handheld radio, wireline and wireless data networks, and point-to-point microwave) and long-haul (e.g., high-frequency or satellite) communications both within and outside the battlespace. The adaptation of commercial-radio, local-area-network (LAN) technology now makes possible the swift establishment of high-speed Internet-protocol-based data networks in forward locations. The vehicle-mounted mobile satellite communications (SATCOM) terminal (fig. 15) is attached to an Internet protocol router that will provide Internet connectivity for a wireless LAN comprised of laptop computers in separate moving vehicles following the gateway vehicle. Over the past two years, several activities, such as the Warrior and Global Patriot exercises at Fort Drum, New York, have included demonstrations of AFRL’s mobile SATCOM terminal.

Figure 15. Ka-band (satellite-based broadband) mobile SATCOM on the move

Figure 15. Ka-band (satellite-based broadband) mobile SATCOM on the move

Industry-standard commercial wireless LANs, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 family, create an important opportunity for the military to leverage widely available, low-cost technology in applications that are difficult, costly, or impossible to realize with standard wired networks or traditional military-communications systems (fig. 16). These hugely successful standards provide link speeds of up to 54 million bytes per second over distances ranging from hundreds of meters to tens of kilometers, using equipment that seamlessly integrates with the vast majority of commercial data-processing equipment currently used by our forces. In spite of the great potential of this technology, risks abound with its use since the networks operate in unlicensed frequency bands, are easily jammed, lack mutual authentication, use insecure management protocols, employ weak and flawed encryption algorithms, are easily monitored, and are void of intrusion-detection systems, just to name a few shortcomings.


Figure 16. Enhanced commercial wireless network for military operations

Figure 16. Enhanced commercial wireless network for military operations

At first glance, this technology seems completely inappropriate for use in critical, high-assurance environments such as those surrounding most military operations. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce or eliminate most of the risks involved in using networks based on IEEE 802.11. One such solution utilizes AFRL’s protected tactical access point, the core of which is an IEEE 802.11b basic service set that uses a commercially available access point as its centerpiece. Because client stations are also based on unmodified IEEE 802.11b hardware, one thus achieves maximum leverage of low-cost commercial technology. Several different approaches and technologies are combined to form a system in order to mitigate inherent risks and increase information assurance on this network. Also, higher-layer mechanisms such as virtual private networks, firewalls, address filtering, strong encryption, and mutual authentication supplement these bottom-layer safeguards to provide a comprehensive information-assurance solution based on defense-in-depth strategies.

The Advanced Transmission Languages and Allocation of New Technologies for International Communications and the Proliferation of Allied Waveforms (ATLANTIC PAW) project (fig. 17) is an international effort among the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to enable interoperability of multinational wireless-communications assets. The program seeks to demonstrate portability of radio-waveform software onto independent radio-hardware platforms. The approach to achieving waveform-software transportability entails the cooperative formulation of a waveform description language to capture radio-waveform functionality and a waveform-development environment to translate this description into operational radio-waveform software.

Figure 17. ATLANTIC PAW

Figure 17. ATLANTIC PAW

Airborne tactical data links, a key element of our C2 structure, are essential to the ability of our fighting forces to perform their mission and survive. Transforming war-fighter capabilities by exploiting networkcentric technologies requires a dramatic and affordable overhaul of this capability. The tactical targeting network technology (TTNT) program, funded by DARPA, will develop, evaluate, and demonstrate rapidly reconfigurable, affordable, robust, interoperable, and evolvable communications technologies specifically designed to support emerging networked targeting applications devised to keep fleeting targets at risk. Laboratory and initial flight testing have already indicated that the TTNT design can exceed its goals.

US space missions and services such as on-demand space-launch control and on-orbit space-asset servicing require on-demand access to the satellite to conduct real-time operations. The main bottlenecks of space support include limits and constraints on the availability, operability, and flexibility of reflector antennas that provide links between space assets and space-operation centers on the ground. A novel geodesic-dome, phased-array antenna (fig. 18) under development—enabled by low-cost, innovative transmit/receive module technology—will alleviate the bottleneck. Furthermore, it will meet Air Force transformation needs through new capabilities in multiband, simultaneous access; programmable multifunctionality; and integrated mission operation.

Figure 18. Geodesicdome, phased-array antenna

Figure 18. Geodesic dome, phased-array antenna

Command and Control

The Air Force’s commitment to meeting the challenges of tomorrow resides within many of its transformation activities. To frame these activities, the service is adopting an effects-based mind-set to air and space maneuver and warfare. Air and space strategy describes the synchronization in time and space of air and space power to achieve desired objectives. Continuing this logic, EBO orients air and space power and represents a means of articulating the joint force air and space component commander’s air and space strategy to achieve these high-level objectives using either lethal or nonlethal means. This implies leveraging air and space power’s asymmetric advantages to create the desired effects at the right place at the right time. The AFRL has initiated an advanced technology demonstration (ATD) to develop new capabilities for implementing EBO. Current processes for planning, executing, and assessing military operations utilize target- and objectives-based approaches that lack dynamic campaign assessment and fail to address timing considerations, direct and indirect levels of effect, and automated target-system analysis during strategy development. The AFRL/IF’s EBO ATD focuses on building campaign-assessment and strategy-development tools to fill existing voids.

For years the Air Force has struggled to find an approach to campaign assessment more general than the “rollup” of bomb damage assessment. The causal analysis tool (CAT), designed to perform dynamic air-campaign assessment under general conditions of uncertainty, utilizes Bayesian analysis (a statistical approach that takes prior information into account in the determination of probabilities) of uncertain temporal, causal models without requiring analysts to have specialized mathematical knowledge. CAT emphasizes support for modeling such (uncertain) causal notions as synergy, necessity, and sufficiency. Developed as a tool for the analysis of EBO-style air campaign plans, CAT is a critical piece of the strategy-development tool that allows for assessment of the effects-based plan from the plan-authoring component.

According to Lt Gen William Wallace of the Army V Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom, “The enemy we’re fighting is different from the one we’d war-gamed against,”7 a statement that offers clear evidence of the need to pursue enhanced methods of war gaming throughout the DOD. In this era of EBO and transformation, war games must evolve accordingly to foster an adequate portrayal not only of US doctrine and systems, but also those of the enemy. War games must be adaptive, agile, and without bias. AFRL/IF is taking initial, collaborative steps to develop this new method of war gaming with the goal of both simulating victory and making it happen—faster and with fewer casualties and less collateral damage. To accomplish these goals, AFRL/IF is developing a capability for a third-generation war game (3GWG). By incorporating three additional, crucial thrusts—decision cycles, human factors, and operational effects—the 3GWG augments second-generation war games that successfully model attrition, movement, and logistics (fig. 19). Additionally, 3GWGs will help educate decision makers by assisting them in making better decisions.

Figure 19. War games for the next century of war fighters

Figure 19. War games for the next century of war fighters

The military commander must be able to live in the future, understanding the impact of decisions made today on the battlespace of tomorrow. The more senior the commander, the farther into the future he or she must be able to see. At all levels, commanders continually make decisions and decide upon courses of action, based on their current understanding of the world and their ability to forecast the outcomes of actions under consideration. This ability typically emerges after years of training, extensive combat experience, and a rigorous selection process. However, even experienced tacticians can consider only two or three possible courses of action for all but the simplest situations. To achieve predictive battlespace awareness (PBA), one must address numerous, complex technical issues; additionally, for the Air Force, PBA must deal with changes in culture, organization, architecture, and technology. A key ingredient of PBA includes providing a simulation capability so the commander can better visualize the potential futures resulting from military decisions. This simulation capability can take on many forms, but it has been dubbed the joint synthetic battlespace (fig. 20). The next five to seven years will witness the emergence of technology that will provide a real-world, synchronized simulation capability for the war fighter.

Figure 20. Joint synthetic battlespace

Figure 20. Joint synthetic battlespace

Summary

Not only has information technology improved commanders’ situational awareness, but also it has increased the complexity of the decision-making environment. Successful outcomes from these areas provide affordable capability options that the Air Force requires for information dominance and air and space superiority. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate remains on the cutting edge of transforming information technologies into war-fighting capabilities. The AFRL/IF is committed to the transitioning of science and technology that provide critical war-fighting capabilities in such areas as signals, imagery, measurements intelligence, information fusion, information management, advanced computing, cyber operations, and C2—the critical information-technology areas that will support the war fighter of the future. The directorate is also committed to developing information dominance that supports global awareness by moving relevant information through the predominantly commercial-based Global Information Enterprise environment for the dynamic planning and execution of the commander’s battle plan.

Notes

1. Jeffery R. Barnett, Future War: An Assessment of Air and Space Campaigns in 2010 (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, January 1996), xx–xxi.

2. The transition from platformcentric to networkcentric is but the beginning of a transformation to higher levels of warfare. The authors believe that the next evolutionary steps will move from informationcentric to knowledgecentric warfare.

3. David S. Alberts, John J. Garstka, and Fredrick P. Stein, Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority, 2d ed. (Washington, DC: C4ISR Cooperative Research Program [CCRP], February 2000), 2.

4. David S. Alberts et al., Understanding Information Age Warfare (August 2001; repr., Washington, DC: CCRP, July 2002), 16, http://www.iwar.org.uk/iwar/resources/ccrp/ UIAW.pdf.

5. Ibid., 16–29.

6. United States Space Command, Long Range Plan, April 1998, chap. 5, “Control of Space,” http://www.fas.org/ spp/military/docops/usspac/lrp/ch05a.htm.

7. Julian Borger, Luke Harding, and Richard Norton-Taylor, “Longer War Is Likely, Says US General,” Guardian Unlimited, March 28, 2003, http://www. guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,924497,00.html (accessed January 19, 2004).


Contributor

Dr. Paul W. Phister Jr. (BSEE, University of Akron; MS, Saint Mary’s University; MSEE, Air Force Institute of Technology; PhD, California Coast University) is the air and space strategic planner at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate, Rome, New York, where he develops the directorate’s mid-to-long-term technology-investments portfolio. A retired lieutenant colonel, he served 25 years in the Air Force, working primarily in space-systems development and operations. Dr. Phister is a recognized space expert and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as a licensed professional software engineer from the state of Texas.

Igor G. Plonisch (MS, MSEE, Syracuse University) is chief of the Strategic Planning and Business Operations Division at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate, Rome, New York. Mr. Plonisch is a doctoral candidate in management.


Disclaimer

The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.


[ Back Issues | Home Page | Feedback? Email the Editor ]