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Military Works to Establish Modern Global Communications Network

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2003 – The U.S. military is working to establish a state-of-the-art global communications network that's designed to provide real-time information to warfighters.

The network will gather massive amounts of information and provide users "the right information at the right time," Ron Jost, DoD director of wireless communications, said at a Dec. 2 security conference here.

The backbone of the system, Jost noted, will be an Internet-based Global Information Grid that will feature 101 satellite-supported communications sites set up around the world.

Another component of DoD's future communications system, Jost continued, is the Joint Tactical Radio System -- a single family of radios designed to replace incompatible units currently in use across the services.

Advanced computer systems and sophisticated software, Jost noted, will enable users in the field to "ask" the system for real-time battlefield information. "If I'm out in the field and I need to know what's on the other side of the hill, rather than get data that's 24 or 48 hours old, I can actually make that request to get information that might have come from a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)" or other sources, Jost explained.

And information security, Jost pointed out, "is (designed) within the fabric of the system," noting passwords and biometric data will be used to restrict access and monitor system usage.

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