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Wireless Capability Fills Communication Gaps
A new wireless capability will allow joint warfighters to more rapidly establish
command and control when they set up operations in an area
where no established networks are available.
By Robert Pursell Joint Forces Command Public Affairs

SUFFOLK, Va., Sept 7, 2006 – U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Systems Integration Command has developed a new capability to rapidly establish computer networks when joint warfighters move in to areas where there is no established communications network.

Wireless for the Warfighter (W4W) provides an advanced wireless capability to provide faster setup, communication and dissemination of critical data.

James Bohling, W4W project lead, explained how the capability allows more mobility with reduced components.

"The W4W solution will ultimately provide 5-10 miles of secure unclassified wireless and secure classified local wireless access so that the warfighter doesn't have to be tethered to a network," he said. "The requirements came from a request from U.S. Northern Command's Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) to be able to extend critical communications wirelessly from a forward command post to elements of a joint task force."

JSIC developed W4W out of the need outlined by JTF-CS for a capability that would improve and support rapid establishment of a joint operations center (JOC) as well as feeding classified and unclassified data back and forth between personnel.

"JSIC's role is a near-term capability gap filler,” Bohling said. “There's a gap identified that the military wants to go wireless. There are a lot of people that are doing it and they're having problems. We want to be able to give that near-term solution that's secure and useable and jumpstart the process by providing that capability."

Other advantages of W4W include:

    • The overall reduction of the JTF
      communications footprint when deployed,
   • a decrease in the amount of time to connect
      with various parts of a JTF,   
    • and the expansion of coverage area to network
      services for individual warfighters.

Bohling added, "(W4W) provides mobility. One of the big aspects, unseen until the recent demonstration at the JTF-CS local exercise, is that it's reducing logistical clutter. When they deploy, their JOC usually has wired networks with wires running everywhere. We're cutting out a lot of the administrative, logistical, and operational 'fat' typically associated with traditional wired networks."

When speaking about W4W's deployment, Bohling said with the final product, there is "an outlook for May-June 2007 which will include an increased wireless capability. We want to provide that wireless metropolitan area network as opposed to just a local wireless capability."

For the security aspects of W4W, JSIC works with various partners to harvest products that are useable today.

Some of those supporting partners are the USJFCOM's Joint Communications Support Element, the Joint Experimentation Directorate, SPAWAR Tactical Communications Center, and the National Security Agency.

Bohling explained that W4W provides increased and easier access to network services. With these capabilities JTFs can establish command and control in a joint operations area much quicker.

"What they use today in the garrison, they're going to be able to use in the field and they're going to be able to have access to those resources they need, a lot easier, a lot faster and the decision cycles are going to speed up tremendously at all levels."
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Aug. 02, 2015
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