Joint Chiefs identify bandwidth as top tech challenge in Afghanistan

Joint Chiefs identify bandwidth as top tech challenge in Afghanistan

The No. 1 technology challenge facing warfighters in Afghanistan is the need for more bandwidth, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles E. Croom, vice director for command, control, communications and computer systems with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

'It's always bandwidth,' Croom said, noting that the Defense Department's bandwidth need has increased steadily since the Gulf War. 'The demand always outruns the capacity.'

Croom was the keynote speaker today at an Industry Advisory Council luncheon in Arlington, Va.

The military is adding smarter weapons to its arsenal as it decreases its theater forces, Croom said. The outcome is the weaponry requires a lot more bandwidth to give warfighters 'instantaneous knowledge of where the enemy is.'

During Operation Enduring Freedom, the military also must deal with major delays in communications through the Demand Assigned Multiple Access satellite comm system that military officials use to give orders and coordinate efforts, Croom said.

'It's creating tremendous problems out in the field,' Croom said. After one person finishes talking, it takes about nine seconds for another person to begin talking on the same channel, he said. 'We're trying to solve the problem with software improvements.'

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