Joint Chiefs: Bandwidth is top IT need in Afghanistan

Joint Chiefs: Bandwidth is top IT need in Afghanistan

The biggest technology challenge for warfighters in Afghanistan is getting adequate 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 need has increased steadily since the Gulf War. 'The demand always outruns the capacity.'

Croom was the keynote speaker earlier this month 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. This advanced weaponry requires more bandwidth to give warfighters 'instantaneous knowledge of where the enemy is.'

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

After one person finishes talking, it takes about nine seconds for another to begin talking on the same channel. 'It's creating tremendous problems out in the field,' Croom said.

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