Network will deliver more bandwidth
- By Dawn S. Onley
- Oct 30, 2002
'I think bandwidth is starting to go away as a problem,' said Don Eddington, chief of the Center for Joint Command and Control Mission Capabilities.
Henrik G. DeGyor
The Defense Information Systems Agency is reconfiguring its command and control assets, a move that ultimately will change the way the military fights wars.
'We really are talking about some dramatic changes in the direction of C2,' said Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege, Jr., director of DISA.
One major change, Raduege said, will improve how the Defense Department manages bandwidth to accommodate the huge increase in data it produces. DISA needs bandwidth more than ever for systems such as the Defense Information System Network, the agency's Defense-wide program to build an integrated global communications network to connect voice, data and video networks.
DISA is planning to add bandwidth under a program called the Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion. For GIG-BE, DISA will build a worldwide, ground-based network with 10-Gbps OC-192 connections.
'I think bandwidth is starting to go away as a problem,' said Don Eddington, chief of the Center for Joint Command and Control Mission Capabilities. Eddington is also the director of the Advanced IT Services Joint Program Office, run by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency and DISA. 'GIG-BE does a good job in a lot of places.'
Eddington's role in DISA has shifted. He was the chief of the Center for IT Integration, which has been renamed the Center for Joint Command and Control Mission Capabilities. The areas now under his authority are working with the joint staff on advanced C2 mission capabilities, the Global Command and Control System program, and the advanced technology division of DISA.
The first GIG-BE network will be installed at 90 sites around the world. Eventually, the system will provide greater bandwidth throughout DOD, said John Stenbit, the Defense CIO.
'We cannot become a network-centric military force unless we create a bandwidth that is wide enough,' Stenbit explained.
Stenbit said DOD has convinced Congress to appropriate $500 million to build the GIG-BE infrastructure.
In December, DISA will test ways to help the military work with local authorities if several bases are attacked simultaneously. Forces participating in the test will use the Global Command and Control System to connect military units with emergency responders.Holiday cheer
The agency also will use collaboration tools to foster interoperability between U.S. and allied forces. Eddington is working to set up a joint network for five allied nations by Dec. 25.
'We were able to hook up some collaboration tools with a lot of people. We can convene these virtual meetings on the networks.'
One of the main obstacles to establishing a network-centric DOD is the number of incompatible legacy systems Defense agencies use.
'I think, as always, the biggest challenge is how do you balance the legacy systems out there with starting something new,' Eddington said. 'We need to get to this Web-enabled view of the world, but we still need local, survivability capabilities.'
In last year's Quadrennial Defense Review, Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the department will place a greater emphasis on C2 systems to give commanders a more accurate view of the battlespace.
Defense has many stovepiped systems that can find enemies and target them, Raduege said, 'but we are making great strides in building gateways between these systems.'
Defense officials also recognize that unsecured networks present unacceptable vulnerabilities, he said.