Wireless is an Army priority, CIO says

Wireless is an Army priority, CIO says

The military will rely more and more on wireless IT devices to improve mobility and bring information to warfighters faster, said Army CIO Peter Cuviello.

"Wireless is absolutely key to the future," Cuviello said in a speech yesterday at the TechNet International 2003 show in Washington.

This means the Army must do away with multinode radios that have six to eight antennas, he added.

"One of the biggest challenges we have besides batteries is antennas," said Cuviello, who last month announced that he plans to retire from the Army. "We need multiband, multifunctional PDAs, and that's got to be not only in the commercial field but in the battlefield."

But such widespread use of wireless devices such as personal digital assistants won't happen without multiple levels of security, he said. John Stenbit, the Defense Department CIO, is drafting a policy that would set guidelines and restrictions on how wireless products are used across the department. Stenbit said recently that he's not sure when the policy will be released, but he is reviewing the lessons learned from a wireless policy for workers at the Pentagon, which he signed last fall.

Rob Thomas, assistant deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration at the Air Force, said his service still needs help from industry to address challenges such as improving advanced command and control, emergency preparedness and information protection.

Even with the challenges that still exist, Army Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg, director of command, control, communications and computer systems for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the recent war in Iraq showed how far the U.S. military has advanced in using IT-based weapons systems.

"It's the only weapons system that operates over great distances at the speed of light to reduce the potential fog and friction of war," Kellogg said. "IT is sure not [just] PowerPoint anymore. It's not in the books anymore. It's real, and we're making it happen."


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