New DOD system lets tactical units exchange information

The Defense Department is deploying a new system to operation theaters worldwide that can link information on a global network.

The Joint-Range Extension system, developed by the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., receives information transmitted on a tactical data link in one area and forwards it to another tactical data link.

JRE transmits information by a variety of means, including over Defense's Secret IP Router Network, satellite links and landlines, said 1st Lt. Jim Horne, JRE program manager in the center's Tactical Data Links, Gateways and Network Management System Program Office.

The joint system functions much like a router, Horne said in a statement. And the data transmitted can include anything from weather patterns to friendly force information, he added.

JRE, which has been used in Iraq, gathers information from air, ground and sea systems and routes it across different tactical data links. Currently, there are 25 systems supporting units deployed in Iraq'JRE provides a way to link the information those systems gather and pass it along.

'JRE uses a variety of secure media, including satellite communications, telephones and Internet protocols to essentially extend the coverage area beyond the line of site,' Horne said.

So far, the Air Force, Missile Defense Agency and Marine Corps have used an early version of JRE.

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