DOD maps out infrastructure to support network-centric force

 The Defense Department’s move toward becoming a network-centric force depends in large part on overhauling the Global Information Grid (GIG).

In this report:

Net centricity's missing links include 'static' GIG, lack of info-sharing standards

The essence of net centricity is the availability of the right information to those who need it, when they need it. The core infrastructure is the GIG, a global, departmentwide system of networks intended to support and enable DOD's missions, functions and operations. The GIG architecture is the DOD Enterprise Architecture. It is a federation, with ownership, control or management of the people, processes, hardware and software distributed throughout the department.

However, the GIG is comprised of independent systems that are not always interoperable and cannot take full advantage of emerging technology. “To support the department’s ever-increasing information demands and future operational concepts, the GIG must transform significantly,” the department states in its DOD GIG Architectural Vision that outlines its plans. The future GIG will provide information sharing and information assurance on trusted, interoperable networks to achieve mission assurance.

“This transformation is based upon the recognition that information is a critical strategic component that enables decision-makers at all levels to make better decisions faster and to act sooner,” the architectural vision states.

According to the vision, it will support and enable responsive, adaptable and information-centric operations characterized by:

  • An increased ability for information sharing.
  • Expanded sources and forms of information and expertise to support rapid, collaborative decision-making.
  • Dynamic and interoperable communications, computing and information infrastructures that are responsive to rapidly evolving operational needs.
  • Assurance that the right information is available when and where needed to accomplish assigned tasks, that the information is correct, and that the infrastructure is available and protected.

In developing the new GIG, DOD is counting on improved information capabilities made possible by advances in technology and innovations in the department's operational concepts and practices. The evolution to this more dynamic, agile and robust GIG will be incremental, with no firm end date or end stage. The vision calls for moving from the baseline architecture through three stages in 2010, 2012 and 2016, with no date set for achieving the final form.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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