Defense opinions on enterprise, networking initiatives evolve

I’ve been the editor of Defense Systems for just over a year now, and at this year-end 2011 I’m thinking about how mindsets have changed (or not) in just a short period.

Secure wireless versus radios: The year came in with Joint Tactical Radio System radios at the top of the Army’s modernization list, along with the network and on-the-move communications. Next year, 2012, arrives with radios up against the ropes, the Ground Mobile Radio already out for the count, with the crowd now pulling for secure wireless radios for most communications needs that don’t require high-level security. 

Plenty of military organizations, I dare say all of them except the Army, weren’t yet ready for enterprise architecture. A year later, the Army is no longer alone. The Joint Staff, as well as Africa, European, Strategic and Transportation commands have agreed to migrate their e-mail systems to the Defense Information Systems Agency's Defense Enterprise Computing Centers in the near term.

Related coverage:

DISA makes enterprise IT cornerstone of 2012 strategy

Army Cyber Command tackles network security challenge

A year ago there were lots of applications on the market, but with no approved operating system for mobile devices on the battlefield, none of them could reside on the network. The Army’s Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications program has changed that, with its work helping to fashion a secure Android operating system. Google can do no wrong.

Stuxnet has had staying power, and remains a fascinating still-to-be-told case study. Cloud computing has also shown staying power. First the federal CIO said everybody’s going to reside important applications in the cloud, then all of the military CIOs said let’s not be so hasty, and now the love affair with cloud is only just beginning.

On-the-move communications also has staying power, to mix metaphors. At year end, it added mission command-on-the-move so battalion commanders can get in on the action.

If there’s any consolation in the possibility of $650 billion in defense funding being cut over the next decade due to political impasses, it is that networks, communications and sensors will be the programs left standing when the dust settles.

Finally, there’s no consolation when it comes to a second decade of war in Afghanistan, now quickly approaching as the clock ticks to 2012. I just hope that the subjects we write about in Defense Systems will help bring it to a close sooner.

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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