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[] Übersee-Kommandeure der USA jammern über veraltete IT,

March 5, 2002 

Military brass urges overseas info tech spending increase

By Molly M. Peterson, National Journal's Technology Daily 

A larger investment in communications and information technology is
crucial to the military's ability to combat terrorism overseas,
according to regional combat commanders who testified before the Senate
Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. 

"We need increased [communications and computer systems] funding to
maintain the operational edge over our adversaries," said Adm. Dennis
Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and leader of the
military's effort to help the Philippine army combat terrorism more

Blair said in written testimony that the military's information
infrastructure--commonly known as command, control, communications and
computer systems, or C4--is the "unsung workhorse of any military
operation," and he stressed the need for interoperability among systems.

"As evidenced by the world's recent response to recent terrorist events,
the need for information sharing between service, joint and coalition
partners, as well as local, state and federal organizations, has
increased exponentially," Blair said. "This requirement places a strain
on an already antiquated and stressed communications network."

Blair said that in regions such as the Philippines, for example, U.S.
military systems are not interoperable with the mobile radio systems
used by local police and fire officials. "These incompatibilities
prevent key personnel from sharing critical information in a timely
fashion and could easily lead to catastrophic results," he said.

But he cautioned that a failure to protect highly sensitive information
from unauthorized users could yield equally catastrophic results.

"How we protect our sensitive information from potential adversaries
while ... sharing it with our coalition partners is probably the
toughest challenge we face in today's C4 environment," Blair said,
noting that Pacific Command networks are threatened by viruses and
hacker attacks on a daily basis. "Although we have made significant
strides to improve [information assurance] in [the Pacific Command], we
are far from 100 percent protected. Cyber warfare never rests."

Blair said the Pacific Command needs a "heavy investment" to modernize
its antiquated cryptography. "Replacement parts for this aging equipment
are difficult to obtain--a limiting factor as technology increases the
speed, connectivity and capacity of our networks," he said.

Many of the Pacific Command's other basic infrastructure elements also
are antiquated, such as wires and cables installed as far back as the
1960s. "These cables are no longer dependable," Blair said, adding that
the ever-increasing need for more real-time information requires the
Pacific Command to quickly upgrade its systems to support increasing
bandwidth and speed requirements of intelligence gatherers, combat
planners and war-fighters.

Military troops helping to keep the peace in Korea are facing similar
challenges, according to Gen. Thomas Schwartz, who serves as commander
in chief of that region.

"In the past, unfunded [C4] requirements have had a significant impact
on our ability to maintain an adequate infrastructure needed to support
the increased bandwidth, network redundancy and the modern decision and
collaboration tools required by my unit commanders," Schwartz said,
adding that local military units have had to divert money from other
operations' accounts to maintain adequate technological capabilities.

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