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[] mil. Interoperabilitaet und Info-Sharing,

Info urged to fill military gaps

 BY Dan Caterinicchia 
 June 12, 2002

 Exactly nine months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the U.S. military has done a good
job of shortening the sensor-to-shooter cycle in Afghanistan, but can do
better through enhanced information sharing.

 Speaking June 11 at Armed Forces Communications and Electronics
Association's TechNet International 2002 in Washington, D.C., Air Force
Gen. Richard Myers said the military's observe, orient, decide and act
(OODA) loop is good at the individual service level, but joint
warfighting efforts need improvement.

 The information that the four services have at the tactical command
level is "wildly different for a variety of reasons, and that's
unacceptable," he said.

 Myers said that the United States and its coalition partners must be
adaptable and flexible because the enemy in the war on terrorism is

 The United States is working with about 80 coalition partners in the
ongoing war, and Myers said he is "dismayed" that working with even the
closest U.S. allies is almost impossible because of America's
technological advantages. He added that he is encouraging American
allies, particularly in Europe, to invest in command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
(C4ISR) to bridge the gap.

 During a panel discussion on network-centric warfare, Air Force Maj.
Gen. Charles Croom Jr., the service's director of communications
infostructure and deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration,
said that the United States does allow allies on its classified networks
in different ways, but none have complete access because U.S. secrets
are housed on those systems. He added that allied interoperability is
the No. 1 priority of the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration

 Another panelist, Army Maj. Gen. Steven Boutelle, director of
information operations, networks and space in the Army's Office of the
Chief Information Officer, said that coalition partners are not the same
as allies. With coalitions, the United States doesn't know who will be
there or leave at any point in time, and in those cases, there's little
technology can do. With allies, interoperability is easier to achieve
but will still take a long time, he said.

 Along those lines, the greatest challenge facing the recently announced
Homeland Security Department will be integrating the different cultures,
Myers said.

 "It's very difficult to get those cultures to think in a different way
and [without information technology] to back it all up, we're putting
ourselves at risk and that's unacceptable," he said.

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