Commercial Technology at the Tactical Edge
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
Pagination or Media Count:
The use of commercial Information and Communications Technology ICT at the tactical edge is increasing for many reasons, including commercial ICTs advanced capabilities, faster time to deployment, and lower cost. One example is the use of smartphones and other handheld computing platforms in military environments. The U.S. Department of Defense has experimented extensively with such devices at the tactical edge, and has also examined the use of commercial smartphones for more general military-grade secure communications. Current efforts to apply such devices and technologies for the warfighter entail both benefits and limitations, with cheap processing and communications capability often trading off against robustness and security. The variety of applications available in the consumer market for smartphones and tablets represent a tremendous base from which the military can draw. However, the fast pace of commercial product cycles requires any customization to be carefully considered and properly architected. A number of emerging applications from the commercial world are identified that could be used more routinely at the tactical edge in the near future. These include software defined networking, autonomous networks, cognitive radios, and methods for hands-free operation. There are many impediments to the effective adoption of commercial ICT at the tactical edge. Some stem from unique technical challenges associated with the rigors of the military environment, while others are primarily organizational and bureaucratic.
- Computer Systems
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Radio Communications
- Command, Control and Communications Systems