The military is testing ways to send intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information to warfighters via handheld mobile devices as part of an annual technology multinational interoperability challenge.
The Relevant ISR to the Edge, or RITE, program is one being demonstrate at Empire Challenge 11, which is being held now through June 3 in several locations in the United States and abroad, but mainly at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
The annual challenge to demonstrate emerging capabilities in ISR is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Intelligence, and features collaboration between the U.S. and other countries as well as among multiple military departments and federal agencies. Military commanders leading EC11 participated in a conference call about the event on Thursday.
RITE uses technology-agnostic mobile devices to connect to a multi-layer network and download a variety of ISR information in different formats for the dissemination of "tactically relevant info to a solder at the leading edge on a handled device," said John Kittle, EC11 operational manager.
While soldiers currently are using Android devices to test RITE, another military leader said that the program is hardware agnostic. "You can use an iPhone [too]," said. "The network doesn’t care what your handheld device is."
From that device, soldiers can use specialized military applications developed for the program to obtain relevant ISR information, or connect with multiple data sources to download text, video, or any other data that is helpful to the mission, officials said. For instance, there is data available from agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as a terrestrial layer of ground-based sensors that deliver ISR information. The devices also can access data from aircraft, both manned and unmanned, as well as satellites in space.
Only devices with the appropriate software on SIM cards can connect to the RITE network, which provides security against unauthorized people with handheld devices from accessing it, officials added.
The Army in particular has been testing better ways to get information into soldiers’ hands in the battlefield through the use of mobile devices. RITE is one of several programs the military has going at the moment testing various technologies and methods for information dissemination in this way.
The Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications program also equips soldiers with a variety of mobile devices loaded with custom applications to help them perform their duties better both on the battlefield and in the classroom.
Meanwhile, the Army also is testing the first Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) handheld device leveraging a government-owned Android-based framework soldiers can use during combat missions. The idea behind the framework is to have a standard environment for mobile applications that will be interoperable with each other and existing mission-command systems.
In the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: More than half of federal agencies will use cloud computing within 12 months, our new survey finds. Security, ROI, and management challenges await them. Download it now. (Free registration required.)
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?