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Network Links Army Command

FusionNet is designed to improve communications and data replication between field commanders in Iraq and headquarters in the United States
The U.S. Army has deployed the first phase of a computer network that will improve communications and data replication between field commanders and headquarters in the United States and Baghdad, Iraq.

The system, dubbed FusionNet, was created because commanders in Iraq couldn't get an accurate picture of military units. For example, logistics commanders charged with sending food and ammunition to a unit often had difficulty finding out how many soldiers were in that unit. Conflicting data in multiple systems also is a problem, says Maj. Kurt Warner, Army information and knowledge-management officer. Equally difficult is distributing battlefield reports from local commanders. "Currently, we fight on E-mail, PowerPoint, and Excel spreadsheets," Warner says. "Information needs to flow through the hierarchies of command. The vision of FusionNet has always been to connect all echelons of command and their staff."

FusionNet was developed using Microsoft Visual Studio and SQL Server 2000 database. The system recently was deployed on servers in Fort Bragg, N.C., and Baghdad. In June it will be expanded to servers in a dozen divisional and brigade headquarters in Iraq. A new version expected to be finished in July will let commanders work in disconnected mode on their portable systems, then synchronize data with FusionNet when they reconnect.