The country's enemies are already using net-centric capabilities, warns an industry group, which also suggests that Pentagon planners devote more research funds to the study of network science.

George Leopold, Contributor

October 20, 2006

1 Min Read

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The U.S. military is investing heavily in network-centric technologies but must find new ways to expand network capabilities on a global basis while funding network research, industry experts said.

According to a budget forecast released this week by the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA, Arlington, Va.), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is spending an estimated $557.6 million this year on net-centric technologies. The military services are also investing heavily in the technologies as they seek to link commanders with troops through networks like the U.S. military's Global Information Grid.

The Defense Department "must field increasingly capable net-centric systems to counter global challenges," said James Oberlin, manager of market intelligence at BAE Systems, who headed GEIA's network forecast group. "Enemies are already using net-centric capabilities."

Oberlin said DoD will focus its technology development on those network elements it can't buy commercially. In the meantime, Oberlin said Pentagon planners need to devote more R&D funding to the study of network science in order to push the development envelope.

Overall, the industry group predicted DoD electronics and communications spending will shift from R&D to buying more equipment off the shelf. One reason, Oberlin said, is that commanders are increasingly being forced to deploy "hasty networks" assembled using commercial gear such as routers, servers, satellite and cellphones, relays and application software.

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