While both Link 16 and CEC provide valuable capabilities, neither is likely to be evolved far enough to provide the capability needed for flexible connectivity. Link 16 does not allow for the rapid incorporation of unplanned platforms or unanticipated information sources into its network. Enhancements are planned, and they will be useful for near-term improvements to the network, but there are limits to these improvements given the very dated technology and architecture upon which Link 16 is built. CEC was designed to be a distributed radar, and it is quite effective in that sense. However, while it does have a high bandwidth, it was not designed to be a multipurpose communication system easily accommodating the inclusion of nodes not designed to its specialized interface specifications.
Newly emerging commercial wireless technology can be leveraged to meet missile defense communications needs. Commercial technology is providing multi-megabit-per-second wireless communications and has developed quality-of-service capabilities and some information assurance capabilities. Although antijam capability is typically not a feature of commercial technology, that technology should nonetheless be a good starting point for adding in this capability. Current improvement efforts face the coupled problems of limited bandwidth and poor battlespace control capability. Solving the bandwidth problem disentangles the two problems and allows focusing on battlespace control.
Determining an accurate battlespace picture and coordinating the assets in it remains a difficult problem that requires much more attention. Current efforts to improve battlespace coordination must be continued and augmented with more advanced research. Increased bandwidth will allow greater data exchange, which should allow better correlation of detections, but significant improvements beyond that will still be required. Programs such as the SIAP and FIOP are necessary, and even more advanced research programs are necessary. Areas of research include the decentralized management of resources and the management and presentation of uncertainty.