ing part of the IT infrastructure. Cloud computing provides a cost-effective alternative to the existing paradigm of relying on local computing capability.
Both the intelligence community and the military are rapidly adopting cloud infrastructures because of their efficiency, flexibility (especially when scaling compute activities), and more centralized administration. Clouds provide a centralized information infrastructure that offers distributed access, making assured cyber protection even more vital.
Security issues include controlling access to sensitive data, segregating data, insuring privacy and data integrity (including during data processing), and preventing intrusion. The inherent efficiency and flexibility afforded by cloud computing have already resulted in its rapid acceptance in the commercial arena, and the DOD is exploring potential applications.1
Current and future military communications systems rely heavily on mobile communications systems. These systems can integrate individuals, autonomous units, and command nodes. Essential elements are throughput capacity and security. New advances in optical communications are also creating faster logic elements and broad bandwidth communications with reduced power for both fixed and mobile systems. One essential characteristic for national security is that the networks should be fail-safe or fail-soft. To meet this requirement, the networks reconfigure or reassemble autonomously to compensate for a failure in part of the system.
One application of IT is training warfighters in new skills and doctrine. Uncertainty about the types of military engagements the United States is likely to face in the next decade creates an urgent requirement for “anywhere, anytime” training. The readiness of U.S. military and diplomatic establishments to engage in situations that range from major confrontations in the Pacific, to terrorist attacks on the United States or our allies by non-state groups, to missile attacks or dirty bomb assaults on U.S. population centers, requires continuous training of combatant commands and continental United States forces. With the rapid development of worldwide satellite and cellular communications and networks, the infrastructure exists to integrate these assets into a true “anywhere, anytime” training capability.
The appearance and the acceptance of robots on the battlefield and unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in the airspace have engendered new tactical capabilities during the current Middle East conflicts (Economist, 2011). Steady improvements in computing, sensing, networking, and system-integration technologies have offered new capabilities for leveraging human functions with machine functions.
The emergence of autonomous systems as a key component of U.S. military power is another catalyst for integration of technical disciplines, including computing, sensing, communications, materials, and mechanical engineering. To date, however, few fully autonomous systems have become “field ready”; most deployed “autonomous systems” are actually semiautonomous, requiring an operator in the loop.
Most autonomous systems will rely on an interoperable network of manned and unmanned platforms, command and control assets, data analysis, and support functions. However, the current logistical burden associated with deployment must be significantly reduced. The trend toward smaller autonomous systems is in part driven by the potential advantage of their reduced support demands for operation and maintenance.
Autonomous systems benefit from advances in conventional air, sea, ground, and space platforms and related technologies, including propulsion and advanced materials. DOD should maintain continued focus and investment
1 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency issued a solicitation in June 2011 on mission-oriented resilient clouds.