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Conclusions and Recommendations This chapter summarizes the major conclusions and recommendations that appeared in the preceding chapters. CONCLUSIONS The committee related each of the Army's functional requirements in Chapter 2 to technology building blocks identified in Chapter 3. For each building block technol- ogy, the committee provided recommendations as to whether the Anny should adopt commercial technology (C), adapt (modify) commercial technology (M), or de- velop A~y-specific technologies (A) to meet its needs. The rationale for making these recommendations was From the many expressions of Army requirements for also provided. future command, control, communications, and intelli gence, the committee distilled six important Army needs for operational capabilities. These capabilities are neces- sary in order to realize those aspects of the vision of the Army of the future that are related to information acqui- sition, movement, management, and access. These needs are (1) improved situational awareness, (2) common relevant picture of the battlefield, (3) command on-the- move, (4) improved target handoff, (5) battle space expansion, and (6) information protection. A seventh need, to exploit modeling and simulation, was also considered because of its general importance to the Anny and relevance to this study. To help the Army satisfy its needs, there is a set of commercial multimedia building block technologies that collectively support a broad range of generic applica- tions. Trends associated with these technologies (mostly qualitative, but also quantitative) indicate that a substan- tial level of research and development effort by compa- nies will be put into these technologies over the next decade. This level of effort driven by commercial appli- cations is likely to exceed greatly the amount of research and development effort that can be afforded by the Army. Thus, commercial requirements rather than Army needs are the principal determinants of the future directions taken by these technologies. The committee defined a generic multimedia architec- ture that is useful for putting the building block technolo- gies in perspective. This architecture has, from bottom to top, five layers. A sixth layer involving management and security cuts across the other five. The Anny's needs tend to align most strongly with commercial needs in the middle layers (II to IV). The Army's unique needs tend to lie in Layers I and V, with some special requirements and concerns in Layer VI. 87 There are several ways in which advanced multimedia technologies might be employed in the first decade of the next century to support the Army of the future at the corps level and below. These were illustrated in a scenario depicting battle command in the twenty-first century. The committee's analysis of the prognosis for the realization of the battlefield capabilities contained in the operational scenario considered the use of both commer- cial off-the-shelf technologies and technologies that might be created by Army-specific research and devel- opment investments. For the most part, however, the future capabilities will be determined by trends in com- mercial technologies. In addition, the committee identified some important projections regarding the broader implications of the application of multimedia technologies at the corps-level and below; these implications go beyond mere improve- ments in the ability to acquire, process, and communicate information. Specifically, the committee forecasts changes in organization, doctrine, and tactics as well as the need to actively experiment and to iteratively design and develop. The committee developed a technology management strategy for the Army. The recommendations that follow constitute the key elements for this strategy. RECOMMENDATIONS Based on its understanding of Anny plans and needs related to the battlefield and the current capabilities and future trends in commercial-off-the-shelf multimedia in- forrnation technologies, the committee makes the follow- ing recommendations. The committee acknowledges that
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g8 COMMERCIAL MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGIES FOR -FIRST CE~YA~YBA~IF[Os some of the recommendations have been made before, but it wishes to reiterate them to add weight to these recommendations in the hope of accelerating their im- plementation and to add specific support for them in the context of applications of multimedia information tech- nologies. In particular, the committee believes that these recommendations are specifically relevant to multimedia information technologies and applications because of the very short time scales within which these technologies evolve and because of the widespread application of these technologies in commercial domains. Recommendlation 1: The Army should be a hunter-gatherer of technologies, seeking out and acquiring the best technologies wherever it can find them, to meet its overall strategic objectives, and applying them in an opportunistic manner to meet the demands of the battlefield. The Army should leverage commercial-off-the-shelf technology (i.e., design applications and systems that can utilize such technology rather than setting objectives and requirements that require the invention of nonex- istent technology>. The Army should not compete with the commercial sector in developing generi- cally applicable technology. Recommendlation 2: The Army should carefully distinguish between (a) those technologies that are emerging and evolving in the commercial market- place and will be available to everyone, including the Army's adversaries, and (b) those technologies that the Army can reasonably expect to create as competitive enablers to differentiate the Army from its adversaries. For those technologies that fall in the former category, the Army should focus on expediting and experimenting with their innovative use in battlefield applications as a means of pro- ducing competitive advantage. For those technolo- gies that fall into the latter category, the Army should invest in Army-proprietary research and development efforts to achieve the desired differ- entiating advantages. The committee has provided specific recommendations in Chapter 4 of this report regarding which multimedia information technologies fall into the former category, the latter category, or a combination of both. These recom- mendations were summarized in Table 4-4. Recommendation 3: The Army must achieve a better balance in its procurement processes be- tween the imperative to make these processes fair and competitive and the imperative to effectively acquire, insert, and deploy information technolo- gies whose life cycles can be as low as 18 months. Specifically, the Army must recognize the iterative interaction between requirements and what is tech- nically feasible. Setting rigid requirements for sys- tems years in advance of their likely deployment will result in the deployment of obsolete technolo- gies with their associated cost and performance penalties, lost opportunities to deploy capabilities that were not anticipated or not believed to be feasible at the time requirements were set, and wasted efforts in the development of technologies that duplicate those that become commercially available at lower costs and have better perform- ance. Recommendlation 4: The Army should create and enforce a technical architecture that (a) promotes the reuse of building block technologies across multiple systems, interoperability between systems, and expedited insertion of new technologies to achieve cost reductions and performance improve- ments, and (b) facilitates ad hoc modifications of applications and capabilities to meet short-term needs in crisis situations. The Army must provide incentives to program managers and contractors to make the short-term investments needed to imple- ment systems and building blocks that are compli- ant with the architecture in order to realize the long-term benefits articulated above. Recommendation 5: The Army should be an active participant in technology development in the commercial sector. The Army should access infor- mation regarding commercial technology trends, influence commercial technology trends to accom- modate Army-specific requirements, and proac- tively endeavor to benefit from commercial experiences and innovations in the application of technology. Recommendation 6: The Army should respond to the need for reinvention. It should expect that rapid advances in communications and computational capabilities resulting from trends in commercial multimedia technologies will result in more than quantitative improvement in the ability of soldiers and commanders to execute existing command and control paradigms. It is likely that the Army will have to reinvent its organizations, doctrines, and tactics related to command and control to leverage these rapidly evolving technologies and to remain competitive with its adversaries.
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CONCLUSIOI`JS AND RECOMMEI~DATIOI\iS Recommendation 7: The Army must adopt a spiral model of development where the iterative specification of requirements, prototyping, testing by users, and refinement/respecification of require- ments proceeds in periods measured in months to create new systems and applications. This process must make heavy use of simulation, modeling, and experimentation in order to achieve the desired 89 iteration speeds and to achieve realistic prototyping and desired user feedback. Recommendation 8: The Army should create and adopt an appropriate qualitative index as a means to measure progress made toward achieving its technology management goals.
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