Will the military go wireless? Well, in many ways, it already has. Wireless technology has grown steadily in the military, both in structure and power, and is now recognized as essential for many levels of military communications. Wireless technology is used in several areas of the modern military outfit — from exchanging tactical communications in the battlefield to meeting personal communication needs and tracking organizational duties.
The most exciting and newsworthy uses of wireless technology by the military are in the field of rapid military deployment. Currently, in Iraq, U.S. officers coordinate various wireless technologies to form a complete real-time picture of the situation on the ground and air. Allowing battlefield troops to utilize mobile communications efficiently within the command structure is vital. The military researches several wireless technologies as they strive to provide reliable data communications between increasingly advanced vehicles and soldiers, and coordinate humanitarian operations on the battlefield.
Some other novel wireless technologies are being integrated into further uses for the Military. For example, Ultra Wide Band scanners are being developed to allow visual penetration of hard surfaces on the battlefield. And, on a more routine level, Wi-Fi technologies keep the PDAs of Navy personnelapprised about daily tasks, communicate orders, and issue alerts.
A major difficulty for the military is researching and evaluating all the available technologies, while simultaneously putting them into practice. The successful implementation of the OFDM waveformwas the first step in the Military SDR Technologies plan utilizing the complete IEEE 802.16 family of wireless data applications — which we know fondly as WiMax.
Such advances are always tempered by the reality of Federal regulations and oversight, which addresses most issues in the military more rigorously than in the private sector. Other concerns surround points regarding protection, secure information, and the possibility of wireless data interception — which is all exacerbated by the military’s acknowledged hypervigilance in a post 9-11 world. All of these issues serve to slow down military implementation.
In the end, wireless uses by the military, who drive many technological advancements, will be determined by whether the technology will be a big productivity enhancer, and how efficiently they enhance the military mission. Yet, while the military attempts to balance security, networking and efficiency of the technology, there will always be a early adopters on hand to give the system a shove in the right direction.