Information technologies have changed the battlefield. They enable better performance of current platforms, weapons, sensors, and people. Today, electronics and software add capability to almost every complex system. Information technologies are the basis for continual improvements in communications; intelligence gathering, analysis, and distribution; precision strike capability; platform control; sensor data processing; and human performance. Our troops depend on accurate and timely battlefield information. The ability to collect, integrate, analyze, and deliver this information efficiently and rapidly is critical to battlefield advantage. And because of the amount of tactical information available, a principal challenge is processing the data into meaningful forms for battlefield decisionmaking.

Beyond the battlefield, the management of enormous amounts of data related to logistic support is an increasingly important and demanding requirement. There is often too much administrative overhead associated with ensuring that equipment and supplies are on hand. Information technology programs offer the means to significantly reduce overhead and enhance efficiency by accounting for supplies via automated sensor and computer links. We are applying advanced computer software and systems and communication technology to the task of rapidly sorting through large quantities of data and presenting logistic specialists with information in ways that permit efficient operations and reduced errors. Technology is also needed to help ensure that no enemy can disrupt the information systems on which we depend.

We seek to preserve an information advantage over the adversary in all conflicts. Military forces need 24-hour all-weather surveillance. They need the ability to see through foliage and camouflage, under water, and through the earth's surface. They need the ability to track difficult targets such as cruise, antiship, and ballistic missiles as well as quiet submarines. They need the means to positively distinguish friend from foe in combat. The military also needs to know if and where weapons of mass destruction are being produced and in what quantity.

Our investment in sensor technologies is focused on providing these capabilities. The sensor technology program is broadly based. The United States invests in radar sensors that can detect ground targets concealed by foliage and camouflage; advanced acoustic, magnetic, and laser sensors to detect and locate submarines and mines in shallow water; and sensor technologies that might support detection of buried structures and mines.

Challenging requirements for sensors to aid in countering weapons of mass destruction must be met. First, the United States needs to be aware of the existence of facilities capable of creating nuclear, biological, or chemical materials. Second, the United States needs to monitor-typically at long distances-the output of such facilities and then track the movement and stockpiling of materials. Third, the United States needs better sensors to detect and identify the attributes of chemical and biological agents when released in the atmosphere or water. Last, the United States requires more accurate wideband radars, multispectral electro-optical sensors, and laser radars to detect ballistic missile launch, to target both cruise and ballistic missiles, and to discriminate missiles and reentry vehicles from chaff. Each of these priority needs is addressed in the President's 1996 budget.

Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities

The National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 USC Sec. 401), which provided for the organization of the Department of Defense, vested the overall direction and control of defense research and engineering in the Secretary of Defense. The Joint Staff an and the Joint Requirements Oversight Council have identified five Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities most needed by our military. Those needs, coupled with technological opportunity, are used by the Director of Defense Research and Engineering to shape the defense investment portfolio.

The five Future Joint Warfighting Capabilities are as follows:

    To maintain near perfect real-time knowledge of the enemy and communicate that to all forces in near-real time.

    To engage regional forces promptly in decisive combat, on a global basis.

    To employ a range of capabilities more suitable to actions at the lower end of the full range of military operations which allow achievement of military objectives with minimum casualties and collateral damage.

    To control the use of space.

    To counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction and future ballistic and cruise missiles to the continental United States and deployed forces.

A battlefield sensor is part of a larger system. It must perform within the constraints of that system. It is particularly stressing where there is a requirement for a very rapid military reaction to a sensed input; for example, to detect and target a closing sea-skimming missile, to detect and target a ballistic missile during boost phase, and to perform quick friend versus foe identification. The Defense S&T program seeks both incremental enhancements and breakthroughs in this area.

Modeling and simulation are powerful tools with myriad high payoff applications. We are using them in training, planning, and the employment of our forces. They also offer a cost-effective means of enhancing readiness. In addition, we are using modeling and simulation to expand the range of alternatives evaluated during concept formulation and as an aid to planning and setting priorities for the Defense Department's S&T investment. Modeling and simulation technology can augment the testing and evaluation of systems and hasten manufacturing with reduced cost. Simulations can be the basis for planning and decision aids to stretch the ability of commanders to train, to plan, and to employ their forces.

Information Technologies To Ready Our Forces-
Battlefield Digitization Technologies

Advances in information technologies contribute a growing array of strategic capabilities for our forces. New information technologies can provide high-resolution data about terrain, environmental, and tactical conditions that can be communicated to troops and their command instantaneously. One example of the application of these technologies is battlefield digitization.

Digitizing the battlefield is the application of commercial information technologies to acquire, exchange, and employ timely information throughout the battlespace, tailored to the needs of each commander, shooter, and supporter, allowing each to maintain the clear and accurate vision needed to support both planning and execution. Digitization allows the warfighter to communicate vital battlefield information instantly, rather than through slow voice radio and even slower liaison efforts.

The U.S. Army's strategy in digitizing the battlefield focuses Army technology efforts on applying commercial technology and developing critical military technologies. These include data compression; satellite-based communication and sensing; sensor and data fusion; advanced wireless communications; advanced lightweight, large-screen, high fidelity, and flat panel displays; multifunctional digital radios; microelectronics; and advanced distributed simulation.

Challenges remain in the areas of virtual reality; use of extant communications; linking simulations to real-world exercises on live ranges; variable resolution of simulated entities; realistic semiautomated forces; validation that a simulation performs as specified; verification that a model or simulation sufficiently represents reality; and accreditation of a model or simulation as a suitable basis for exploring a particular issue.

The Defense S&T program will continue to be broad-based, spanning all defense-relevant sciences and technologies. The military services will continue to field robust programs in service-specific technologies: the Army in terrestrial science and armor materials; the Navy in ocean geophysics and acoustic signature analysis; and the Air Force in atmospheric physics and aerospace vehicles and propulsion systems.