November 13, 2004

The War ‘Net [2:12 pm]

Pentagon Envisioning a Costly Internet for War

The goal is to give all American commanders and troops a moving picture of all foreign enemies and threats - “a God’s-eye view” of battle.

This “Internet in the sky,” Peter Teets, under secretary of the Air Force, told Congress, would allow “marines in a Humvee, in a faraway land, in the middle of a rainstorm, to open up their laptops, request imagery” from a spy satellite, and “get it downloaded within seconds.”

[...] Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet and a Pentagon consultant on the war net, said he wondered if the military’s dream was realistic. “I want to make sure what we realize is vision and not hallucination,” Mr. Cerf said.

“This is sort of like Star Wars, where the policy was, ‘Let’s go out and build this system,’ and technology lagged far behind,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with having ambitious goals. You just need to temper them with physics and reality.”

[...] The Pentagon’s scientists and engineers, starting four decades ago, invented the systems that became the Internet. Throughout the cold war, their computer power ran far ahead of the rest of the world.

Then the world eclipsed them. The nation’s military and intelligence services started falling behind when the Internet exploded onto the commercial scene a decade ago. The war net is “an attempt to catch up,” Mr. Cerf said.

Slashdot: U.S. Military To Create Its Own Internet

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