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Military establishing global network

12/3/2003 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The U.S. military is working to establish a state-of-the-art global communications network designed to provide real-time information to warfighters.

The network will gather massive amounts of information and provide users "the right information at the right time," said Ron Jost, Department of Defense director of wireless communications.

The backbone of the system will be an Internet-based Global Information Grid that will feature 101 satellite-supported communications sites set up worldwide, Jost said.

Another component of DOD's future communications system is the Joint Tactical Radio System -- a single family of radios designed to replace incompatible units currently in use by each of the services, Jost said.

Advanced computer systems and sophisticated software will allow users in the field to "ask" the system for real-time battlefield information, Jost said.

"If I'm out in the field, and I need to know what's on the other side of the hill, rather than get data that's 24 or 48 hours old, I can actually make that request to get (current) information that might have come from (an unmanned aerial vehicle)" or other sources, he said.

Information security "is (designed) within the fabric of the system," Jost said. Passwords and other safeguards will be used to restrict access and monitor system usage, he said.