Connectivity and Security

A key element of the public-private partnership which makes up the “second line of defense” enabling the operations of 21st century military and security forces is connectivity. Known more often by the use of the term networks, or of “network centric warfare,” we use the term connectivity  to subsume a much broader range of issues and elements for discussion. What tools does the military use from industry to connect the forces, either in a joint or coalition approach? What role does the commercial as well as defense industrial sector play in shaping connectivity options for the military? How can the military, law enforcement, security and commercial sectors work together more effectively with modern IT and communications systems?

For the military, the focus is often on what is called C4ISR, command, control, communications, computers and information. But in reality what is envisaged is C4ISRD, or the evolution of decision-making systems, which leverages IT and communications system to allow for more effective decision-making. C4ISRD is at the heart of the public private partnership, which enables modern forces. Ranging from the IT systems which allow for modern manufacturing, to the systems which allow transparency in logistics systems, to the two-way flow from the military to the private sector to allow for sustainment in global and local operations to the communications systems which allow for the flow of decision-making tools to make use of this IT-generated data, C4ISRD is central to the modern military.

At the same time, overcoming proprietary “stove-piped”systems which block the effective flow across platforms, services, and national force structures is central to future progress of modern military systems. And for the broader challenge of building a “global security commons,” enabling the flow of information across the military, security, commercial and law enforcement domains is central to success in enabling global decision-makers to work together to achieve common goals and outcomes.

But at the heart of building the modern C4ISRD enterprise comes a central security challenge: How best to ensure the security of information and decisions flowing within modern systems and yet enable forces to at in a timely manner? Meeting the cybersecurity challenge is a core element at the heart of the modern C4ISRD enterprise and presents an ongoing and continuing challenge for the United States and its allies.

This section provides perspectives on the connectivity and security challenges facing the crafting of effective, globally responsive forces for 21st century missions.

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