A key transformation of the US military associated with the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the use of the Internet and mobile communications to support deployed troops and distributed operations. The deployed force is relying increasingly on mobile video as well as data provided via a secure internet. The router is a key element of this capability, but given austere conditions mobility is essential (see: http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Router). Much of the internet data is passed over commercial encrypted sources, indeed around 70% of the communications traffic in Iraq and Afghanistan uses secured commercial satellite systems (see for instance: http://www.ts2.pl/en/News/1/121 ; http://www.viasatellite.com/via/dollarsandsense/31309.html ; http://www.gcn.com/Articles/2009/06/11/Army-upgrades-satellite-communications.aspx ; or http://www.defencetalk.com/us-using-space-supremacy-to-wage-combat-in-iraq-and-afghanistan-6965/).
An example of such capability is the mobile router point seen below. Pictured here is the satellite dish of the Virtual Secure Internet Protocol Router, Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point system installed at Combat Oupost McClain. Nearly everything from tacking intelligence reports, planning operations, and tracking troops outside the wire depend on internet connectivity.
Currently, there are around 80 airman deployed to various locations in Afghanistan to operate the Virtual Secret Internet Protocol Router, Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router, Access Point, which provides much needed internet access for Soldiers.
***Posted October 20th, 2009