Pentagon To Spend $17 Billion On Networks Of The Future
BOSTON — The Department of Defense has earmarked $17 billion to overhaul how the U.S. military communicates, with satellites being an integral part of this effort. A MilCom 2003 panel held Wednesday afternoon and led by Michael Frankel, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the C3, space, and information technology program, laid out a vision of the networked military of the future called the Global Information Grid (GIG).
As part of this undertaking, a new generation of communications satellites, using optical technology and data processing, is under development. The project, called the Transformational Satellite Program, is estimated by Frankel to cost $8.7 billion to implement over the next few years.
J. Scott Stadler, chief technologist at DOD’s MILSATCOM Innovation Center, said that the next generation satellites would serve as the backbone for the entire communications network. He said that commercial satellite operators will still have a role in the military communications system, but they will have to adapt their systems to plug into the integrated GIG. Stadler acknowledged that the significant expansion in capacity that would result from the next generation of military communications satellites could mean that less commercial capacity would be needed. But, he added, “warfighters have an insatiable desire for bandwidth.”
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