Military and government services are becoming information centric and rely on specialist critical infrastructure
“An incoming mortar is an information problem as well as a lethal threat,” Brigadier Alan Hill, CIO of the British Army said in an interview as he led the transformation of the army into an information centric organisation.
In the digital world of 2020 civic, judicial and military services manage vast and growing levels of data. The speed and accuracy that they manage information at gives a strategic advantage and ensures mission success, judicial correctness and citizen safety.
CIO for the Ministry of Defence Charles Forte said in his 2019 Digital & Information Technology Functional Strategy: “Information, in all its manifestations, must change the way we execute business and prosecute warfare, both at home and overseas in an era of constant competition. Information is no longer just an enabler, it is a fully-fledged lever of power.”
Across the world, military service technology leaders of are front and centre of a new battlefield. Bullets are not fired, canons are silent and no jet fighters scream into the skies, but the demand for information superiority is as important as the need for the best and most up to date weaponry.
In the USA former oil and banking CIO Dana Deasy, now CIO for the Department of Defence, said in a 2019 presentation his team had developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms for weapons systems, but the same AI was used to help Californian firefighters battle the wildfires that ravaged the West Coast state recently. In Europe the Dutch and German governments have formed the Tactical Edge Networking, a specialist joint military internet for their armed forces.
“We have to be prepared to operate with any nation, which means your processes and technology have to be templated and then adapted to meet the situation,” Brigadier Hill said of the need to have critical infrastructure that will enable the modern information led armed forces react to new threats.
Forte of the Ministry of Defence adds in his strategy document that the battlespace has to be digitised: “integrating existing and new information capabilities to achieve better interoperability, the decisive advantage that timely, data led decision-making will give the operational commander.”
As data becomes a key part of the armoury of military, judicial and civic organisations technology has become the critical infrastructure that those on the frontline, as well as each and every member of the vital support teams, rely on.
As CIO of the British Army, Brigadier Hill operated a network infrastructure and application set that connected the brigade headquarters to a battlegroup base and on to companies out on patrol via a combination of fixed and wireless technology. Connecting brigade to the platoons requires ultra-fast, low latency and reliable connectivity, with which to share critical information from satellites, other military services, drones and other platoons.
“We must remain focused on our services. If JChat goes down there is no command and control application. A 30-second outage is big for a bank, but it can be life threatening for the military,” Hill said.
A combination of specialist, bespoke and pre-specified technology is used, but the application and integration of new technologies requires an understanding of the environment, its structures and the pressures of military and judicial services.
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Source: Mark Chillingworth, "Brigadier Alan Hill enabling frontline intelligence." CIO, 5 NOVEMBER 2013,