The global communications challenges facing defense commands
and civil organizations are enormous. Ongoing missions around
the world include support to offensive and defensive operations,
drug interdiction, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping.
These joint, multinational, and interagency operations must
rely on an information infrastructure capable of supporting
stringent interoperability requirements. The challenges include
the classification, control, dissemination, and sharing of
information between the United States and its coalition partners.
Among other relevant concerns are multinational operations,
global air traffic management, transportation and logistics,
broadcast and multicast capabilities, and the extension of
commercial capabilities across the international community.
For example, more than 2 million active duty and civilian
personnel in the Department of Defense (DoD), nearly 50,000
in the Federal Aviation Administration, and more than 100,000
in the Internal Revenue Service have information needs. More
than 500 military installations in the continental United
States have local and global information needs. Worldwide
intelligence production and homeland security capabilities
may access and process massive amounts of open source information
from more than 1,500 major daily newspapers in the United
States and at least that many in other nations.
The immense scale and diversity of the worldwide community
and its problems provide inherent challenges to implementing
new and enhanced capabilities:
RequirementsHow can we determine user
needs in a global community? Is commonality in applications
around the world required? How are localized needs to be handled?
Must all requirements be met or can available commercial capabilities
Planning, Programming, DesigningWhich
architecture pieces are worldwide and which can be localized?
How should funding and acquisition be accomplished for worldwide
FeasibilityIs a worldwide system
feasible? How can the full breadth of global information problems
ScalabilityCan applications be made
scalable for worldwide implementation? Is it reasonable to
assume capabilities can be fielded and synchronized worldwide?
SecurityHow should security be implemented
for sometimes separate, sometimes intersecting DoD, national,
and international communities?
DevelopmentWhat is effective and efficient?
What is the development path for large systems
versus focused smaller teams, centralized systems versus decentralized
ones, and thick clients versus thin ones? How do these capabilities
The articles in this issue illustrate the range of MITREs
technical contributions in addressing these questions to develop
and sustain global information systems across DoD, diplomatic,
intelligence, and civilian air control applications.
One article describes a traffic analysis system designed
to improve air traffic control throughout the world. Another
article reviews a number of approaches for information sharing
in a multinational environment, including Partnership for
Peace, the Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation
System (BICES), and the proposed generic U.S. Multinational
Information Infrastructure (USMII). Another describes MITREs
recommendations to the foreign affairs community for a common
platform supporting the varied needs of more than 40 agencies
in nearly 200 countries. Another presents a roadmap to achieving
a fully integrated joint force that supports various levels
of conflict, including how to integrate existing architectures
into a single, end-to-end information system environment where
joint and coalition warfighters can share data and applications
regardless of their location. We also describe a unified information
capability designed to protect the homeland against new types
of threats, such as weapons of mass destruction, the spread
of infectious diseases, global organized crime, and narcotics
Web and commercially available technology and methods provide
us with capabilities to make worldwide systems feasible; we
need to ensure we take advantage of these to fulfill U.S.
government information needs.
Spurge Norman leads MITREs work program for
the Department of Defense Unified Commands and defense
intelligence around the world. He focuses on the challenges
of worldwide information sharing every day. His organization
includes staff from 30 locations around the globe. Mr.
Normans MITRE career includes 13 years of engineering
experience at DoD commands. During those years, he focused
on worldwide capabilities, including global transportation,
intelligence systems, and worldwide command and control
For more information,
please contact guest editor Spurge Norman using
the employee directory.