Earlier this month, the commercial satellite industry and senior military officials from around the world convened in London for the Global MilSatCom conference. During the event, some of the most pre-eminent names in the world of SATCOM examined the latest topics and trends that are shaping the future of MILSATCOM and explored some of the cutting-edge SATCOM technologies that are enhancing the operational effectiveness of militaries around the globe.
During one session at the event, SES Government Solutions’ (SES GS) Director of BD Engineering, Technologies and Solutions, Ram Rao, had the opportunity to address conference attendees on some of the next-generation solutions that are enabling greater visibility into militaries’ technology networks, and discuss how these emerging capabilities can advance U.S. Department of Defense (DoD missions and deliver critical, decision-making information and data at speed.
Network visibility at speed
In the past, the U.S. military has not had a capability to render big-picture visibility of all DoD information, communications, and technology networks. For example, if one branch of the DoD had a network of 500 end-to-end connections, there has never been a solution or means to have a high level, holistic view of all connections in one window for review. And this is a challenge that the U.S. military is looking to remedy.
There is immense value in being able to automatically drill down to individual network connections and dissect each part of an end-to-end connection. If military networks employed such automated capabilities, it would eliminate the laborious and time-consuming legwork of manually monitoring every network connection.
Instead of dedicating valuable manhours that manual monitoring requires, the DoD can employ automated solutions that constantly scan, examine, and provide feedback on all connections. These new technologies can also provide views that scale down to the individual satellite, teleport, and connection, as well as scale up to high-level, holistic vantage points of the entire network. Processes that used to take days of laborious network scanning and monitoring has now evolved into automated near real-time – if not real-time – feedback and visibility of a network and all the connections it houses.
Besting the adversary through real-time monitoring
Aside from the benefits that DoD network operators could gain from an optimized visibility solution, it’s critical that the speed at which mission goals are delivered always remains a priority. According to Rao, “When we listen to all the high-ranking officials, five-star generals – all the way down to the hands-on people – in the military, the one thing they’re talking about is ‘speed of delivery’ and real-time processing, because every second matters when we are trying to defend ourselves or offend our enemies.”
Rao went on to explain that being the first to make decisions in a time of defensive or offensive crises is of the utmost importance to the DoD. The only way high-ranking officials can be first to strike or defend depends on the data, intelligence, and communications they exchange between decisionmakers at headquarters and the warfighters on the battlefield.
“It’s about making the decision first, and who is first,” said Rao. “We don’t want to make decisions blindly. We want to hit intelligently. So, how do you intelligently do it? If every link and connection is up and running, the data is flowing from the end-users to the headquarters, where all our decisionmakers are sitting. Through automated networking monitoring solutions that ensure assured communications and connectivity, they will have real-time data available to them and can quickly make decisions.”
Network visibility and JADC2
Network performance monitoring solutions that grant wider visibility into military networks will most certainly support the DoD’s overarching Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) project. According to the Congressional Research Service, JADC2 is a “concept to connect sensors from all of the military services—Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force—into a single network.” DoD efforts that support network singularity, like JADC2, can give complete, high-level visibility into a conglomeration of various network capabilities that enable decisionmakers to advance missions.
Overarching network performance solutions that can drill down to individual views and subviews of a singular network connection is game-changing for a concept like JADC2. Allowing DoD decisionmakers to gain visibility into thousands of different network data points in a streamlined and consolidated interface can ensure that the U.S. military is always one step ahead of the adversary.
The soon-to-come ICT Portal
According to Rao, SES GS is hard at work on a soon-to-be-released solution that will deliver those network performance monitoring capabilities to the U.S. military. SES GS’ Information, Communications, and Technologies (ICT) Portal will do just that.
Rao describes the ICT Portal as a spokesperson for DoD networks. “The ICT Portal will be a window that will enable visibility into the network’s capabilities, how it is built, and how it is operating,” said Rao. “This will deliver complete resiliency to military networks, and support the DoD’s JADC2 initiative.”
“The platform will provide visibility on a single pane of glass to government end-users, and give a holistic view into networks from an end-to-end connectivity point of view,” said Rao.