If there is one lesson all Americans should have learned from the strategic surprises of the last few years, it is that military preparedness never goes out of style. We may not be able to predict precisely what future security challenges will face us, but we can certainly see the consequences of not being ready. That is why I have joined with a bipartisan group of colleagues to form a congressional working group focusing on Navy networks.
What makes robust, resilient networks essential to the future effectiveness of our fighting force is their ability to unify a scattered and diverse defense community in pursuit of shared goals. Although the United States outspends other countries in its military investments, our ambitious agenda for promoting global peace, freedom and prosperity often results in the force being stretched thin. Flexible, high-capacity networks enable America to use all the tools in its military arsenal to maximum effect, conserving both money and lives.
No one knows this better than the U.S. Navy. Throughout its history, the Navy has been the forward edge of U.S. military power, continuously guarding national interests many thousands of miles distant from our homeland. It should not surprise us that the service most frequently deployed to the far corners of the earth should be the first to grasp the force-multiplying potential of networks. Today, the Navy vision of what networks can provide is embodied in a powerful concept called Forcenet (FORCEnet in naval parlance).
Forcenet envisions a web of unbreakable, agile links integrating every element of our joint force in pursuit of common purposes. From the seabed to geosynchronous orbit, this wireless grid will assure that each sailor and marine knows continuously where friends and enemies are, what they are doing, and how best to respond. By fusing together all the sensors and weapons systems at our disposal, Forcenet enables us to cut through the fog of war, and see clearly the steps we must take to prevail.
No military force in history has enjoyed such insight and agility. But making sure that our own force has that power requires us to identify and support the programs most critical to realizing the Navy’s networking vision — programs like the Joint Tactical Radio System, the E-2D carrier-based surveillance plane, and the Littoral Combat Ship. In the pages that follow you will see these and other programs described not in isolation, but in terms of the shared contribution they make to our collective security. This is a message that needs to be heard, and I am proud to do my part in telling the story.
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