Monday, April 20, 2009

U.S. Military Communication Technology: A Tale of Two Stories

The April 18th Wall Street Journal featured two different stories on the U.S. military’s use of communication technology. Perhaps the editors of the paper didn’t see the irony in the two stories.

The first story – on page one – titled “Pentagon Jams Web, Radio Links of Taliban” discussed how the Pentagon plans to use technology to stop the Taliban from broadcasting through the use of illegal FM radio stations.

The second article – on page A9 – titled “U.S. Weighs Changes in Strategy to Fight Pirates” discussed how the U.S. is considering taking a more forceful posture towards the pirates attacking off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden.

What I found particularly ironic in this second article is this paragraph (the boldface is mine):
Communications between the vessels is sporadic and informal, making it difficult to coordinate action. For example, U.S. and Chinese ships converse through an unsecured Yahoo email account, said Adm. Gortney, who commands all U.S. naval forces in the Middle East.
A Yahoo email account? How ludicrous!

Perhaps the Pentagon should consider sharing its communication technology with the vessels tasked with protecting shipping in the Gulf of Aden. Such a strategy might go a long way towards helping protect against pirate attacks.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. She also blogs at LA Internet Business Examiner, Operation Support Jews in the Military, and Fiction Marketing, and she is the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show Your Military Life. Her company Miller Mosaic LLC builds call-to-action websites for book authors and small businesses.

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