May 13, 2006:
Without much fanfare, but with an increasing sense of urgency, the U.S. Department of Defense is adapting more of their current communication systems to operate using Internet technology. Not over the Internet that over a billion people currently use, but via private, military, Internets. Since the Internet applications and technologies are the most numerous, reliable and cheapest out there, this seems a reasonable thing to do. But it didn't happen without a lot of opposition, particularly from government contractors who stood to lose billions of dollars in business. For nearly a century, the military has been buying increasingly expensive custom commo gear. But the Internet was superior largely because the technology developed so quickly, and in so many different directions, that the military contractors were unable to keep up. The military saw useful capabilities via the Internet, and, realizing that they could have it now, rather than wait for years until the contractors developed a "military version," just went with the Internet versions. This happened more and more in the past decade, as most of the troops got on the Internet, as did most of the firms the Pentagon did business with. It's now reached the point where many combat systems, that were going to be connected to each other via custom comm. technologies, are instead being linked via Internet technologies. This impresses everyone no end. Generals like to say that they can run a battle from a laptop and an Internet connection.