Italy is the latest nation to realize that it's troops have to be
equipped with new communications and computer gear, to make them capable of
"network-centric" operations. The Italians have first hand experience in Iraq,
with American units equipped for this sort of thing. They note Germany, and
other NATO countries, spending billions on this. So the Italians have budgeted
$13 billion to buy the equipment needed to operate with a battlefield Internet
sees most of this capability being put to work on peacekeeping missions. Italy
currently has over 10,000 troops deployed overseas in peacekeeping missions.
This kind of work puts a premium on communications. The peacekeepers are
usually outnumbered by the local bad guys, and need to keep an eye on a large
amount of unfamiliar territory. The Italian effort is a common strategy among
nations who are spending the large amounts of money to make their troops
"digital." Many peacekeepers are already using satellite communications and
UAVs, two major components of digital forces, and know that the stuff makes
live a lot easier out there.