Information Warfare: March 7, 2003


Noting that sailors have increasingly been using shipboard email and instant messaging to form groups of like minded sailors across the fleet, the U.S. Navy has introduced it's own instant messaging system, as part of the Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) portal. This system has better security than public chat and instant messaging systems and allows active duty, reserve, and retired sailors share their collective knowledge and experience. After a week of operation, the system has handling 10,000 messages a day and growing rapidly. Instant messaging is very popular on ships, where sailors often find themselves doing several things at once and this form of communication has proved to be a much easier way to handle messages. Noting that, the navy is also working on a classified instant messaging system, which will be operating by June. This will allow the use of instant messaging for communication between ships during combat operations. The British Royal Navy has pioneered this technique. Also in the works is an increase in the Internet capacity for ships at sea, so that sailors can use instant messaging to communicate with their family and friends ashore.


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