Information Warfare: June 29, 2003


The Department of Defense is looking for some military grade chat software. Internet type chat has been used by the military (especially Britain and the United States) for over a decade. The British were the first to use it in a combat situation (aboard warships). Chat was widely used in Iraq. The United States purposely adopted Internet technology for their battlefield and secure (encrypted, and separated from the Internet) networks so that Internet based communications software could be used. But there were problems, during the Iraq campaign, with off-the-shelf chat software. Some of the military chat rooms had hundreds of people participating, and it became obvious that there was a need for chat software that could impose the kind of organization and control needed for military operations. There was also a need for more quickly distributing information. There is already commercial software out there that meets these needs, and it's called "Groupware." One of the earliest example was Lotus Notes. But the additional power groupware provides is at the expense of ease of use. Thus the need for standard chat type software that provides additional capabilities that allow the users to get better organized and distribute data more effectively. There is a lot of special Instant Messaging (IM) software coming on the market for corporate use, and this stuff has a lot of qualities that military users require. Special Instant Messaging and Chat requirements for the military provides a splendid opportunity for software developers, but given the large number of military personnel who know how to program, it's quite possible that  solutions will come from within the Department of Defense.




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