long-reach communications to the tactical radios

from the fiber-optic cores of military networks to the satellite systems that provide long-reach communications to the tactical radios carried by soldiers on the battlefield. Some of these requirements are fulfilled via commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products

In addition to emphasizing the impact of U.S. communications research on C4I (i.e., command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence2), it is also important to briefly note the relevance to C4I of the engineering disciplines. Much of the basic mathematics that underlies telecommunications engineering is also relevant to command and control systems. Almost any computing device depends heavily on communications technology, both internally to communicate between subelements of the computer and externally to communicate with other devices. And the field of intelligence is replete with examples of reliance on telecommunications. Hence, telecommunications research is significant for and integral to the capability and capacity of many aspects of the overall defense system.

A strong U.S. telecommunications research capability is also important for several indirect reasons related to defense and homeland security: Skill base of engineering talent: education and training. To solve the specialized communications issues in C4I requires that the United States have the best telecommunications engineers in the world, which in turn requires that a vibrant commercial industry be maintained. Otherwise, the best engineers will migrate to countries that have protected or low-cost businesses, and ultimately U.S. security will be put at risk.

Delivery capability of government suppliers. Because meeting military requirements depends on fundamental understanding of very-high-speed optical networks, satellite communications, and support of mobility in the battlefield, it is not sufficient to have a cadre of educated and trained individuals. Corporate environments must also be available in which such individuals are trained to work together in teams on system-level designs, and to take an interdisciplinary approach.

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