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Obtaining More Flexible BMC3 Configurations

The main body of this report makes the important point that greater flexibility in establishing missile defense BMC3 configurations is necessary and that commercial wireless communications technology provides a critical ingredient in obtaining this flexibility. This appendix elaborates on that point by first discussing a system engineering process that would lead to greater flexibility and then providing some detail on commercial wireless communications technology.


C.1.1 Introduction

The committee is concerned that the BMC3 structures envisioned, as presented in the various briefings it received, are too rigid and do not recognize the need for flexibility and adaptability that is necessitated by the ad hoc nature of likely deployments to hostile areas. The committee is also concerned that concepts of operations were not presented and seem not to have been developed for BMC3 functions.

The committee heard repeatedly that, for most major conflicts and exercises in the last decade, the BMC3 system was jury-rigged. While this may appear the exception, it is likely to be the norm. The reason is that in the Navy (as well as the other Services) the operator and the acquisition components live in different worlds.

The operator participating in a conflict is in a fluid situation. He uses whatever resources are available. Often he does not have some resource that he might have expected and will occasionally be presented with resources or capa-

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Page 159 C Obtaining More Flexible BMC3 Configurations The main body of this report makes the important point that greater flexibility in establishing missile defense BMC3 configurations is necessary and that commercial wireless communications technology provides a critical ingredient in obtaining this flexibility. This appendix elaborates on that point by first discussing a system engineering process that would lead to greater flexibility and then providing some detail on commercial wireless communications technology. C.1 SYSTEMS ENGINEERING FOR BMC3 C.1.1 Introduction The committee is concerned that the BMC3 structures envisioned, as presented in the various briefings it received, are too rigid and do not recognize the need for flexibility and adaptability that is necessitated by the ad hoc nature of likely deployments to hostile areas. The committee is also concerned that concepts of operations were not presented and seem not to have been developed for BMC3 functions. The committee heard repeatedly that, for most major conflicts and exercises in the last decade, the BMC3 system was jury-rigged. While this may appear the exception, it is likely to be the norm. The reason is that in the Navy (as well as the other Services) the operator and the acquisition components live in different worlds. The operator participating in a conflict is in a fluid situation. He uses whatever resources are available. Often he does not have some resource that he might have expected and will occasionally be presented with resources or capa-

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Page 160 bilities that were not expected. Those unexpected resources invariably were not anticipated in the systems engineering process, from either a concept of operations viewpoint or a technical interface viewpoint. To the extent time and technical capabilities are available, the operator will find a way to accommodate these unplanned resources. This situation is even more amplified in joint operations. When the Joint CINC gathers his forces, he will attempt to piece together capabilities from the available resources. Often he will perceive an opportunity to connect complementary capabilities that were not products of common systems engineering. Acquisition people live in the world where systems engineering is constrained to encompass only those capabilities that are based on validated requirements and priorities. These requirements are usually based on a concept of operation that makes assumptions about the resources and threats that might be justified 5 to 10 years in the future. These people are further constrained by the myriad of legacy systems with which they must interoperate. There is ample justification for such a process in a world of predictable threats, understood needs, and constrained resources. However, this traditional systems engineering approach will not yield a BMC3 system that meets the Navy's needs for future theater missile defense because of uncertainties in the projections of threats and of the capabilities and technologies needed for managing TMD. The time cycles for evolution of the technology and for evolution of the threats are both inside the systems engineering cycle. Furthermore, as was previously described, for the Navy to participate effectively in theatre missile defense, it must accommodate systems outside its control. This leads to the conclusion that the Navy must plan for the system to be jury-rigged. More precisely, the Navy needs a BMC3 architecture that accommodates the introduction of unplanned resources and capabilities. This does not imply abandoning systems engineering or abandoning the requirements process. Rather it implies development of an open BMC3 systems architecture within which the systems engineering and priority setting must take place—an architecture that plans for unanticipated capabilities that will be introduced at a later time. The difference between jury-rigging and having an architecture into which new capabilities may be introduced is profound. While both require creativity, the difference is how the creativity is used. In jury-rigging, creativity is wasted in figuring out how to pass information and in solving timing differences between two systems that were designed with different architectures. In the open systems approach, the creativity is used to choose the protocols, standards, and interface definitions applied to the process of building value-added capabilities that facilitate the identification, correlation, and other BMC3 functions. C.1.2 The Importance of Architecture Much has been said about system architecture in recent years. The Defense Science Board and the individual Service advisory boards have dealt with the

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Page 161 subject. DOD has even established offices with responsibility for defining specific architectural principles and processes, such as the Open Systems Joint Task Force. In general, an architecture describes the components and their relationship to one another. These may be defined in terms of the operational architecture, the systems architecture, and the technical architecture. The Army Science Board 1994 Summer Study1 elaborated on these three architectural views as follows: Operational architecture. A description, often graphical, of the required connectivity between force elements: operations facility to weapon systems, sensors to shooters, and so on. The description defines who will communicate with whom (voice and data) and includes the type, timeliness, and frequency of the information sent between these elements. Systems architecture. A description, including graphics, of the technical characteristics and the interconnection of all parts of an information system. The description identifies all system elements (radios, telecommunication switches, computers, and so on) and specifies the bandwidth required between each element, the electrical interfaces on each element, schematics for hardware, software specifications, and so on. Technical architecture. A minimal set of rules (e.g., protocols, standards, software interface specifications) governing the arrangement, interaction, and the interdependence of the parts or elements that together may be used to form an information system. Its purpose is to ensure that a conformant system satisfies a specified set of requirements (e.g., interoperability, portability, and survivability). In each case, it is critical that the interfaces be well defined so that as components or concepts change, the amount of effort to accommodate those changes is contained. These interfaces are often bound into standards once the interfaces are sufficiently broad and tested. C.1.3 Internet Technology Fortunately, the Internet provides an example of an open system in which the protocols and interface standards have already been worked out. Not only is the technology understood and tested, but robust products are also readily available from commercial sources at affordable prices. Finally, substantial commercial investments in products will make significant bandwidth achievable in a wireless environment. 1 Army Science Board. 1995. Technical Information Architecture for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence, 1994 Summer Study, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Research, Development, and Acquisition), Washington, D.C., April.

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Page 162 It is not suggested that the Navy depend on the Internet for TMD BMC3, although it might in some future engagement exploit the Internet if it is available. It is suggested that the Navy use Internet technology—the protocols, standards, and supporting commercial products embodied in the Internet—as the basis for its BMC3. Within this architecture, the Navy can use the traditional systems engineering and requirements processes to ensure that the systems that need to participate in BMC3 are able to and those that should not participate are blocked using some combination of security technology. Clearly, Internet-based technology does not solve the BMC3 problem. It simply provides the high-bandwidth, open systems framework for value-added capabilities to be developed as nodes on the net. It provides the mechanisms for rapidly including new capabilities such as sensors, track correlation techniques, and discrimination methods to be added in a planned rather than jury-rigged fashion. It opens the door to a combination of push-and-pull techniques to be developed and tested through exercises. Use of the Internet is not foreign to Navy thinking. Indeed the Navy has a number of Internet technology efforts under way. The committee simply suggests that the Navy leverage the results of these efforts in evolving its TMD BMC3. It is also noted that the Air Force is experimenting with the Internet through its battle-space infosphere efforts, including AWACS, which means that a future TMD BMC3 using Internet technology could readily incorporate AWACS sensor data. C.1.4 The Transition Path These observations present the Navy with a dilemma. The Internet-technology-based approach is a radical departure from the legacy systems and planned improvements. The committee recognizes the enormity of the task if the Navy were to simply abandon its current systems and launch a new Internet-technology-based approach. On the other hand, the planned improvements to current systems are incremental in nature and will not position the Navy for the future TMD BMC3, which requires flexibility. In essence, it is suggested that the Navy leapfrog the current technology, which is nearing the end of its life cycle, onto an infrastructure technology that is still at the beginning of its life cycle. There is an affordable strategy that will allow the Navy to maintain legacy systems and their incremental improvements while migrating to a more open-system, Internet-technology-based solution for BMC3. It will require additional funding but in the long run will enable the Navy to achieve the kind of flexibility it needs in a much more timely and cost-effective manner. The strategy is outlined in the next section.

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Page 163 C.1.5 Build a Succession of Prototype Internet-Technology-based Infrastructures In parallel with the evolutionary improvements planned for legacy systems, begin prototyping an infrastructure based on commercially available technology. Recognize that the commercially available products used for the initial prototype will mature quickly and will need to be replaced several times before they are committed to the field. The successive prototypes can be experimented with during exercises. The Navy should fund the interfacing of legacy systems and require that all new systems interface to the prototypes so that during exercises the prototype implementation may be stressed. In this process, it is important not to let the infrastructure stray from the evolving Internet. Finally, development of BMC3 capabilities should be encouraged insofar as they add value to the prototype infrastructure and can solve problems experienced in exercises. It is important that these prototypes represent a continuously upgraded series of capabilities. Maximum advantage should be derived from experimentation and encouraging research results to be added as nodes on the net, which can be evaluated by operational forces. Efforts should be made to include the other services in these experiments. The committee fully understands that current products will not meet Navy requirements in areas such as antijam, security, and real-time performance that the Navy's legacy systems currently meet. However, the technology is moving so rapidly that the committee expects some of those requirements to be exceeded within 3 to 5 years. The Navy can invest in the military-unique requirements that will not be satisfied by commercial technology. This approach will allow the Navy to significantly reduce the lifetime of the legacy systems and avoid the predictably high cost of ownership. C.1.6 Continue to Evolve Legacy Systems Incrementally As previously described, the JTIDS/Link 16 approach is a bandwidth limited, rapidly obsolescing technology that will impede future operational flexibility. There are a variety of planned improvements that may make it somewhat more effective, and these should be continued as planned. However, at each stage, the Navy should evaluate the utility and cost of the improvements against the evolving capability provided by the Internet technology prototyping. The goal should be to use JTIDS/Link 16 when nothing better is available but to wean the BMC3 system from depending on it. CEC is an excellent implementation of the philosophical approach advocated by the committee in that it seeks to accommodate distributed sensors. It provides the basis for the current self-defense capabilities and gives the Navy some area defense capability. It is, however, a closed-loop system that will not provide the long-term capabilities needed for a more complete TMD BMC3.

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Page 164 The Navy should continue the approach without locking itself into the protocols and standards imposed. C.1.7 Maintain Parallel Paths Until the TransitionIs Complete This approach means pursuing a dual path for some time. By requiring that all new system capabilities interface to the prototype, the Navy will ensure its ability to transition gracefully to the Internet technology at the earliest possible point and avoid long-term legacy costs. C.2 WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY C.2.1 Current and Near-future Commercial Trends The overall BMC3 problem is a tangle of many technical subproblems. These include agreement on the identity of objects in the battle space, the deconfliction of airspace on an as-needed basis in real time, the assignment of sensors in response to changing conditions, decisions concerning which interceptor or interceptors should aim for which incoming missiles, and so forth. These are difficult problems and historically they have been further compounded by the great scarcity of communications bandwidth between platforms in the battle space and the need for assured tactical data distribution over relatively poor radio channels between these platforms. Thus for many years tactical information systems have grappled with the extremely difficult “subject matter” problems of BMC3 within the additional, and very severe, constraints imposed by issues of tactical radios and their meager bandwidth. The “subject matter” problems of BMC3 remain very difficult. However, the very rapid rise of new commercial technologies in wireless communications, and particularly in wireless Internet communications, brings a brand new opportunity to disentangle these “subject matter” problems from the rather distinct problems of radio connectivity and communications channels. Put briefly, the wireless communications world is at present moving very quickly from an economics of scarcity to one of abundance. The Navy should move quickly to capitalize on this new opportunity, because it will allow the partitioning of the almost intractable BMC3 problem into two easier subproblems—information processing (“subject matter”) and connectivity (“radios”)—and will, for the near-term future, reduce the basic connectivity issue to one that admits a relatively straightforward solution. Thus the Navy will be able to concentrate more on the information processing aspects, which are the harder aspects, in an environment that is relatively unconstrained in its use of wireless communications bandwidth between distributed platforms. This is an enormous change from the situation just a few years ago. Detailed market estimates for wireless Internet access are not available to the committee, but Killen & Associ-

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Page 165 ates forecast a 71 percent compound annual growth rate for this market, from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $19.2 billion in 2002. To put a less-speculative dollar figure on the commercial interest in wireless Internet communications, the most recent auction of radio-frequency (RF) spectrum rights in the United Kingdom brought in more than $30 billion and one in Germany brought in $45 billion.2 That is, telecommunications service providers have recently spent a total of $75 billion to acquire rights to use certain regions of the RF spectrum within the United Kingdom and Germany. They will, of course, spend large additional sums on equipment and real-estate leases to build the infrastructure they need to provide wireless Internet connectivity. Bidding for spectrum rights in other countries is expected to be just as expensive.3 It is safe to say that there is enormous commercial interest in wireless Internet services and that it will be difficult for the Navy to match the investments that are currently being made in the commercial arena. Fortunately it does not have to; on the contrary, it can leverage them for its own uses. Whether these commercial advances in wireless Internet technology have any relevance for the Navy and its tactical systems is considered next. As will be seen, they certainly are highly relevant and promise great utility for the Navy's tactical information systems. Perhaps the best way to approach the Navy's specific needs for wireless communications is to give a brief recap of its technical requirements, mapping each of the requirements onto the current commercial technology. When the wireless medium is thought of as a communications service that allows tactical platforms to communicate with one another, it is clear that four key technical issues must be addressed: Quality of service (QOS), Bandwidth, Flexibility, and Military-specific characteristics. The remainder of this section describes each of these issues briefly and shows that the first two are extremely important in the commercial telecommunications industry: they are currently receiving very substantial investments and 2 For auction information, see Broadband Fixed Wireless Access Spectrum Auction Site of the Radiocommunications Agency, United Kingdom, at <>, and (2) Xinhua News Agency, 2000, “Roundup: Mobile Commerce Emerging as New Business Trend,” Special Editions, Northern Light Technology, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., September 9, available online at <>. 3 Indeed, these auctions raise issues in their own right for the Navy. As it happens, JTIDS radios currently occupy a highly desirable swath of RF spectrum. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the DOD would lose access to this spectrum if it were auctioned off to the highest commercial bidders.

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Page 166 indeed are already being deployed in a major way. The third issue, flexibility, is receiving attention in the commercial world but is by no means perfect. The fourth issue includes all the military-specific problems in wireless communications (antijam is an example) and so will require military investment, as has historically been the case. The really good news, however, is that the two most difficult problems—QOS and bandwidth—have been tackled with great vigor in the commercial world, and the Navy's tactical communications can be the beneficiary. C.2.2 Quality of Service QOS is most readily understood in terms of specific services that must be provided with high degrees of reliability. In general, tactical uses for QOS demand high availability, low-loss and low-delay bounds, and often have military precedence or priority. It is interesting to note that commercial demand for voice over Internet Protocol (IP) led in the past year to readily available technology for this capability. The extent of this revolution is perhaps not yet apparent outside the telecommunications industry, but it is indeed remarkable. Every major telecommunications company is deploying a voice over IP infrastructure as its next-generation telephony system. As has been widely reported in the press, AT&T has ceased buying conventional circuit switches. AT&T's chairman, Michael Armstrong, has expressed the company's telephony plans very succinctly: “For AT&T, it's IP.” 4 Equipment vendors are similarly committed to voice over IP. The list of such vendors includes all major manufacturers of telephony equipment (Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Nortel, and so on), all major manufacturers of computer and data networking equipment (Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, Sun, 3Com, and so on), and all major component manufacturers (Intel, Texas Instruments, and so on). All these companies have QOS-enabled Internet products currently available for sale. Frost & Sullivan's estimates show voice over IP telephony services bringing in about $1 billion in 2000 and rising to more than $90 billion by 2006. Voice over IP equipment sales are expected to accelerate at a similar rate. Although it may not be immediately apparent to anyone outside the telecommunications industry, the near-term future of QOS networks is now perfectly clear. Current industry effort is tightly focused on building out all the standards-based Internet protocols that will be required for full voice over IP service and on creating both equipment and systems of “five 9's” (0.99999 availability and capability) robust- 4 Armstrong, C. Michael, Chairman and CEO, AT&T Corporation, “Plain Talk about the Future,” remarks delivered to the meeting “Internet World” in New York, October 8, 1998. Available online at <>.

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Page 167 ness so that they can be brought into full service as soon as possible. The next-generation, voice over IP-based global telephone system is now well into its deployment phase all over the world.5 The committee submits, therefore, that the Navy will have little or no trouble acquiring Internet-based communications equipment that provides QOS guarantees sufficient for the tactical tasks at hand—namely, high availability, low loss, low delay, and prioritized traffic. C.2.3 Wireless Bandwidth Contemporary wireless technology can provide orders-of-magnitude improvements in throughput over today's tactical radio systems. But this is only half the story. More important is that wireless data communication is an extremely “hot” area and that the technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, indeed, at Internet speeds. Just as is seen with fiber-optic transmission and switching technology, it is highly likely that data rates provided across wireless channels will grow geometrically over the near term in response to Internet demand. RF channels, of course, provide nothing like the potential bandwidth of fiber, and so wireless speeds will probably never come close to those available across fiber, but even the existing wireless technology can provide major advantages for the Navy. The commercial wireless world is extremely fragmented, so it is impossible to provide a comprehensive overview of the field. Instead, three representative, wide-area systems are concentrated on here. Each occupies a very different point in the technology space and so the systems are quite different, with each being built by a major equipment vendor. The intent here is to show that the Navy already has a rather broad set of high-speed wireless technologies that it could choose from, if it so wished, and that each of these technologies is currently backed by a large and reputable manufacturer.6 Qualcomm high-data-rate technology. This evolutionary advance in code division multiple access cellular technology provides air link speeds of up to 2.4 Mbps in a 1.25-MHz channel. It is an Internet-based technology that can be 5 As one concrete example, Genuity reports that it was delivering over 100 million minutes of use per month in August 2000 on a QOS-enabled VOIP network that could at that time handle 80,000 concurrent phone calls. 6 Manufacturer-supplied details for these systems may be found at the following Web sites: QUAL-COMM Incorporated (San Diego, Calif.), High Data Rate System (HDR), <>; Cisco Systems, Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), WT-2700 Broadband System, <>; and Terabeam (Seattle, Wash.), Fiberless Optical System, <>.

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Page 168 embedded in handsets, laptops, notebooks, and many other sorts of fixed or mobile devices. Cisco WT2700 Suite. This is a point-to-point, non-line-of-sight microwave radio system that provides speeds of up to 44 Mbps full duplex at ranges up to 30 miles within channel bandwidths of up to 12 MHz at about 2.5 GHz. It employs advanced modulation techniques such as vector orthogonal frequency division multiplexing and spatial and frequency diversity to take advantage of multipath signal reflections. Terabeam free-space optical technology. Terabeam is a Lucent-funded $550 million venture that provides a high-speed (up to 1,000 Mbps) Internet service across 1,550-nanometer free-space optical links arranged into small hub-and-spoke cells. As is typical with optical solutions, the links can be very adversely affected by weather and indeed blocked altogether. However, field trials apparently indicate that reliable service may be possible at distances up to 1 km, even in cities such as Seattle. Of course it could well be that none of the new technologies listed above turn out to be precisely suitable for the Navy's BMC3 wireless connectivity. However, they are all indicative of the technological revolution that is roiling the commercial wireless community. Going further, it seems highly likely to the committee that the Navy could benefit very significantly from applying some of this new technology to meet its wireless connectivity needs. In general, contemporary wireless technology provides very high bandwidth in an open, readily adaptable, standards-based package. C.2.4 Flexibility With respect to flexibility, the commercial technology beats military systems hands down. Military radio systems, such as JTIDS (Link 16), are notorious for the extraordinarily detailed and voluminous planning that is required before they can be used. Entire staffs are devoted to planning tactical networks, and these plans often take months to prepare. This is a key weakness of such systems. It is so difficult to prepare radio plans that tactical operations may indeed suffer because the radio networks cannot be properly replanned fast enough to meet an evolving situation. The situation is very different for commercial wireless technologies. Although certain types of wireless systems are indeed quite hard to plan—cellular base station planning comes to mind as an obvious example—most of the commercial technologies are designed so that they can be set up and brought into use almost immediately, by operators with relatively little specialized knowledge. Cellular phones are one case in point; when a subscriber acquires a cell phone, it is mandatory that this new, uninitialized phone be brought into the cellular provider's network as quickly and easily as possible. Point-to-point radio links are

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Page 169 another case in point. Here the goal is to allow untrained purchasers to set up their own radio links within minutes after opening the packing cartons. It is understood that the military operates under a number of restrictions on its use of RF spectrum and that these restrictions can complicate the planning and deployment of wireless networks. It is important to realize, though, that the commercial world operates under restrictions nearly as onerous. A great many of the Navy's planning and configuration problems are simply self-imposed (e.g., time-slot planning for JTIDS networks), and one can reasonably expect that commercial technology would be far simpler and more flexible than that of existing tactical radio systems. C.2.5 Military-specific Characteristics Last but not least, a tactical communications system imposes certain requirements that are either unique to the military or far more stringent than their commercial analogs. Obvious examples include the ability to continue functioning in the presence of jamming (antijam) and low probabilities of interception or detection. In general, commercial equipment is engineered without significant effort in these areas and hence cannot be directly employed in adverse tactical environments. On the other hand, some types of commercial wireless equipment inherently provide certain capabilities in this area, almost by accident as it were. For instance, point-to-point, free-air communications—and in particular optical links—are generally somewhat difficult to jam, unless by interposed obscurants, because they are highly directional. Similarly, commercial spread-spectrum systems offer a modest degree of protection against jamming and indeed somewhat lower the probabilities of detection or interception. It is conceivable that these levels of protection may prove adequate in some tactical scenarios. By and large, though, unmodified commercial technology is not suitable for tactical uses. Perhaps surprisingly, commercial equipment performs particularly well in encryption and information assurance. Many vendors can supply wireless equipment that supports both link encryption and end-to-end data encryption. The commercially supplied encryption mechanisms are in general reasonably good and can often be readily replaced or augmented with military-grade encryption mechanisms as needed. On the whole, then, the Navy should expect to devote resources to satisfying the purely military needs in wireless communications. However, existing commercial equipment often provides an excellent starting point for these modifications. In general, the Navy would be best served by adapting current state-of-the-art commercial wireless equipment to meet its tactical needs rather than engineering entirely new systems.