The New York Times says Pentagon is going to spend nearly $200 billion on a mostly private network which will provide real time information and imagery to soldiers in the battlefield using satellites and other technologies. Peter Teets, under secretary of the Air Force calls it the “Internet in the sky.” It is interesting to note, that the word Internet has replaced “private networks” like GiG and also in describing voice over internet protocol.
The Pentagon calls the secure network the Global Information Grid, or GIG. Conceived six years ago, its first connections were laid six weeks ago. It may take two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars to build the new war net and its components.
With so much spending at stake, many wonder if it might not be another Stars Wars kind of pie-in-the-sky scheme, obsolete when its ready to be deployed. In the past, Pentagon build a Worldwide Military Command and Control System in the 1960’s, but that system often did not work in times of trouble. Its successor Milstar that cost $25 billion, was completed in 2003 after two decades of work.
Pentagon officials say it is already outdated: more switchboard than server, more dial-up than broadband, it cannot support 21st-century technology.