Phones and other smart devices are being tested across all branches of the military. Seeing an opportunity, software firms and defense contractors are developing apps that will enable soldiers to pass along intelligence, view reconnaissance images or even pilot small drones by remote control.
Marine Capt. Jim Carlson uses an iPad while sitting in his Super Cobra attack helicopter at Camp Pendleton. The use of this and other smart devices is raising cyber-security concerns among military strategists.
(Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times / September 26, 2011)
As a Cobra attack helicopter pilot, Marine Capt. Jim "Hottie" Carlson was running support missions above Afghanistan last summer when it occurred to him that it was taking far too long to find where U.S. troops were under attack.
"Do you have any idea how long it takes to find the right map, unfold it, and find where you're going? It's agonizing," he said.
Frustrated that he had to flip through dozens of maps stuffed inside his chopper, Carlson, 31, loaded the documents onto his personal iPad, enabling him to zoom in, zoom out and quickly move from one map to another.
Carlson's brainstorm shortened the time it took to pinpoint a location from "three minutes to about 30 seconds," he recalled recently, and it soon helped change the way the military is thinking about warfare. The Marines now have more than 30 iPads in cockpits across their fleet of helicopters and fighter jets.
For soldiers in the 21st century, iPads, iPhones, Androids and other smart devices could eventually be as common on the battlefield as helmets, canteens and rifles.
These devices are being tested across all branches of the military. Seeing an opportunity, software companies and defense contractors are developing mobile applications that will enable soldiers to pass along intelligence, view reconnaissance images or even pilot small drones by remote control.
This high-tech hand-held revolution, of course, opens the military up to the same problems that everybody else with a smart device faces — security threats and concerns about dropped service. There are concerns among military strategists about passing military secrets on a device that can easily be hacked.
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