The Focus at FOSE Is War

The displays at the FOSE technology conference show that the Department of Defense is growing more reliant on IT to improve combat capabilities.

WASHINGTON—Shes sleek and dazzling, with sparkling lights on top, luring passersby to her spot on the bustling floor of the FOSE Conference and Exhibition.

Shes not the scantily clad "spokesmodel" who occupies the typical technology trade show, however. This siren is a bright, black, shining Hummer.

The exhibition floor at this years FOSE, the annual technology fair for the federal government, is decorated with big, rugged gear, reminding attendees that we are still at war, and theres money to be made.

The Department of Defense, which had an operating budget of $430 billion last year, reports that it manages more than twice the dollar volume of the worlds largest corporation, and it carries 500 times more inventory items than Home Depot. This year, the departments IT needs are greater than ever.

The department launched the Business Transformation Agency in October to use IT to improve the war fighters capabilities. The goal of the BTA is to align business operations—such as weapons management, material supply and human resources—with war fighter needs.

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The transformation to more streamlined, enterprise-like operations affects all components of the military, said Col. Greg Brundidge, deputy director of the Operational Support Modernization Program at the Department of the Air Force.

"The opportunity is greater now than its ever been to make this meaningful," Brundidge told an audience of government employees and technology vendors on the opening day of FOSE. "This is about taking a look at the processes before looking at the IT solution."

The department plans to leverage the progress it has made in some of its business area into other areas of operations, coordinating the effort throughout all branches of the military, said Col. Luwanda Jones from the Department of the Navy.

"For the first time probably in history youre seeing all of the services talking about the enterprise," Jones said. "Im not just talking about the Army enterprise. Im talking about the Department of Defense enterprise."

The show floor at the D.C. Convention Center reflects the governments preoccupation with war.

The shiny black Hummer, parked at the booth of Meganet Corp., shows off the VME Terminator H2 bomb jammer, designed to block improvised explosive devices on the battlefield. It comes with radio, cordless analog phone, CB, walkie-talkie, cellular, television, satellite, Bluetooth and a multitude of other communications technologies.

The Hummer sits in the DoD Pavilion, which is across from the DoD Center, sponsored by Cisco Systems. The DoD Center is adorned with a gigantic American flag and warrior mannequins in gas masks rappelling down from the ceiling.

Cisco is showcasing its own rugged black truck, a Chevy Suburban with tail lights flashing orange, white and red and an orchard of antennae on its roof.

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The mobile technology vehicle houses Ciscos Continuity of Operations program. Within minutes of rolling onto an emergency scene, the vehicle links itself to the world through radio, telephone and Internet communications.

The same capabilities come in a 72-pound portable case, a tactical format for the war zone.

Consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton are conducting a simulated war game challenge to help agencies better manage their IT, while Basis Technology Corp. shows off its digital forensic products used by the military to analyze captured hard disks.

Its not all about war at this years FOSE, however. On opening day, HP rolled out a new line of scanners for capturing and sharing documents. The new scanners are faster than the old ones, and they come with customizable buttons to make workgroup tasks easier.

Other innovations unveiled at the show include mobile audio and video streaming technology for handheld devices from StreamerNet, upgraded time servers from Spectracom and the new APT BookScan 24000 from Kirtas Technologies.

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