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Defence Forces

Armed with ICT Anyone who watches what is going on in tech should not be surprised by the fact that defence forces around the world are racing to keep up with the blazing pace of ICT advances Anoop Verma, Elets News Network (ENN)

T

he top new military trend is one that is known for its economy of scale. It consists of systems that are packed with cutting edge innovations from ICT, and are smaller, remote-controlled and brimful of intelligence. This is indeed, a new era. The era of rather small and unmanned drones. The Indian Air Force is currently flying the Israeli-made Searcher II and Heron for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. About 100 Searchers are in operation on Indian borders in western, northern and eastern regions. According to a senior IAF official, “IAF is ready to induct more drones in view of their capability of using high-technology to perform specific tasks on the borders.” The ICT technology being used in modern drones has come so far that basic computer knowledge is no longer essential for remotely flying an UAV. In many cases, military personnel are able to control the drones and direct their deadly payload from thousands of miles away by using just a mouse, joystick and ergonomic pad. “ICT is the single most important factor for the success of military operations in air, ground or water. Access to real-time, authentic and secure information is necessary for enabling the military commander to take the most crucial decisions. In net-centric

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2012

world, commanders at all levels must be integrated through ICT so that they can have a common picture of the operation being carried out,” says Major General R C Padhi.

Drones – hi-tech and deadly A wide array of drones are being manufactured by the Israeli defence establishment, including one of world’s largest and most technologically advanced drones, the Heron TP Eitan, which costs an estimated $35 million. With a wingspan of 26 meters (85 ft.), the Heron TP Eitan is of the size of a Boeing 737 passenger jet and can reach an altitude of 12,000 meters. But the biggest manufacturer and user of high-tech drones is the United States. A recently released Congressional report states that drones now account for more than 31 percent of all military craft in USA. This means that one in three aircrafts in USA are drones. We can only imagine the kind of cutting edge ICT that goes into these drones. The technology is a classified secret. Equipped with sensors and micro-cameras to detect enemies, nuclear weapons or victims in rubble, these remotely piloted drones are capable of transmitting live video, audio and other data from hostile territory in all kinds of weather conditions, they are also capable shooting at targets with flawless accuracy. Military technicians sitting in the other side

of the world can control the Predator drones by using a computer and a joystick. Only two miles from the cow pasture in Ohio, where the Wright Brothers learned to fly, there is the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There researchers are working at a project on miniature unmanned drones, which are of the size of insects and birds, but are capable of spying and even firing missiles from air. These miniature drones are inspired by nature, in the sense that they replicate the flight mechanics of different insects and birds. Some of the drones even look like the inhabitants of the natural world. For good reason, the base’s indoor flight lab is called “micro-aviary.” The micro-aviary is equipped with 60 motion-capture cameras to track every movement made by the tiny robots. The drones themselves are programmed by a computer to fly and they can execute all kinds of acrobatics in the air. The rapid miniaturisation of the aerial drones due to new advancements in IT technologies is transforming the way we address our security related concerns and fight wars. Presently we are having drones that can loiter in the sky for more than 24 hours and provide real-time all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance over entire cities. The California based AeroVironment Inc. had unveiled the hummingbird drone in February this year.


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Developed by the California based AeroVironment Inc. the remote-controlled hummingbird plane is inspired by biology — such as the hummingbird — and is equipped with video and audio equipment that can record sights and sounds. Such devices can be used for spying purposes and also for attacking remotely located targets

March 2012 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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ICT for security & surveillance Give us an overview of the role that

advance detection of intrusion even

Computers, and Intelligence) projects

Nelco is playing in the

before the fence.

over the last decade.

Nelco serves the Indian defence

Tells us about your perimeter

Tell us about the work that you are

sector in key areas of integrated

security and surveillance solutions.

doing in the satellite communica-

security and surveillance, and in

We have also implemented high

tions solutions sector.

satellite communication. Nelco

tech ICT project involving Integrated

Nelco acted as an implementation

started with providing Multi Sensor

Perimeter Security, CCTV Surveil-

partner in Satcom projects in 2010,

Intruder Detector Systems, including

lance and Access monitoring & Fire

which provides satellite based

High Voltage Electric fencing, along

alarm systems for DGOS. The project

connectivity to 179 Indian Air Force

What are your plans for the future?

with intrusion detection system,

involved 5 locations spanning across

user establishments. The company

We continue to pursue specific

covering a length of 160 Kms, along

three states. This integrated supply of

has also handled niche projects

niche areas in high tech perimeter

the North West Indian border. We

17 different systems has connectivity

like implementation of Integrated

security systems, mobile VSAT com-

are now looking at providing next

on a single OFC (optic fibre cabling)

Weather Monitoring Systems at Air

munication systems (COTM) and

generation solutions in fencing,

network for monitoring and central-

Force Base Stations and Integration

computerised command control

which includes non-intrusive infrared

ised Command & Control centre. Our

of high power Electronics Warfare

systems. We also make efforts in

and unattended ground sensors

engineering teams have now gained

(EW) equipment into EMI shelters &

educating our defence agencies

(UGS) that send alerts to computer-

strong expertise in implementing

mobile platforms for one of our OEM

in the art of applying latest ICT

ised command control systems for

C3i & C4i (Control, Communications,

partners.

technologies.

defence sector.

Major General R C Padhi Additional Surveyor General, Surveyor General’s Office

“The country must start focussing on having indigenous war equipments. Import of weapons is an expensive proposition. At times it is difficult to manage the upgrades of high technology imported systems” 10

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2012

This drone can fly at 11 miles per hour; it can hover and perch on a windowsill. However, the bird is still a prototype. Mostly operators use radio-controlled devices to control such small drones. But newer systems are being developed that can be controlled through commands send by tablet computers. It has been in the reports that India is developing solar-powered spy drones, which can cruise in the sky for several days at a time. Once they become operation these high-altitude, long endurance (HALE) solar-powered UAV will provide a cost-effective and flexible 24x7 ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) platform. These HALE drones can easily be compared to a satellite that orbits closer to the ground. “Solar efficiency is low but we are looking at a payload of around 50 kg (sensors, cameras etc). We will seek some collaboration from either US or European companies,” says Dr Prahlada, DRDO’s chief controller R&D (aeronautics). Last year the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared an Rs 1,500 crore DRDO project to develop the Rustom-H MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) drone. Being developed for the three services, Indian Army, Indian Navy and the

P J Nath CEO, Nelco Ltd. spoke to eGov on the role that Nelco, a TATA Group company, is playing in Indian defence sector

Indian Air Force, the Rustom is capable of operating for 24 hours with a 350 kg payload. Its first flight is expected to take place in 2013. Once it becomes operational, the Rustom will replace or supplement the Heron UAVs, which are currently in service with the Indian Air Force. Then there is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) called DRDO Nishant, which is meant to carry electrooptical, electronic intelligence and communication intelligence payloads. Nishant has already been developed and is currently undergoing field-testing. Once it becomes operation, Nishant will be used for intelligence gathering over enemy territory and also for recon, training, surveillance, target designation, artillery fire correction and damage assessment.

Ground based defence and offence Recently NIIT Technologies Ltd. implemented ‘Intranet Prahari Project’ for Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. This project enables BSF personnel in 237 locations to access their personal data from wherever they are posted. Under this project state-of-the-art data centres have been established; the Main Data Centre; a Disaster Recovery Data Centre (in a different


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March 2012 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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seismic zone) and Mini Data Centres at Frontier HQrs for data storage. Sufficient cyber security measures to ensure network security and to prevent data loss or pilferage have been incorporated. Network connectivity has been extended to brigade level. Regarding the safety features installed in the Data Centres built for the Intranet Prahari Project, Venkat Patnaik says, “The systems are based in structures with state of the art Building Management System including fire alarm and extinguishing capability. There are CCTV cameras, bio-metric access control, Intrusion Prevention System, multiple firewalls, Central Anti-Virus deployment. Additionally there is MAC based authentication of desktops/laptops connecting into the network. Also there is closed network with no internet browsing/ external email.” KPM Das, Vice President, National Security and Defence, Cisco Systems says, “Convergence is here and now- networks carry voice, video and data with equal assurance. Combat signalers design, and build tactical networks to enable mobility – the network components are on the move, so are the platforms like battle tanks and ICVs and so are the soldiers with tablets and hand-held devices. This three-fold challenge is met by engineering architectures based on IP and use of protocols which are hardened for the battlefield conditions of impairment and disruption. Corps of Signals, around the world, has to be a step ahead of the general staff and commanders in ensuring that paradigms stay current and enable tactical-doctrinal shifts.” Surely the evidence of cutting edge ICT is not confined only to aerial tools. Even the groundbased systems are incorporated with the best from the world of ICT. Platforms for conducting land-based battles, the heavy battle tank (MBT), infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), tactical vehicle, etc. are carry all kinds of hardware and software to enable night vision, navigation in all kinds of terrain, communication, remote sensing and accurately aiming at distant targets. In water we have ships such as patrol craft, corvette, frigate, destroyer, multi-purposes support ship, and aircraft carrier. The radars that are used by military for detecting intrusions on land, sea and air are basically software based devices. Lt Gen AKS Chandele, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Former Director General EME, says, “Effective utilisation of the electromagnetic spectrum and denial of the same to the adversary would be the centre of gravity in future warfare. Along with other cyber security mea-

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2012

Venkat Patnaik Senior Vice President & Head India Govt. Business, NIIT Technologies

“Intranet Prahari Project will bring a culture of electronic exchange of information through emails, e-notesheets, etc. It will reduce workload of paperwork and free up manpower for field operations” sures, cyber warfare will include ICT based early warning systems for real time detection of enemy’s intrusions and their neutralization.” All modern militaries make use of some kind of Battlefield Management System (BMS), which is the software that lets top military leaders plan their strategies. Sections, platoons, companies, regiments, brigades, divisions, as well as corps make use of communication technology that is in some cases far more advanced than what is available for civilian use. The telecommunications equipment and the electronic countermeasures equipment are again softwarebased tools. These tools are used to develop seamless linkages between sensors, weapon Lt Gen AKS Chandele PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Former Director General EME

“We are in the Information Age and the future combat space will be the electronic battlefield. Information dominance over the adversary is of critical importance”

systems, commanders and their personnel in a networked environment. The power and the efficiency of the force is enhanced, as networking leads to new cohesion between maritime, land, aerospace and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) domains. Lt Gen AKS Chandele adds, “Battlefield management is becoming network centric, with sensors, shooters and command and control systems being linked. Military relies on ICT to coordinate their forces and control their weapon systems. However, the battlefield will always remain people centric, since beyond the network is ultimately the human being.” The transformation that ICT has made in the field of battle is glaringly obvious. Once the defence forces used to be armed with so called “dumb bombs,” which being bereft of intelligent software were completely incapable of accurately choosing or selecting targets. They could not differentiate between high-value targets and the unimportant ones. So the collateral damage on usage of dumb bombs would be fairly high. With ICT powered weaponry, the defence establishments around the world have a way of ensuring that there is minimum collateral damage. Instead of steel, microchips have started symbolising the new sinews of war. The defence industry has for many years been producing surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles that can adjust their trajectory while speeding towards an enemy target. While there are remotely controlled missiles and drones in the air, on the ground there are unmanned armoured vehicles. Cutting edge ICT is being used to develop deep sea mines that can identify a ship by analysing the vibration caused by the ship’s hull. This means that the mine will have no difficulty in differentiating between a military and a civilian target. The Ministry of


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Pratik Chube Country GM - Products & Marketing, Emerson Network Power

Secrecy in Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) were merged with CAIR. Today CAIR is regarded as the premier laboratory for R&D in different areas in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as applicable to defence. Out of 300 personnel employed in the organisation 150 are well qualified scientists. During more than two decades of its existence, CAIR has developed a number of Information Systems, Communication Systems and Security Solutions. The organisation is also being credited with doing quality R&D work in Intelligent Systems technologies.

Ground based robots

“Security remains the biggest concern for our online systems. Virtualisation has added extra security capabilities to the data centres, owned by defence departments or civilian sectors, in the form of closer management of virtual systems” Defence, in India, established Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) in Oct 1986. During the initial years, the research focus of this organisation was in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, and Control systems. In November 2000, R & D groups working in the areas of Command Control Communication and Intelligence (C3I) systems, Communication and Networking, and Communication

A document from Department of Defence in USA states that by 2030, up to a third of the fighting force in USA would comprise of robots. The Virginia based, Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has started testing a quadruped robot that can traverse all sorts of terrain and act as a pack mule for soldiers. Known as Legged Squad Support System (LS3), this semi-autonomous robot is developed from

Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog and Alpha Dog robots. Packed with advanced sensory systems, for vision and sound, the LS3 prototype is fully capable of distinguishing between trees, rocks, soldiers, and other obstacles. The LS3 is still going through a testing phase; ultimately it must be able to carry 400lbs for 20 miles without refuelling within 24 hours. The system can also serve as an auxiliary power source that soldiers can use to recharge batteries for handheld devices. As the LS3 shows, the design of the military robots is not necessarily human-looking. Basically, their design element is based on the kind of tasks that they are expected to perform. Advanced armies are already using robots that are equipped with radar vision and supersensitive sensors and can handle broader range of tasks, ranging from picking off snipers to serving as indefatigable night sentries. Nothing can escape detection from an unblinking digital eye. The Israeli army has been using robots for assisting troops in combat for tasks such as surveillance, reconnaissance, anti-mine and anti-IED role, urban area combat, casualty extraction etc. Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and Long Distance Tele-Operation (LDTO) robots can be controlled through the secure Internet connection or even by cellular signals. They serve the purpose of keeping soldiers out of harm’s way. The CEO of iRobot, Colin Angle, says, “One of the great arguments for armed robots is they don’t panic under fire.” In some quarters fears have been expressed about robots taking over. But Colin Angle finds such fears to be completely unfounded. “There is no question of robots taking over,” Colin Angle says. “People taking robot and sensing technology and incorporating them into their own bodies is much more imminent.” ICT is also leading to seminal improvements in the performance of soldiers. Soldiers

Dr Gulshan Rai Director General, Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-In)

“CERT-In’s mandate includes the collection of information pertaining to cyber incidents, issue vulnerability notes, advisories, white papers and the analysis of those incidents” March 2012 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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are equipped with high tech communication equipment and sensors that allows them to keep track of large areas in the battlefield. Even the Internet was first developed with a military objective in mind. The grandfather of today’s Internet, the ARPAnet, came into life in 1969. Funded by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the United States Department of Defence, the network was initially meant for defence related projects at universities and research laboratories in the USA. ARPA stands for the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is a branch of the military that developed top-secret systems and weapons during the Cold War. Finally the Internet evolved out of the ARPAnet and today we are having the Twitter and Facebook revolution. The Internet could only happen because four major innovations happened under the ARPAnet. These were: in 1971, the system of email or electronic mail got developed; in 1972, the telnet, a remote connection service for controlling a computer came into being; in 1973, the file transfer protocol (FTP), which allows information to be sent from one computer to another in bulk, was developed. The ARPAnet is just one example of how military technology has transmogrified into something that has proved to be seminally beneficial for the world. Many other modern tools from ICT that we are using in civilian space today were first developed for military purposes. “The period of the world wars is replete with examples of technologies being first developed for military and then being put to civilian use as well. Military technology has always been transferred for civilian uses where possible.

Nitin Walia Director, Xgen Plus

Strategies for cyber warfare

“The threat of cyber terrorism is haunting the world. The Internet of the year 2012 has become so diversified that it now dominates terror circles. These groups will continue to use the internet as a prime medium for recruitment and communication” ARPANET of DARPA morphed into the internet. Composites used in tanks etc. are now used in utensils. Similarly, today’s cutting edge technology such as recognition systems can be used in home security systems in future. Navigation systems in aircraft can give direction to

The Raven b Small Unmanned Aircraft system

Developed by California

sance intelligence. The Raven

drone is hand-launched. Its

based AeroVironment Inc.

B can be operated manually or

advanced sensors are capable

the Raven B system is a

programmed for autonomous

of providing aerial observation,

lightweight solution designed

operations.

day or night, at line-of-sight

for rapid deployment and high

14

The drone comes with

ranges of up to 10 kilometres.

mobility for both military and

advanced avionics and precise

The ground control and the

commercial applications. The

GPS navigation system. With

remote viewing stations have

system requires low-altitude

a wingspan of 4.5 feet and

access to real-time colour or

surveillance and reconnais-

a weight of 4.2 pounds, the

infrared imagery.

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2012

GPS used in civilian fields, including in cars. Such possibilities are endless,” says Lt Gen AKS Chandele, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Former Director General EME.

“Security of information is non-negotiable. Hardware systems like desktop, laptop, PDA and hand held systems in use have to undergo security checks before it is commissioned for defence related activities. The systems are integrated into secured defence communication network for all types of communication,” says Major General R C Padhi. Defence forces have to pay lot of attention to securing their data. On the issue of using handheld devices in defence forces, General Ajay Chandele says, “ICT services must move to handheld devices from desktops. Security protocols need to be re-worked for the revised environments. There are security protocols for hand held data. If banks can manage confidential data on handhelds/mobiles, there is no reason defence forces can’t. As ICT systems will proliferate, handheld devices are the future. For example, even the F-INSAS (Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System) will require handheld ICT devices for individual soldiers.” In the conflicts of 21st century, computer specialists may become central. Cyber warfare is a growing threat and militaries around the world are racing to recruit computer specialists. For military strategists, the idea of cyber warfare is particularly dispiriting. This is the kind of warfare where the enemy has all the tactical advantages. He has the advantage of stealth, of anonymity and of unpredictability. In many cases, the defence establishments find it difficult to pinpoint the nation or area from which the attack has originated. When the location from which the attack has originated is not known, it becomes impossible to develop an effective strategy for deterring further damage by the threat of retaliation. Even if the location becomes known, the targeted nation might not have the legal or moral authority to respond, as it can never be conclusively proved if the cyber attack was a case of vandalism, of commercial theft or an effort to cripple a nation before launching a conventional war. “The threat of cyber terrorism is something that has been haunting not only India but the rest of the world too. The Internet of the year 2012 has become so diversified that it now dominates terror circles. These groups will continue to use the internet as a prime medium for recruitment and communication. The security


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microsoft advertorial page - 15

March 2012 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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DRDO daksh A creation of Defence

robot on wheels is to recover

has a high-calibre shotgun,

Research and Development

improvised explosive devices

with which can it can take

Organisation (DRDO), Daksh

(IEDs).

out targets, or break open

The IEDs get located

locked doors. Its high-calibre

remotely controlled robot

by Daksh’s X-ray vision.

sensors can be used to scan

used for locating, handling

Once the target has been

cars for explosives.

and destroying hazardous

identified, the robot picks it

objects safely. The primary

up using gripper arm before

cases, negotiate steep slopes,

function of this battery

finally diffusing them with a

navigate narrow corridors

powered remotely controlled

jet of water. The robot also

and tow vehicles.

is an electrically powered and

Daksh can climb stair-

agencies have to upgrade their defences to prevent such groups from dominating the web,” Nitin Walia, Director, Xgen Plus Technologies. The advent of the ICT age has given us the new domain of cyberspace and transformed how individuals, businesses and governments interact, but the tools from ICT can also be misused to launch cyber attacks on organisations and even on nations. The Cyberspace essentially comprises of the networks, computers, software, hardware, servers, and other devices including cell phones, tablets, radios, etc. By 2020 there are going to be more than 3 billion net users, maximum growth is expected in India and China. With such a large section of the global population conducting the business of their life in the cyber arena, there is bound to be an increase in vulnerabilities. Few months ago, Google had reported

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2012

that its services had been targeted in an attack that originated from China. Later on Washington had moved in to classify that attack as an act of war. ‘’The fact of the matter,’’ a senior intelligence official in India says, ‘’is that unless Google had told the world about the attack on it and other companies, we probably never would have seen it. Many such attacks go unreported. Our economy, our government and our civil society is constantly being threatened by those who seek to disrupt the free flow of information. It is really scary.’’ When the Stuxnet worm first made its appearance, the world’s top software-security experts were panicked. This drone-like computer virus was radically different from and far more sophisticated than any that the world had seen. Till today there is not enough clarity about the Stuxnet payload, and the entities that were behind it. But according to some reports the Stuxnet worm appears to have attacked Iran’s nuclear programme. The worm was probably built by an advanced attacker with plentiful resources. The attacker could be a nation-state. The purpose of the Stuxnet was not espionage, it was built for sabotage. There have been many instances in the past, when sensitive installations in India have come under cyber attack. “Today’s threat landscape has changed and point protection solutions may not be sufficient to secure from these complex attacks,” says Samir Sayed, Vice PresidentSales, AGC Networks Ltd. Operational since 2004, CERT-In is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security related incidents as and when they occur. Dr Gulshan Rai, Director General, Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-In), says, “CERT-In draws its mandate from Section 70 (B) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The mandate includes the collection of information pertaining to cyber incidents, issue vulnerability notes, advisories, White Papers, the analysis of those incidents and then advising to the users all over the country about the security breaches and what threat is persisting, what threats are likely to come there. These are the basic mandates and are carried out through different modes, different ways, by interacting with the public parties, by interacting with the users group be it public, private, govt. or academia. We take their help and they report a lot of incidents. We analyse threats ourselves and also take their help. We also take help from the international agencies who are in touch with us. The prime responsibility of CERT-In is to analyse the incidents and to provide emergency


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Strategies for War and Peace The Takshashila Institution is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation registered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The representatives of the institution spoke to eGov on strategic affairs. How real is the prospect of

Should India invest more in

How are the Indian Armed

cyberwarfare?

enhancing its capabilities in

Forces placed in terms of

Whether we consider the

the unmanned aircraft?

preparedness for cyber war?

distributed denial of service

Unmanned aircrafts are the

We are still only beginning

(DDoS) assault on Georgia’s

way for the future. All the

to come to grips with cyber

cyber infrastructure during

three services - army, air force

warfare and the role of the

the 2008 South Ossetia War,

and the navy - will need them.

armed forces in this domain.

or Russia’s crippling attacks on

Any investment in developing

India drew up plans for a

Estonia’s network infrastruc-

unmanned aircrafts will be

USCYBERCOM-type structure

ture, cyberspace is increasingly

money well spent. Moreover,

around 2009, but both its cur-

becoming a domain where

it has export potential too, as

rent status and mandate are

conflicts are played out.

witnessed at the Singapore Air

unclear. The issue here isn’t

Stuxnet, allegedly built to target

Show where unmanned aerial

so much about the absence of

Iran’s uranium enrichment

vehicle “ Rustom” and pilot-

ideas rather than the lack of

facilities, shows that two states

less target aircraft “ Lakhsya”,

sustained political will to push

can engage in cyberwar while

attracted strong interests from

urgent organizational changes

not being in conventional war.

several countries.

through.

Samir Sayed Vice President- Sales, AGC Networks Ltd.

“If the data is classified as confidential then it must be encrypted in transit or at rest. Multiple technologies can be deployed for encryption during transit and for data at rest” response to the users, organizations in the country and outside.”

ICT in logistical management “Digital signatures are the way for authentication. They should be used more extensively to reduce paperwork, particularly in procurement processes, for RFIs, RFPs, tenders, supply orders, much else,” says Lt Gen AKS Chandele. The revolution that ICT has brought in the field of military logistics is as momentous as the one in the field of armaments and cyber security. With the use ICT tools the military planners have a way of marrying the power of information with modern identification, transportation and elec-

tronic commerce systems. Defence forces have been able to develop seamless logistics systems that tie the entire chain of command into one network of shared situational awareness and unified action. Such digital systems help the defence forces to bring efficiency in their internal management of the manpower, the equipment and the armament related resources. The typical ICT systems being used by defence forces encompass all levels of security and they ensure that the right person has the right authority to access the right information. KPM Das, Vice President, National Security and Defence, Cisco Systems, says, “Over military networks, both in peace and war, digital identities are used online as a way to identify

personnel and to provide access to various services and military applications offered by the defence agencies. While many aspects of the online eco-system have been improved through IT Policy, Information Assurance SOPs(Standard Operating Procedures) and innovations in technology, assurances of digital identity and managing those identities over the network with credence to privacy, security and ease of use remains a complex problem.” The authorised defence staffs are able to manage and aggregate finance, payroll and personnel information in easy and efficient manner. Automation of procurement, personnel and pay administration, vetting, recruitment, estate management and performance reporting becomes easy to implement when with ICT based systems. Even the management of canteen supplies and medical stores being used by the defence forces is being streamlined through ICT. Technology can also help in creating systems more agile procurement and adaptation cycles that are required for preventing obsolescence and to maintaining interoperability. In a world where warning times are often getting reduced, defence needs to take a holistic approach to ICT capability for integrating both war and management related functions. Improvements in automation are exploited to provide better unity of command and reduced logistical footprint. With knowledge provided by ICT systems, leaders have the necessary awareness. Precise, realtime knowledge of the disposition of their assets allows commanders to manoeuvre CSS assets as quickly as they manoeuvre combat elements, thereby shaping the battle. The Indian defence establishment is making extensive use of ICT based systems for things like readiness management, distribution management, asset management, and other logistical interventions. One important part of the entire logistical management exercise of defence forces consists of maintenance of all the equipments in operational worthy condition at all times. To look after this aspect, this there is always a dedicated branch/division. The management solutions the defence forces use are somewhat similar to that used by many worldclass commercial companies for reducing inventories significantly through real-time information, coupled with rapid transportation.

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March 2012 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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eGov-March-2012-[8-17]-Cover Story-Defence Forces Armed with ICT  

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