Global Information Grid (GIG)
Envisioned in late 1999 and officially mandated by the Deputy Secretary of Defense on September 19, 2002, the Global Information Grid (GIG) will integrate nearly all of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) information systems, services, and applications into one seamless and secure internet-like communications network. Designed to be less dependent on fixed or ground-based systems and equipment, the GIG will instead rely on space-based and mobile systems to transmit and route data. It will also form the primary technical framework for network-centric warfare operations - linking all advanced weapons platforms, sensor systems, and command and control centers. Thus, the GIG will create an environment where users can access data on demand from any location with such data coming from any number of sources - ranging from weapons systems belonging to other military services to space based satellites.
To build a core GIG capability, the DOD plans to spend at least US$21 billion through 2010; however, its creation faces several management, operational, and technical hurdles as outlined in a 2004 GAO report. These include:
- Management and investment challenges include deciding what capabilities to fund and enforcing such decisions across thousands of systems and the various military services.
- Operational challenges include deciding when, what, and how much information to include on the network as well as convincing data owners to share data and trust the network enough to post their data.
- Technical Challenges include developing new technologies on schedule, assuring common technical and information specifications, and developing the means to protect the system and its data.
Furthermore, implementing the full GIG vision will require the development of new information sharing technology applications and capabilities. Hence, as development of the GIG moves forward, increased collaboration with industry will be key to achieving and successfully implementing the full GIG vision.
by John Udovich for Defense Ventures