1.5 EXPECTED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
TRENDS FOR C4I
Rapid development of information technology and the expectation that C4I technology can dramatically increase force effectiveness have made this technology a critical element of future military modernization. The time constant of progress in information technology, computers, and communications is measured in months, not years. Hardware technologies will continue to evolve at a rapid pace to produce significantly improved capabilities at ever-lower cost--an order-of-magnitude improvement in performance every 5 years for the same cost is likely to continue to be the norm for progress in computing capability (Moore's law), memory and storage capacities, and communications speed. Academic research and the commercial sector are, and will continue to be, the primary sources of fundamental advances in information technologies. Industry exploits these advances, developing and manufacturing high-volume, low-cost, high-reliability products and setting most of the relevant standards. This driving force and dominant market for this expanding capability will continue to be the commercial marketplace, and the same level of basic technology will be readily available to all comers. A key challenge to DOD and the services will continue to be to develop an appropriately responsive acquisition system that can procure, deploy, and exploit these commercial hardware and software capabilities for the military in a timely and cost-effective way.
Much of, although by no means all, the sensor technology essential to C4I systems is specifically developed by the military and for military applications. The pace of growth in capability is slower than for the base information technologies. Continued focused investment by DOD is expected to maintain a significant margin of leadership in critical sensor technologies.