Why it matters
The Internet came from the defence world. In the 1970s and 80s, DARPANet, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, used switching and protocols to give Cold War survivability to communications networks.
The 1989 world wide web naming and addressing protocols allowed the Internet to evolve into the global phenomenon that we know today. More recently a new concept has come into being with the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which is the extension of Internet connections beyond computers and communications systems to everyday objects such as cars, watches, food packaging, domestic appliances and many other products. Civil applications and commercial producers are the main drivers of this IoT technological revolution. The defence sector R&T has meanwhile continued Internet-related innovation – notably the concepts of Network Centric Warfare and Network Enabled Capability (NEC) that were espoused at the beginning on the century and are now concepts regarded as ‘business as usual’ with capability platforms and soldiers systems increasingly becoming network nodes in wider system of systems capabilities.
Defence NEC, of course, needed to keep pace with the threat of cyber-attack; a constant battle which constrains the pace of change. The IoT trend has increasing defence utility: military intelligence and command and control systems use the myriad of sensors that can be deployed in all the domains, allowing them to acquire full situational awareness and control over diverse conflict zones or battle areas. The trend is towards an increase in urban scenarios where millions of sensors could provide military commanders with increased situational awareness and combat intelligence to carry out more effective operations on the ground.