Sunday, July 22, 2007

On Interoperability...

Interoperability is an interesting beast.

In the Apache, one of the two crewmen flies wearing helmet-mounted night vision goggles to see things thermals do not, including, for example, wires and tracers. The second crewman flies with thermals and the 30mm chain gun slaved to his head-up display. When the sky "lit" up with tracers, the aviator with goggles could see them, but the aviator who had immediate control of the gun could not. Therefore, to add to their problems, one crewman had to talk the other on to the source of fire to suppress it.
-On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Who would have thought that a system was not interoperable with itself?

Because US forces are very effective at destroying air defense radars that radiate and missile/gun systems, the Iraqis avoided using these as cornerstones in their network. Rather than using radar, the Iraqis appear to have relied on ground observers who reported on cellular phones and low-power radios. Finally, flickering the city lights warned the shooters to be prepared to engage. Rather than relying on easily targetable missile or gun systems, the Iraqis' main weapon systems were the small arms widely distributed among the general population.
-On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Finally, an example of the types of behaviour that you can get out of a distributed system. Distinctions need to be made between interoperability and integration.Technology alone can not save us.

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