Reuters/Al Udeid Air Base
With its wall-sized screens simultaneously showing America’s air wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, this war room at the heart of America’s biggest military campaigns is already something of a technological marvel.
“It’s state-of-the-art but too slow for the future,” said General David Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force, who is visiting the centre at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base this week with Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
Enter innovation to bridge the gap. The Qatar-based operations centre is undergoing a series of upgrades to its top-secret computer systems to transform how war planners here do business.
The Combined Air Operations Center, known in military-speak as the “CAOC,” is grappling with a dizzying amount of data and intelligence flowing in from sources like satellites, drones, radar and US aircraft flying over Middle East hot spots and bombing Islamic State positions.
Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, head of US Air Force’s operations throughout the region, has championed the technology push with Goldfein’s support to take better advantage of that data.
That will often mean lessening the roles of humans in jobs that can now be done more efficiently and accurately by computer software.
New software is being developed in partnership with the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley arm, known as the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, the goal of which is to speed delivery of technology to the front lines.
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