November 1, 2009  

Joint speak

TO THE AIR FORCE AND THE NAVY for their apparent jitters over the JTRS radio program. For sure, the Joint Tactical Radio System has had a checkered history with the usual tangle of technology challenges and schedule overruns that frustrate many a program, particularly one that attempts to meet the requirements of all the services. But it’s on track now. So reports that the Air Force and Navy are considering canceling their versions of JTRS are worrisome. Without their support, it’s difficult to see how the Army version will survive. Even if it did, what would be the point? The whole point of JTRS is the “J.” It’s a communications system that lets soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines talk to each other, a vital but still lacking capability on the battlefield. Communications gaps add to the fog of war and are killing war fighters. JTRS addresses the communications interoperability crisis — but it won’t work if it’s downgraded to ATRS.