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Data Storage and the IoT in Military Defense

The Internet of Things – IoT – has many benefits to today's tech-driven society. Most of its current applications revolve around industrial automation and, on the residential side, smart home technology, and it has the potential to transform our everyday lives in ways we can't even begin to imagine. With experts predicting more than 20 billion IoT-connected devices by the year 2020, it seems it's already starting to take hold.

But experts are testing the IoT in other areas of society, too – including the military sector. Led by names like Lockheed Martin, the IoT is quietly finding its way onto the battlefield – where it has many advantages.

The IoT and the U.S. Military Declassified

As expected, much of the research and development surrounding the military use of the IoT is highly confidential. But it's no secret that Lockheed Martin is already making huge investments in support of military projects involving the IoT.

Per a recent blog post, written by the company's director of Command & Control, JD Hammond, they're well on their way to integrating the IoT into military defense. "By fully understanding threats of intrusion, thanks in part to IoT systems of systems, the military can predict the characteristics of future intrusions with greater confidence and evolve its techniques and cyber infrastructures for future attacks."

The IoT and Missile Defense

One application that is known to the public is known as the Missile Defense Agency's Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications Systems – or C2BMC for short. It's an IoT-powered network that comprises nearly 50,000 miles of highly classified lines and hundreds of different devices – including sensors, radar systems and satellites – to provide real-time missile tracking capabilities.

According to a generic scenario provided by Lockheed Martin, ground-based sensors of the C2BMC will detect an approaching missile and rely that data directly to the radar systems of the U.S. military. The C2BMC can even determine whether or not a missile poses any threat and, if so, where it will make impact.

The system doesn't make a determination on whether or not to engage a threat. Instead, the relevant data is transferred to military commanders for their judgment. Even though much of C2BMC is automated, it still relies on human orders to carry out any advanced actions.

The IoT and Hackers

But introducing the IoT to the sector of military defense introduces another threat: the modern hacker. According to Lockheed Martin's blog post, some of the most useful features of the IoT are also the most vulnerable.

"The benefits of IoT that make it attractive to the military also make the framework vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks. Our challenge is ensuring that the adoption of IoT does not create an opportunity to manipulate a device or network, steal secure information or disrupt the flow of data." Hammond said.

The IoT in Action

Although it's likely to be several years before we see any sort of widespread integration of the IoT into the U.S. military, advanced technology is already making its way to the frontlines. Although we'll hopefully never have to see these breakthroughs used in an actual war, it's nice to have them available if necessary.


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