Defense Program Issue: Global Information Grid, Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE)

RS21590 -- Defense Program Issue: Global Information Grid, Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE)

Updated January 9, 2006


The Global Information Grid (GIG) is the enabling infrastructure for Network Centric Warfare (NCW), a concept that relies on communications technology to link together U.S. military personnel, ground vehicles, aircraft, and naval vessels through integrated wide and local area networks to provide improved battle space awareness for joint military forces.(1) The GIG Bandwidth Expansion program (GIG-BE) is a component of the overall GIG which upgrades the transmission pathways composing the central portion of the GIG. The GIG-BE program achieved full operational capability as of December 20, 2005, however, some question whether the GIG-BE design will support military requirements for transmitting the expected future high volume of encrypted network traffic. Also, because each service is developing a separate network architecture that will tie into the GIG, some observers question whether these differences will limit interoperability of the overall GIG, and thus reduce its usefulness to warfighters. This report will be updated as events warrant.