Internetworking: the interoperability of commercial mobile computers with the USMC Digital Automated Communications Terminal (DACT)
Cummiskey, James C.
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The United States Marine Corps has begun to develop a system called the Digital Automated Communications Terminal (DACT). The DACT system is based around a subnotebook-sized, tactical input/output battlefield situational awareness system and communications terminal. The problem is that DACT's excessive weight, size, cost and complexity might ultimately prevent its successful integration into the rapidly evolving Marine Corps style of maneuver warfare. This thesis provides a study of palmtop-sized mobile computing platforms to include the Hewlett-Packard family of palmtops, as well as the emerging Microsoft Pegasus mobile operating system. Furthermore, various messaging standards, protocols and commercial digital transmission channels are analyzed for their suitability to DACT requirements. Finally, a system prototype called the Rapid Electronic Delivery of Messages over Asynchronous Networks (REDMAN) is implemented to disseminate field orders under combat conditions. REDMAN speeds the flow of accurate information to all levels of command within a Marine infantry battalion using a commercial palmtop platform. This commercial palmtop is 3-7 times lighter and 20-30 times less expensive than DACT. Wireless networked palmtop computing will completely change the scope of Marine warfighting. This thesis provides a proof of concept system that demonstrates such fundamental change is feasible today.
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