XML Tactical Chat (XTC) the way ahead for Navy chat
DeVos, Daniel A.
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The motivation for pursuing XML-based tactical chat includes the great potential of this technology and fixing limitations of current chat programs. XTC capabilities have the potential to completely upgrade and restructure all tactical military communications. The current tools for military chat include IRC, Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, and NKO. None of these provides the full functionality or interoperability needed in a joint environment. Moreover, if a nonproprietary chat protocol is developed, it can lead to a decision-support environment in which data, text, audio, and video can be logged, evaluated and managed, all in a Web environment where no additional specialized software or hardware is needed. Chat technology challenges for the military fit into three areas: tactical, technical, and administrative. Tactically, there are many ways chat can be used, but effective practices are not yet defined in procedures or doctrine. Joint forces use a myriad of chat programs that don’t interoperate and are usually proprietary. Technically, many chat programs are barred by firewalls and lack a robust interface to allow logging and searching past chats. From an administrative prospective, plain-text chat has no structure. Scheduling and controlling who attends or converses remains undefined. Within DoD there is no standard for how, when, and by whom chats ought to be conducted. Possible approaches to these problems include adopting a proprietary chat system or customizing an open-source implementation. Proprietary solutions are costly, do not interoperate well, and are too inflexible for a technology that is evolving rapidly. Open-source software can provide a solution that is adaptable, extensible, quick to implement, straightforward to maintain, and relatively inexpensive. This thesis provides a preliminary assessment of XML-based tactical chat (XTC) using an opensource, open-standards solution. Promising initial results demonstrate that an XML document can be sent from a XHTML page in a Web browser to an off-the-shelf Jabber client via a Web server. Further, available server and client implementations can enable a research and development plan for rapid development.