Satellite communications for Coast Guard homeland defense
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The Coast Guard has developed a C4ISR infrastructure ashore to aid personnel in decision making, job performance, and information exchange, but in doing so they have neglected their most important asset; the afloat community. In an effort to explore and find a wireless connectivity solution for CG cutters, the authors examined the requirements for solutions in the area of commercial satellite connectivity. This connection is necessary for USCG afloat assets to access vital maritime, law enforcement, and Fisheries databases maintained ashore, as well as to keep those ashore informed of mission status. This connection also allows cutters to connect to CGDN+ and the Internet, improving both morale and personnel administration issues (leave, medical records, training, assignment process, etc.) With the technologies now available, the USCG must identify which solutions can best be utilized with respect to bandwidth, security, cost, equipment installation requirements, durability, and range. Primarily our research dissects Qualcomm's Globalstar satellite options, INMARSAT and capacity expander (ICE) technology, and current Navy INMARSAT technology solutions. The authors have identified technological limitations and proper requirement analysis techniques that will aid in future Coast Guard evaluations of these extremely high cost wireless networks. Finally, the authors make recommendations for near and long-term solutions to the Coast Guard's connectivity requirements.
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