~e; Personal.Digital.Armament {pda.mil}

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Wed, 13 Mar 2002 20:37:38 -0600

  [here's a quote: "...laser rangefinding, GPS satellite positioning, 
a satellite
  phone and text messaging. Called JEDI, or Joint Expeditionary 
Digital Information,
  the system will be controlled by Microsoft's Windows-CE operating system." it
  is an odd choice of secure OS', as the U.S. Navy is trying to make 
the same crash-
  less often, or, more secure. and then the news that these same 
'palmtop' beauties
  were crashing left and right as they were given as 'freebies'/gifts 
to the very
  important people at the recent NYC World Economic Forum. all sounds 
very, well,
  orchestrated in a Madison Avenue marketing kind-of-way, lawyers in tow, too,
  for any critiques of JEDI enronomics. in any case, odd that this 
'pocket pc' system
  is not related in keywords to any G3 broadband wireless developments in audio-
  video, as would be standard for any off the shelf technology in the 
next 2 years.
  and if one browses over to the archives of http://www.cartome.org/ and looks
  into the battle visualization systems, well, text messaging is not 
nearly as much
  a help as being able to video-conference on the big-board on the 
battleship while
  getting recon info from a satellite above. all part of the future of 
warfare being
  pitched around by older of electronic manufacturers, ready for the 
new day rising.]

Military palmtop to cut collateral damage

19:35 09 March 02

Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition

In the Afghanistan and Kosovo conflicts, military mistakes led to air 
strikes against the wrong buildings, against civilians or on friendly 
forces. One cause of such tragedies is misinformation from the 
battlefield - perhaps because troops transmit the wrong target 
coordinates, or are simply misheard.

To address the problem, the Pentagon has commissioned a new 
battlefield targeting system based on a raft of sensing and 
communications technologies, controlled by a hand-held Pocket PC. It 
will go into service with US Special Forces in 2003.

The super-palmtop will combine laser rangefinding, GPS satellite 
positioning, a satellite phone and text messaging. Called JEDI, or 
Joint Expeditionary Digital Information, the system will be 
controlled by Microsoft's Windows-CE operating system.

The Pentagon wants JEDI to help simplify the way soldiers send target 
coordinates and other vital information from the battlefield to 
control centres. "It has to be designed so it's easy to use," says 
Peter Batcheller of Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology development 
company based in McLean, Virginia, that created the system. "Troops 
can't call up an IT desk if it goes wrong."

txt msg

JEDI is used in conjunction with laser rangefinding binoculars. A 
soldier spotting a target vehicle will use the binoculars to get a 
reading on its position, speed and direction of travel. This data is 
then collected by the Pocket PC, while the soldier identifies the 
type of vehicle by pointing to simple icons on the screen.

The palmtop codes the information into a short text message, which it 
sends via the Iridium satellite mobile phone system to a forward 
headquarters or to a waiting attack aircraft.

This is both more accurate and quicker than the current way of 
working, which relies on soldiers calling in the coordinates by radio 
and describing targets verbally. Slow response speeds can cause 

For example, fast-moving mobile rocket launchers can be missed by 
strike aircraft because they have gone by the time the attacker gets 
to the scene. "It can take as much as 30 seconds to a minute to get a 
message for a target with the current voice system," says Batcheller.

12 second reboot

In recent US Army tests, JEDI target messages were sent and received 
in as little as 3 seconds. Its simple, icon-based software also 
reduces the risk of inaccurate information being called in, cutting 
the chances of attacks on the wrong target.

If the Windows-based machine crashes, says Batcheller, it can be 
rebooted within 12 seconds. But can a Pocket P - -more at home in a 
Starbucks coffee bar than on the battlefield - handle combat 

JEDI is a lot more robust, he says. To test quite how much the gadget 
can take, the Army had a game of football using a JEDI as the ball - 
and it worked just fine afterwards.

Ian Sample

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