The U.S. Military’s Failed 15-Year Quest To Develop The Perfect Radio
Military’s 15-year quest for the perfect radio is a blueprint for failing big.
In 1997, the Defense Department began its quest for the perfect family of radios: software-defined radios that, like computers, could be reprogrammed for different missions and could communicate with everything the US military used. Digital signal processing could adaptively use available radio spectrum based on the needs of the moment, turning soldiers, tanks, planes, and ships into nodes of a broadband radio-based network.
The goal was to solve radio problems like this one in Afghanistan, detailed by the Center for Public Integrity in January