Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing is an old idea made new through the ubiquity
of powerful computing platforms and the Internet. The original P2P computing evolved from the ARPANET where "peer hosts" -- orginally DEC PDP
minicomputers -- became the genesis for distributed defense networks such
as the World-wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS).
The US military is rapidly attempting to adapt P2P under the concept of
network-centric warfare where the computer is a part of everything, and
everything is part of the net. "Everything" includes individual soldiers,
their vehicles and aircraft.
This reflects the wider trend in the commercial world. By 2005, the average
COTS PC will come with a 4 Ghz processor, 500 GB of storage, 256 MB of RAM,
Gigabit ethernet, and a broadband connection to the web. PDA's will only be
a few steps behind with wireless connectivty over 3G networks.
In essence, we will live in a world with a vast number of networked
super-computers running a wide array of applications with national security
implications -- from codebreaking to large-scale simulations.
P2P will have major implications on how US forces will operate in conflict
and on the speed of decision in foreign policy. Moreover, P2P will create
new possibilities and vulnerabilites that we are only begining to