When the Armys 3rd Infantry Division returns to Iraq later this year, it'll be taking a giant, new-fangled, multi-truckload network node to the battlefield.The Joint Network Transport Capability (JNTC) "gives units down to the maneuver battalion access to the Armys Internet protocol router networks, the Defense Red Switch Network, secure video teleconferencing and voice-over-internet protocol capabilities," notes Defense News.The system also "gives the Army an early version of Warrior Information Network-Tactical capabilities," according to the magazine. That's the mobile data network that's supposed to become the backbone of Future Combat Systems, the Army's $117 billion push to digitize its forces.Like so many military communications projects these days, most of JNTC's connectivity will come from commercial satellites. But the Army is hoping to change that, relying on a new wave of military satellites, due to come on line by 2007 or so."In the meantime, the Army will continue to expand JNTC to other combat units during the next four years," Defense News says. "The 101st Airborne Division will receive JNTC capabilities in January or February, followed by the 10th Mountain Division next spring, and the 4th Infantry Division by the end of 2005."

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