The United States got a wake-up call in late summer 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf of Mexico coast from Texas to Alabama. "The devastation was so complete, so comprehensive," Admiral Timothy Keating, Commander, U.S. Northern Command, said, "We couldn't figure out how bad it was. . . . On [a] list of things we need to . . . analyze very carefully, communications is at the top."
There are lessons here for the U.S. Navy as it grapples with the metaphysics of the joint global information grid and the Sea Power 21-FORCEnet glue that someday might bind Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing into a coherent whole. A chronic lack of attention to the individual nodes in the net poses great challenges to future operations-notwithstanding the promise of the Information Technology for the 21st-century (IT-21) program.