Proc. SPIE. 5819, Digital Wireless Communications VII and Space Communication Technologies
KEYWORDS: Defense and security, Human-machine interfaces, Homeland security, Databases, Satellites, Networks, Computing systems, Satellite communications, Data communications, Global Positioning System
In 2003, the California Space Authority (CSA) was provided funding by the U. S. Congress through the Defense Appropriations Act to develop a project that would demonstrate the U.S. space enterprise capability that would contribute to the effectiveness of those engaged in Homeland Security. The project was given broad latitude in selecting the area of Homeland Security to be addressed and the nature of the space technology to be applied. CSA became aware of a nascent law enforcement data-sharing project in the San Diego region known as the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS). First developed by the police departments in San Diego, ARJIS is an innovative system that shares criminal justice information among 50 federal, state, and local agencies. ARJIS was completing a pilot project that enabled officers to receive information on handheld computers, which was transmitted wirelessly through cellular networks. The accessed information came from several databases that collectively contained the entire region's crime and arrest reports, traffic citations, and incidents, as well as state and county wants and warrants. The fundamental limitations that plague all cellular-based devices caught CSA's attention and resulted in a cooperative effort to harden the communications link between the patrol officer and critical data. The principal goal of the SATCOM development task was to create a proof-of-concept application that would use SATCOM links to augment the current ARJIS handheld wireless (cellular) capability. The successful technical demonstration and the positive support for satellite communications from the law enforcement community showed that this project filled a need-both for improved information sharing and for highly reliable communications systems.