Photos: IT saving lives in Iraqi warzone

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Army Cpl Dowling and Navy AB Cooperthwaite using the Military’s Joint Operational Command System

Army Cpl Lisa Dowling and Navy AB Amy Cooperthwaite using the Military’s secure communications Joint Operational Command System (JOCS) in the command Headquarters

Military IT systems are complex, but have to be built from scratch in locations that are often isolated and inhospitable. Rob Cogan is a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, and is headquarters information manager.

“When you start, there’s effectively nothing there,” he says. “You put up a tent or move into an old building of some sort.

You have military computers with you, and you set up a small local area network inside the tent.” Officers also have a local server, and use satellite communications to link back to the UK’s defence infrastructure.

Information is shared over the web, and through shared directories. “As you get more troops on the ground you have to build other headquarters,” Cogan says.

“They crop up all over the place. You then have to link these together and link them back to the UK – so you end up building a network, and then you start looking at specialist systems for intelligence, administration, logistics and management of equipment.”

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