Maybe it’s just too late in the evening, but what is an “Internet in the sky”? This is some kind of cockamamie Pentagon project (no doubt costing billions – cha-ching!), that will help provide a “God’s-eye view” of battle. Do you hear the giant sucking sound of your wallet being emptied?

This “Internet in the sky,” Peter Teets, under secretary of the Air Force, told Congress, would allow “marines in a Humvee, in a faraway land, in the middle of a rainstorm, to open up their laptops, request imagery” from a spy satellite, and “get it downloaded within seconds.”

The Pentagon calls the secure network the Global Information Grid, or GIG. Conceived six years ago, its first connections were laid six weeks ago. It may take two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars to build the new war net and its components.

Skeptics say the costs are staggering and the technological hurdles huge.

Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet and a Pentagon consultant on the war net, said he wondered if the military’s dream was realistic. “I want to make sure what we realize is vision and not hallucination,” Mr. Cerf said.

“This is sort of like Star Wars, where the policy was, ‘Let’s go out and build this system,’ and technology lagged far behind,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with having ambitious goals. You just need to temper them with physics and reality.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding