"Every other day, somebody jabs me about cellular -- you know: 'It's so prevalent and available,' " says Col. Michael Williamson, the project manager for FCS network integration. But the infrastructure that allows you to wirelessly call and Web-surf while sipping a Frappuccino at Starbucks has been built up over the course of decades at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, he says. In war zones, modern communications are often limited or nonexistent. Even when robust commercial Internet and cellular technologies are in place, for security reasons the military can't rely on them. Communicating over widely known standards would enable an enemy to easily intercept information, like the coordinates for an upcoming missile strike. Worse yet, even encrypted transmissions could allow foes to pinpoint soldiers' locations and to launch counterattacks. When the Army shows up to fight, it must therefore build a network from scratch, says Paul Geery, the director of network development at Boeing, the lead systems integrator for FCS. "Our constraint is to be able to take a fighting force, roll off a C-17 [cargo plane] or boat with nothing in place, and within a short period of time start operating in a network fashion."