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1. The swelling evolutions in the fields of information technology (IT) and communication

have propelled a new dimension of war the Network-centric warfare (NCW). NCW now commonly called Network-Centric Operations (NCO1), is a new military doctrine or theory of war pioneered by the United States Department of Defense (DOD). It seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive warfighting advantage through the robust networking of well informed geographically dispersed forces. 2. History clearly shows that any new technology, regardless of its original intentions, soon

finds its way into the arsenals of warriors. The advent of IT expands physical battle space and the area of military operations far beyond traditional boundaries. The battlefield is no longer defined merely along geographical boundaries. It extends to cyberspace. The introduction of networking techniques into warfighting systems accelerates engagement cycles and operational tempo at all levels of a warfighting system. This is achieved by providing a mechanism to rapidly gather and distribute targeting information, and rapidly issue directives. 3. During the recent Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, weve seen a glimpse of NCW. It

created a decisive warfighting advantage and enabled the United States to defeat the ruling regime of a country that was perceived to be unconquerablewith less than one-tenth the force structure required in Desert Stormin less than two months. Armored forces racing toward Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) used network-centric capabilities to monitor the battlefield situation during horrendous weather conditions to accomplish the most rapid military advance in history and to overthrow Saddam Husseins regime in a
Please note, however, that NCW can be construed to apply only to warfighting operations, whereas NCO applies to a broader array of operations that military forces can undertake, such as peacekeeping and stability and support operations.



matter of weeks. Therefore, NCW is much more than that and, not surprisingly, is very demanding technologically. 4. Over the coming decade we will see the world divide into nations that employ NCW

techniques ,and others that do not , be it for reasons of ideology or operational/technological incapacity. Military networking, especially between platforms, is far more challenging than industry networking due to the heavy reliance on wireless communications, high demand for security, and the need for resistance to hostile jamming. The demanding environmental requirements for military networking hardware are an issue in their own right. It should come thus as no surprise that the introduction of networking into military environments has proven more painful and more protracted than the industry experience of over a decade ago. 5. The new military doctrine of NCW and the growing network-centric capabilities are

transforming how we fight. Clearly, NCW is at the very heart of force transformation and the emerging way of war. NCW has already been widely debated in many countries defense, so it is important now to establish and disseminate a common view of NCW amongst the wider defense community- the Armed forces, the civil service agencies, defense industry and academia to help people to know and understand NCW.

6. The aim of this paper is to analyze relating theories of NCW and its effects on the armed forces in order to develop a common understanding.


Background 7. NCW can trace its immediate origins to 1996 when Adm. William Owens introduced the

concept of a system of systems in a paper of the same name published by the Institute National Security Studies. Owens described the serendipitous evolution of a system of intelligence sensors, command and control systems, and precision weapons that enabled



enhanced situational awareness, rapid target assessment, and distributed weapon assignment. The same year, the joint chief of staff released Joint Vision 2010, which introduced the military concept of full-spectrum dominance. Full spectrum dominance described the ability of the U.S military to dominate the battlespace from peace operations through to the outright application of military power that stemmed from the advantages of information superiority. 8. As a distinct concept, however, NCW first appeared publicly in a 1998 US naval

institute proceedings article by vice admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski and John Gartska. The concepts were later given greater depth in the book, Network Centric Warfare coauthored by Gartska, David S. Alberts (Director of Research, OASD-NII), and Fred Stein of the MITRE corporation. Published by the Command and Control Research Program (CCRP), the book derived a new theory of warfare from a series of case studies on how business was using information and communication technologies to improve situation analysis, accurately control inventory and production, as well as monitor customer relations. 9. NCW was followed in 2001 by Understanding Information Age Warfare (UIAW),

jointly authored by Alberts, Gartska, Richard Hayes of evidence based research and David S. Signori of RAND. UIAW pushed the implications of the shifts identified by NCW in order to derive an operational theory of warfare. Starting with a series of premises on how the environment is sensed, UIAW posits a structure of three domains. The physical domain is where events take place and are perceived by sensors and individuals. Data emerging from the physical domain is transmitted through an information domain. Data is subsequently received and processed by a cognitive domain where it is assessed and acted upon. The process replicates the observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop first described by Col. John Boyd of the U.S air force. 10. The publication dealing with the developing theory of NCW appeared in 2003 with

Power to the Edge, also published by the CCRP. Power to the Edge is a more speculative work and easily the most revolutionary in terms of its implications for military operations. It suggests that modern military environments are far too complex to be understood by any one



individual, organization, or even military service. Modern information technology permits the rapid and effective sharing of information to such a degree that edge entities or those that are essentially conducting military missions themselves, should be able to pull information from ubiquitous repositories, rather than having centralized agencies attempt to anticipate their information needs and push it to them. This would imply a major flattening of traditional military hierarchies, however. It is not yet clear whether the vision of Power to the Edge is realizable, although Alberts and Hayes argue in the book that the establishment of the Global Information Grid (GIG) is the first step to accomplishing it. What is NCW 11. NCW is the term used in military circles to define information-based warfighting. It is

military operation that is enabled by the networking of the force. NCW provides a force with access to a new, previously unreachable region of the information domain. The ability to operate in this region provides warfighters with a new type of information advantage, an advantage broadly characterized by significantly improved capabilities for sharing and accessing information. NCW enables warfighters to leverage this information advantage to dramatically increase combat power through self-synchronization and other network-centric operations. In essence, NCW translates information superiority into combat power by effectively linking knowledgeable entities in the battlespace. 12. NCW uses computers and communications to link people through information flows

that depend on the interoperability of systems used by all armed forces. Objectives of NCW include the following: a. Self-synchronization, or doing what needs to be done without traditional

orders; b. Improved understanding of higher commands intent;


Improved understanding of the operational situation at all levels of command;





And, increased ability to tap into the collective knowledge of all armed (and to reduce the fog and friction commonly referred to in


descriptions of fighting. 13. As a new source of power, NCW has a profound impact on the planning and conduct of war by allowing armed forces to get inside an adversarys decision cycle, changing the rules of warfare, and dictating the pace of military operations. NCW provides an edge at all three levels of military operations: a. Strategy. It selects a competitive space and determines the scope, pace, and

intensity of the competition. b. Operations. It determines the key competitive attributes and applies / masters

them. c. Tactics. It executes in the battlespace.

Three Categories of NCW 14. NCW focuses on the tactical and operational levels of warfare, but they impact all

levels of military activity from the tactical to the strategic. The impacts of NCW at the operational and strategic levels of war are grouped in three categories: a. Sensors. Sensors, such as the Hunter Unman Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the predator

UAV, the long advanced scout surveillance system, and others provided day or night, all weather acquisition of enemy forces and real-time transmission of that data to the operators. They extend the depth of the battlespace, provide greater situational awareness for commanders and planners, and when coupled with long-range weapons, compress the kill chainfind, fix, target, track, engage, and assess. b. Connectivity. Connectivity is the key enabler for situational awareness by

providing the backbone for data from and between information systems and for voice


and video communications. It improves the quality of the command and control network and information shareability, and enables wide dispersion between forces and greater interactions and collaboration between those forces, leading to increased situational awareness and understanding. c. Information Systems. Information systems, enabled by the automatic transfer and assimilation of data into near-real-time useable information, provide commanders and staff with a Common Operational Picture (COP) a fused picture of the battlespace, which enhance shared situational awareness and collaboration. Taken together, new sensors, connectivity, and information systems enhanced the ability of commanders to visualize the battlespace, increased collaboration and the speed of command, and resulted in increased mission effectiveness.


Network Architectures 15. NCW is highly dependent on the interoperability of communications equipment, data,

and software to enable networking of people, sensors, and manned and unmanned platforms. Parts of NCW technology rely on line-of-sight radio transmission for microwave or infrared signals, or laser beams. Other parts of the technology aggregate information for transmission through larger network trunks for global distribution via fiber optic cables, microwave towers, or both low-altitude and high-altitude satellites. The designs for this technology must enable rapid communications between individuals in all services, and rapid sharing of data and information between mobile platforms and sensors used by all military services. The architectures must also have the ability to dynamically self-heal and re-form the network when one or more communications nodes are interrupted. Satellites 16. Satellites are crucial for enabling mobile communications in remote areas, as well as



for providing imagery, navigation, weather information, a missile warning capability, and a capability to reach back to the surface for added support. The Global Positioning System (GPS) helps identify the location of armed forces, as well as target locations for launching weapons, such as cruise missiles. Radio Bandwidth 17. Digitization of communications is a key part for NCW. Digital technology makes more

efficient use of spectrum bandwidth for communications than analog technology. However, since 1991, there has been an explosive increase in demand for bandwidth, due to efforts to speed up the delivery of digital information. Whether the radio bandwidth supply available to keep up with increasing military demands in the future will be a serious problem. Unmanned Vehicles (UVs) 18. UVs, also known as UAVs, Ground Vehicles (UGVs), and Underwater Vehicles

(UUVs), are primarily used for surveillance; however their mission is evolving to also include combat. During OIF, approximately 16 Predator and 1 Global Hawk UAVs were in operation, and all were controllable remotely via satellite link from command centers in the continental United States. UVs each require a large amount of bandwidth for control and for transmission of reconnaissance images, and UVs also serve as nodes that can relay messages through the NCW network. Air Dominance 19. In UCW, the forces is highly-dependent on space assets for communications,

navigation, imagery, weather analysis, and missile early warning systems. Without early air dominance, UAVs and other Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft could not have been used to provide information needed for NCW systems. UAVs, and other support aircraft, such as refueling support tankers, were nearly defenseless and reportedly could not have operated deep in Iraqi air space without early air dominance.



Computer Processor Chips 20. Gordon Moores Law of Integrated circuits predicts that every 18 months, computer

chips evolve to become twice as dense and twice as fast for about the same cost, meaning they become almost 4 times as powerful every 18 months. Industries that use computer technology rely on Moores Law as a guide for investing in future technology systems. Many future NCW concepts now being developed also rely on the continued evolution in computer processing power, and may also be affected by advances in other technologies, such as nanotechnology. Nanotechnology 21. New materials developed through nanotechnology may eventually change battlefield

equipment in ways hard to imagine. Weapons may become smaller and lighter, and new miniaturized network sensors may detect, locate, identify, track, and target potential threats more efficiently. Currently, we can use nanotechnology to create a heat-resistant coating that extends the life of propulsion shafts for warships, and as an additive to boost the performance of rocket propellant. Nanotechnology may eventually alter fundamental concepts of warfare, perhaps even more than the invention of gunpowder. Some countries are also making advances in nanotechnology. Software 22. Software is an important component of all complex defense systems used for NCW.

The globalization of the economy dictates a global process for software development. The contractors often outsource software development to other smaller private firms, and in some cases, programming work may be done by offshore companies. This raises questions about the possibility of malicious computer code being used to subvert computer systems. We should investigate ways to strengthen policy mechanisms to increase confidence in the security of both foreign and domestic software products.



23. A warfighting force that can conduct NCW has these advantages: All elements of the

force are robustly networked achieving secure and seamless connectivity; The force has the capability to share, access, and protect information to a degree that it can establish and maintain an information advantage over an adversary; The force has the capability to collaborate in the information domain, which enables a force to improve its information position ; The force has the capability to develop high quality awareness and share this situational awareness; The force has the capability to self-synchronize its operations. 24. The combat power is increasingly derived from information sharing, information

access, and speed. This view has been supported by results of recent military operational experiences showing that when forces are truly jointed, with comprehensively integrated capabilities and operating according to the principles of NCW, they can fully exploit the highly path-dependent nature of information age warfare. Some resulting military advantages of NCW include the following: a. Networked forces can consist of smaller-size units that can travel lighter and faster, meaning fewer troops with fewer platforms and carrying fewer supplies can perform a mission effectively, or differently, at a lower cost. b. Networked forces can fight using new tactics. During OIF, U.S. Army forces Because

utilized movement that was described by some as swarm tactics.

networking allows soldiers to keep track of each other when they are out of one anothers sight, forces could move forward in Iraq spread out in smaller independent units, avoiding the need to maintain a tight formation. Using swarm tactics, unit movements are conducted quickly, without securing the rear. All units know each others location. If one unit gets into trouble, other independent units nearby can quickly come to their aid, swarming to attack the enemy from all directions at once. Benefits may include the following:



(1). Fewer troops and less equipment are needed, so waging war is less expensive; (2). It is harder for an enemy to effectively attack a widely dispersed formation; (3). Combat units can cover much more ground, because they do not have to

maintain a formation or slow down for lagging vehicles; (4). Knowing the location of all friendly units reduces fratricide during combat operations; (5). Swarming allows an attack to be directed straight into the heart of an enemy command structure, undermining support by operating from the inside, rather than battling only on the periphery. c. The way individual soldiers think and act on the battlefield is also changing. When a unit encounters a difficult problem in the field, they radio the tactical operations center, which types the problem into an online chat room, using Microsoft chat software. The problem is then swarmed by experts who may be located far away. d. The sensor-to-shooter time is reduced. Using NCW systems, soldiers in the field

have the capability to conduct an on site analysis of raw intelligence from sensor displays, rather than waiting for return analysis reports.


The Information Problem 25. Networks are not a substitute for smart heads and commonsense. Therefore, the

information being distributed within a network may or may not be correct. When a sensor misidentifies a target, it could well result in hundreds of force elements being simultaneously




told that an opponent exists where there is none, or vice-versa. 26. Huge information resources may be overrated as an asset for creating effective military

operations, and that important military decisions may not always lend themselves to information-based rational analysis. If we overwhelmingly focused on the rewards of information, some issues will be raised: a. Quantitative changes in information and analysis often lead to qualitative changes in individual and organizational behavior that are sometimes counterproductive. b. Reliance on sophisticated information systems may lead to management over

confidence. c. An information-rich, opportunity-rich environment may shift the value of the

information, redefine the mission objectives, and possibly increase the chances for perverse consequences. The Connectivity Problem 27. In NCW, high levels of digital connectivity between units, platforms and headquarters

or other command elements will be provided. The forces in typical operations may be scattered distant areas, with a need to gather intelligence, and distribute intelligence and command directives to dozens or hundreds of fighting units that may be dispersed and concentrated over hundreds of thousands of square miles of terrain. For the network to be effective, it must function without interruption, even if force elements are on the move. The more complex the terrain is, the more difficult this connectivity problem becomes. 28. There is a problem whether communications bandwidth supply can be made adequate

to match growing future military needs in NCW. When the supply of bandwidth becomes inadequate during combat, military operations officers have sometimes been forced to subjectively prioritize the transmission of messages. They do this by literally pulling the plug temporarily on some radio or computer switching equipment in order to free up enough



bandwidth to allow the highest-priority messages to get through. This can delay, or cancel other messages or data transmissions, which are placed into in a lower priority, so that it would delay information updates. The Network Security Problem 29. With the growing threat from cyber attack, any network arrangement is subject to

breakdown. When the network becomes more complex and distributed, it will become more vulnerable or fragile. The network architectures in NCW are the same. Meanwhile, providing secure communications in NCW is difficult, since successful key management for encryption is typically the most difficult aspect of cryptography, especially with mobile systems. The problem is exacerbated with the need for speedy deployment and nimble reconfiguration of military teams, to respond to rapidly changing conditions in the modern battlespace. There is growing controversy about whether the armed forces should use general purpose open source commercial computer software for the command, control, and communications functions in advanced defense systems for tanks, aircraft and other complex equipment. Some experts believe that open-source software violates many security principles, and may be subverted by adversaries who could secretly insert Trojan horse malicious code to cause complex defense systems to malfunction. The Asymmetric Threats Problem 30. The term asymmetric, when referring to strategies in warfare, is often intended to

describe attacks launched by a weaker, or less-well-equipped enemy, as they learn to exploit a stronger opponents vulnerabilities. Asymmetry sometimes leads to unanticipated

outcomes. Asymmetric countermeasures may include actions taken by an enemy to bypass NCW sensors, or to negate the usefulness of high technology weapons. Some examples may include: a. Suicide bombings;




b. c.

Hostile forces intermingling with civilians used as shields; Irregular fighters and close-range snipers that swarm to attack, and then disperse

quickly; d. e. Use of bombs to spread dirty radioactive material; Chemical or biological weapons.

The Fund and Training Problem 31. It will need a large number fund to establish the NCW architecture. Financial

constraints will be a considered problem. In training, it is difficult to fully incorporate the warfighters into the development of NCW. People will require appropriate education and training to utilize increasingly-available information. They will need to use all available system tools to exploit information, and they will need time to adapt to a more open culture, requiring greater sharing and trust between colleagues and coalition partners. The procedural and technical challenges should not be underestimated.


32. Military organizations worldwide are researching and developing NCW. Some

countries, such as Sweden which uses the term Network-Based Defense, may view NCW concepts and the promise of more efficiency and effectiveness through networking with coalition partners, as a way to reduce military budgets. Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands have all adopted the term Network Centric Warfare; Australia uses the term Network-Enabled Warfare; the U.K uses the term Network-Enabled Capability; and, the armed forces of the Republic of Singapore uses the term Knowledge -Based Command and Control. 33. NCW is a new military doctrine or theory of war pioneered by the United States DOD.

It is a key component of DOD planning for transformation of the military. In U.S., there are



following key programs related to NCW that are identified as program elements for research, development, test and evaluation. a. Net Centricity. The Net Centricity program is intended to support information

technology activities for network-centric collaboration. Horizontal Fusion is a component that determines how quickly DOD and intelligence community programs can be extended to a net-centric operational environment. The GIG Evaluation Facility is a component that tests interoperability of key systems in an end-to-end manner, including the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) and the Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion programs. b. Global Information Grid (GIG). The GIG supports DOD and related intelligence

community missions and functions, and enables sharing of information between all military bases, mobile platforms, and deployed sites. The GIG also provides communications interfaces to coalition, allied, and non-DOD users and systems. Older messaging systems, such as the Defense Message System (DMS), Global Command and Control System (GCCS), and the Global Combat Support System (GCSS) will all be made accessible via the GIG. By 2008, military communications equipment use the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) as the standard for all transmission through the GIG. The new IPv6 protocol will reportedly offer greater message security and better tracking of equipment, supplies, and personnel through use of digital tags. c. Air Force Advanced Tactical Targeting Technology (AT3). The AT3 system

combines information collected by an airborne network of sensors to identify the precise location of enemy air defense systems. The system relies on coordination of information from different systems aboard multiple aircraft. d. Air Force Link 16. Tactical Data Links (TDLs) are used in combat for machineto-machine exchange of information messages such as radar tracks, target information, platform status, imagery, and command assignments. The purpose of


this program element is to insure the interoperability of Air Force TDLs. TDLs are used by weapons, platforms, and sensors of all services. Other TDLs include Link 11, Situational AwarFY2eness Data Link (SADL), and Variable Message Format (VMF). Navy Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). The CEC system links Navy ships and aircraft operating in a particular area into a single, integrated airdefense network in which radar data collected by each platform is transmitted on a real-time (i.e., instantaneous) basis to the other units in the network. Each unit in the CEC network fuses its own radar data with data received from the other units. As a result, units in the network share a common, composite, real-time air-defense picture CEC will permit a ship to shoot air-defense missiles at incoming anti-ship missiles that the ship itself cannot see, using radar targeting data gathered by other units in the network. It will also permit air-defense missiles fired by one ship to be guided by other ships or aircraft. e. Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS). DOD has determined that future military

radio frequency communications systems should be developed in compliance with the JTRS architecture. JTRS is a family of common, software-defined,

programmable radios that will initially become the Armys primary tactical radio for mobile communications, including radios that are capable of communicating via satellite. The new JTRS devices will have routers built-in to support networks in the battlefield, with the capability to dynamically re-form communications links whenever one or more nodes or routers are interrupted. Reportedly there is some

disagreement among planners about whether the military should use laser-based communications or JTRS radio waves for the space-to-ground communications link. Currently, the military services use different radio waveforms that have yet to be made interoperable. 34. NATO is currently building a capability for dynamic interoperability with U.S forces in

the future and is developing a framework for high-technology warfare using the combined forces of multiple nations, called NATO Network Enabled Capabilities, similar to the U.S.



militarys Joint Vision 2020. Other NATO hinitiatives for coalition operations include the Multinational Interoperability Program, the Cross System Information Sharing Program, and the Multi-functional Air-based Ground Sensor Fusion Program.


General 35. This is a case study designed to further the examination of the tenets of NCW, which

hypothesizes that a robustly networked force improves information sharing, collaboration, quality of information, and shared situational awareness resulting in significantly increased mission effectiveness.


In the next case study, we shall compare the performance and capabilities of the

Stryker brigade to that of the baseline unit in a number of key dimensions so that we could research about the NCW capabilities of the brigade. The Stryker brigade is equipped with the current generation of army digital terrestrial and satellite communications systems and evolving current-generation battle command systems. Perhaps the most important, it utilizes a new organizational structure and a new information-centric concept of operations. A baseline unit, which we select to use as a comparison to the Stryker brigade, is a nondigitized light infantry brigade. 37. We shall use the NCO Conceptual Framework (CF)specifically, the measures and

metrics that it containsfor assessing the NCW capabilities exhibited by the brigade. The NCO CF provides detailed and precise elaboration of the NCW hypotheses1. Figure.1 illustrates the NCO CF. It depicts key NCW capabilities or attributes and their relationships, influences, and feedback mechanisms.




Figure.1 the NCO Conceptual Framework 38. We shall examine key NCO concepts essential to this NCW hypothesis to determine

how and to what extent they increase the combat effectiveness of the Stryker brigade. The key NCO concepts we examine are: * Degree of networking * Quality of individual and shared information * Quality of interactions and collaboration * Speed of command (a measure of C2 agility) * Degree of command and force synchronization * Several measures for overall unit force effectiveness.

Examination of the NCO Concepts Degree of Networking 39. Degree of networking measures the extent to which force entities are interconnected



and the quality (speed, accuracy, reliability, and assurance) of those connections in exchanging data under a variety of possible scenarios. 40. Here, we shall compare the capabilities of the light infantry brigade network to the

network available in the Stryker brigade. The Stryker brigade network provides substantial capabilities to the soldiers and commanders of this unit and is a significant improvement over the voice-only network in the baseline unit equipped only with Frequency modulation (FM) radio. Table.1 provides an overall summary comparison of the networking and battle command capabilities of Stryker and light infantry brigades.

Table.1 Comparison of Networking and Battle Command Capabilities 41. From above comparison, we can conclude: a. It is apparent that the Stryker brigade has significantly greater capabilities in

several areas. The Stryker brigade digital network is far more capable than the analog voice network available in light infantry brigades. Much less information can be transmitted over voice networks.

b. It also shows the limited information automation support available to soldiers in a light infantry brigade. This means information must be written down to be retained if


it cannot be memorized or remembered by individual soldiers in such units. In contrast, Army Battle Command System (ABCS) enables the soldiers of the Stryker brigade to accurately and quickly post and retrieve information. Quality of Individual and Shared Information 42. Quality of individual information assesses the quality of the information each individual in the force has in his or her possession from all sources, whether generated organically, transmitted over the technical network, or heard in a conversation; Degree of shared information assesses the quality of the information held in common by groups of force members. In addition to assessing quality, this concept assesses the extent to which the information is shared across the group and to what degree of consistency. 43. Through a series of interviews, we shall compare the quality of individual and shared

information in the Stryker brigade versus the light infantry brigade in the Shughart-Gordon attack. These interview questions mainly concerned the NCW metric completeness, the NCW metric accuracy, the metric currency. 44. The primary interview results are following: a. The Stryker brigade had much more complete information (relative to ground

truth) before the Shughart-Gordon attack than the light infantry brigade did. Information about the enemy forces increased from 10 percent to 80 percent. Because of the ABCS network, this situational awareness information was easily shared among the staff and subordinate units within the Stryker brigade. b. Where it used to take 12 hours to receive accurate information about enemy

forces in a light infantry brigade, now any observer in the Stryker brigade can send a spot report in two minutes. Likewise, where it used to take four hours to receive accurate information about friendly forces in the light infantry brigade, now unit location and status are updated every two minutes or 500 meters moved in the




Stryker brigade. Further, the Stryker brigade can adjust these Force XXI Battle Command: Brigade and Below (FBCB2) settings to the desired level. Quality of interactions and Collaboration 45. Quality of interactions assesses the degree to which force members interact with each

other and the quality of those interactions. This concept applies to all interactions between force members, not just technical network-supported data exchanges. It is concerned with interactions between force members at multiple levels, ranging from basic information sharing to detailed characterizations of how effectively an organizations members work together to accomplish mission objectives. Consequently, this concept has many influences throughout the NCO CF, starting with contributing to the quality of information an individual receives from across the force. 46. In the light infantry brigade, the commander was either forward with his subordinate

units before battle to ensure they were prepared and understood his intent or he was in the command post collaborating with his staff during the MDMP. This was an either/or choice. However, in the Stryker brigade, the brigade commander can leverage the network capabilities to do both important tasks. He can be forward with subordinate units and still collaborate with his staff by video-teleconferencing (VTC) in his commanders vehicle. This allows significantly more interaction between commander and staff during planning, making the process better at supporting the commanders decisionmaking and more grounded in reality. 47. The Stryker brigade network significantly improves the quality of interactions and

collaboration compared to that of a non-digital light infantry brigade. Where there was limited interaction by FM radio or group meetings in the light infantry brigade, widespread interaction occurred in the Stryker brigade because every leader is on the ABCS network. 48. The practice of Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) in a nodigital light infantry brigade was generally linear, methodical, and time-consuming. In the Stryker brigade, it is



more abbreviated and flexible. The commander and staff often rapidly move through the MDMP steps issue by issue. Interaction between commander and staff and between brigade and battalions in the Stryker brigade also significantly increased. For example, the brigade staff shared ideas during mission analysis with the brigade commander who was forward checking on battalions. The brigade commander discussed the situation with the battalion commander. Later, the brigade commander shared his concepts for three courses of action with subordinate commanders, asking for their assessment of the situation and recommendations. 49. The Brigade Synchronization Meeting is a key collaboration event for both the light

infantry brigade and the Stryker brigade. In the baseline meeting, the brigade staff and subordinate unit liaison officers arrive with their vastly different understandings of the situation based on limited accurate information, receive a briefing of the friendly and enemy situation using a map, and then wargame interaction with the enemy to identify tasks for friendly forces to synchronize combined-arms effects during the next 2448 hours. In the Stryker brigade meeting, the participants arrive with a much-improved shared understanding of the situation, access the ABCS to have real-time accurate understanding of the situation during the planning meeting, and conduct wargame interactions with the enemy to identify tasks for friendly forces to synchronize combined-arms effects. The key differences are that time available for planning is better spent and that planning is based on a more accurate starting point, so future plans are more likely to be relevant and effective. The product of the Stryker brigade synchronization meeting is an order that is easily understood and executable by subordinate units based on shared anticipatory awareness. Quality of Shared Awareness and Understanding 50. Quality of shared awareness and understand assesses the extent to which the

information is shared across the group and to what degree of consistency.


In the light infantry brigade, each leader estimated his own and enemy locations by




land navigation techniques. Widely different spot reports about friendly and enemy locations are sent via FM radio to higher headquarters. Because no post-and-retrieve capability resides on these voice nets, leaders may miss important information from monitoring two nets simultaneously. The bottom line: there is no COP in the baseline, which results in a very low level of shared awareness and understanding. 52. In contrast, ABCS provides each leader in the Stryker brigade with a COP containing

relatively accurate and timely information about friendly and enemy forces. The various kinds of information display the represent COP. This COP represented by the MCS screen easily facilitates shared awareness. Meanwhile, the Striker brigade uses the Command Information Centers (CIC) at brigade and battalion levels as the primary tool to build shared awareness and understanding within the command posts and among members of the unit. The light infantry brigade has no equivalent CIC. This system manages the critical information the brigade needs to know to win the fight. 53. Another valuable tool used to build shared awareness and understanding in the Stryker

brigade are digital military overlays in FBCB2 and Maneuver Control System (MCS). Military overlays are the pictures that build the COP and accompany the text of operation orders; they are used to understand the situation and the plan. In the light infantry brigade, overlays were reproduced by hand, copied individually onto acetate, and displayed on distinct paper mapsan extremely cumbersome process that was inaccurate, untimely, and largely irrelevant. Agile Decisionmaking and Self-Synchronization 54. Agile Decisionmaking and Self-Synchronization assesses the forces ability to operate effectively and efficiently in an uncertain environment and whether the complete set of decisions made by the force are synchronized with each other (i.e., mutually reinforcing) or at least deconflicted. 55. The NCW capabilities in the Stryker brigade afford the commander agile



decisionmaking. The Stryker brigade made more effective use of the time available through abbreviated collaborative planning, sending digital mission-type orders, conducting effective brigade reconnaissance, sharing understanding of the situation, fielding agile, selfsynchronizing infantry battalions. In contrast, the light infantry brigade requires more time for planning and distributing detailed paper orders to subordinates and conducting battalion reconnaissance and has the difficulty sharing understanding of the plan and the requirement to rehearse planned force synchronization. 56. One example of improved self-synchronization and tempo during the Shughart-Gordon

attack facilitated by NCW capabilities was this decision to attack early. The Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) squadron successfully identified enemy forces in the disruption zone and in Shughart-Gordon. The lead infantry battalion bypassed enemy forces in the disruption zone and quickly isolated the objective. The main-effort infantry battalion planned to attack at 0400 on May 25, but actually attacked at 1500 on May 2413 hours early. Force Effectiveness 57. Force effectiveness assesses the forces actions by evaluating the forces achievement

of mission objectives and avoidance of costs. 58. Here, supposed that both the Stryker brigade and the light infantry brigade receive the

mission at the same time (1200 on Day 1) and have same No Later Than time to attack (0400 on Day 4), we shall compare both units mission accomplishment. A time line of key events is shown at figure 2. 59. From above the analysis of mission accomplishment, we can see that NCW capabilities

in the Stryker brigade actually afford the commander greater control of the speed of command. He can decide to act faster to maintain tempo and retain the initiative or he can delay selection of a course of action to conduct reconnaissance and shaping operations based on which affords him the greatest tactical advantage. The Stryker brigade demonstrated



improved mission accomplishment and survivability.

Figure.2 A Time Line of Key Events

60. The emergence of the concept of NCW represents a significant milestone in the

evolution of military thinking on how to integrate information technology into military operations. Studies have shown that networking enables forces to undertake a different range of missions than non-networked forces, by improving both efficiency and effectiveness of operations. NCW uses computers and communications to link people through information flows that depend on the interoperability of systems used by all armed forces. NCW involves collaboration and sharing of information to ensure that all appropriate assets can be quickly brought to bear by commanders during combat operations. NCW has been advanced as a means of transforming information superiority into an advantage on the physical battlefield.




The concept of NCW covers a wide range of issues. It seeks to further exploit information technology and significantly enhance the combat power. (Paragraphs 7-14) 61. The technology supporting NCW is inherently complex. It focuses on using advanced

information technology computers, high-speed data links, and networking software. A host of information technologies provide capabilities needed to facilitate the sharing of information, the creation of high quality awareness, and the development of shared situational awareness. These falls into the following categories: collection, exploitation, storage, retrieval, distribution, collaborative environments, presentation, information operations and assurance, and the technologies that help extract knowledge and understanding from data and information. These knowledge-related technologies include a variety of analyses, modeling, simulation, problem solving, and other decision support tools. Enormous advances in information technology have enabled the development of NetworkCentric Warfare in recent years. (Paragraphs 15-22) 62. The ultimate advantage of NCW is the ability to generate better actions to realize better effects and thus lead to success on operations. In the short term, as network capability improves, shared information will become more readily available. Routine tasks will be automated, and the new standard operating procedures and working practices will enable higher-tempo operations. With the ability to reach back and across to a broad range of information sources, we will be able to develop a better shared understanding of the situation. This will enable improvements to the quality and tempo of decision-making, which in turn will lead to more coherent, co-current and responsive actions, resulting in more timely and appropriate effects. (Paragraphs 23-24) 63. While NCW may improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of combat operations,

it still have some questions, such as, the information overloaded, the information overrated, the interoperability of information systems for joint and coalition forces, a shortage of available bandwidth to support NCW operations, the network architectures vulnerabilities, asymmetric threats to counter NCW, and the fund and training problem, etc. These problems




interfere with true NCW application. (Paragraphs 25-31) 64. The development of NCW is essential. It specializes in designing and building physical

security and emergency response systems coupled with the cost-efficient use of hardware and software. Some key military programs for implementing NCW are developing in U.S. At the same time, other countries also are researching and developing NCW. (Paragraphs 32-34) 65. By conducting NCW, the armed forces will gain and exploit and information advantage to result in significantly increased mission effectiveness. We compare the Stryker brigade that is one of the newest units in the U.S. Army to a non-digitized light infantry brigade. Thought this case study, we will understand the extent to which NCW capabilities are a source of combat power for the Stryker brigade and to determine the extent to which the tenets of the NCW hypothesis are realized by this new type of unit. (Paragraphs 35-59)

66. From the above study on NCW, we can see that NCW is a theory that is being tested as

part of an ongoing research program. The following four key actions are recommended to develop NCW in the coming years: a. Setting the NCW-related targets and milestones; b. Establishing the network that will link engagement systems with sensor and

command and control systems; c. Develop the human dimension of the networked force by changing doctrine,

training and education to prepare Defense personnel to operate in a NCW environment; d. And accelerate the process of change and innovation through the Rapid

Prototyping, Development and Evaluation (RPDE, or RAPID) agency, with an increased use of experimentation to accelerate the development of NCW capability.





In recognizing the risk of over-dependence on the tools, the ability to operate

independently (or at a platform centric level) must be maintained and practiced. While redundancy and security of the network are being addressed in establishing the NCW construct, the warfighters must continue to train to function in a non-NCW environment. NCW is a long-term change programme. It will be some years until the communications systems, information systems, operational procedures and knowledge will come together into this improved approach to military operations.

Mirpur Cantonment

Liu Jizhou Major

November 2007

Student Officer




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