Friday, January 16, 2004

Network-Centric Warfare

From The Information Warfare Site, a revealing look at the future of American military strategy and operations.
The term "network-centric warfare" broadly describes the combination of emerging tactics, techniques and procedures that a fully or even partially networked force can employ to create a decisive warfighting advantage.

NCW increases combat power by networking sensors, decision makers, shooters and their weapons platforms to achieve shared situation awareness, increased speed of command, high tempo of operations, greater lethality, increased survivability and a degree of self-synchronization.


[Visualize] the special forces soldier in Afghanistan, who, while riding a horse with Northern Alliance forces, was calling in air support.

"So what you had was a B-2 or B-52 pilot -- who didn't know this guy, didn't know his frequency, had no knowledge of how that guy was operating -- getting the word he wanted a bomb, and it would happen," Stenbit said. "That's an enormous change."

He refers to this type of operating mode as Smart Push -- the ability to gather data from a lot of sources, put it together and make decisions based on the data.


[T]he goal now is to get from Smart Push to what he calls Smart Pull – the ability to give warfighters the freedom not to be locked into either time or space, so they can obtain the information they need at the moment they need it, regardless of where they are.

And that's where the concept of NCW comes into play.

Stenbit said it involves moving from the broadcast TV paradigm to the paradigm of the Internet.


Stenbit said the primary barrier to achieving the Internet paradigm is bandwidth.

"We have to have an infrastructure of communications which has enough bandwidth in it to allow, for instance, three people to pull the same data at the same time – because if you're going to Smart Pull, you need more communications or it won't work," Stenbit explained. "Then you need to put the data and applications on the network – not in a way that's pre-aligned against a task, but much more openly, so that it's more like the Internet."