[ISN] Buying Into Networked Warfare

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Mon May 18 1998 - 16:56:08 PDT

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05at_private>
    By Bryan Bender Washington DC.
    The US Navy (USN) is embarking on an ambitious, multi-billion-dollar
    project to create a 21st-century fleet equipped with state-of-the - art
    information technologies and possessing the doctrine and organisational
    structures required to use these new tools effectively. 
    "Network-centric warfare" is the USN's answer to the information
    revolution and is expected to change the nature of naval and marine
    operations, in part by introducing a broad field of ground-breaking
    technologies. With this wide range of new information technologies,
    paramount among them a global information service, the USN is poised to
    become, at all levels, the most well-informed naval force in history. 
    A key piece of network-centric warfare will be the introduction of an
    "information backplane", a global information service with advanced
    networking capabilities. The USN has established the Information
    Technology for the 21st century (IT-21) programme to develop such a global
    IT-21, a heterogeneous transport and computing environment, will include
    technologies such as automated switching and satellite terminals; 
    fibre-optic local area networks for all ships and facilities; asynchronous
    transfer mode (ATM) communications; tactical data links such as the
    Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and Link 16; and other high-end
    information systems. 
    Other pieces include advanced sensors and sensor platforms; extended
    weapons reach; and command and control applications that can provide
    forces with the commander's intent. 
    According to Vice Adm Arthur Cebrowski, USN director of space, information
    warfare and command and control and a founding father of the concept,
    network-centric warfare will dramatically improve the navy's response
    time.  This will be made possible through "self-synchronisation", or the
    force's ability to organise itself from the bottom up.
    Self-synchronisation depends on how well-informed the force is, including
    how much it knows about itself, its environment, friendly units and the
    enemy. In the past, Adm Cebrowski told Jane's Defence Weekly, "we simply
    have been unable to inform the force". Self-synchronisation "is something
    we always wanted to do. The enabler for that now is the information
    "When we can [self-synchronise] we find there are dramatic effects,
    quantifiable normally in terms of response time." Faster response time
    "translates to impact and the shock and awe effect that you want your
    military to have. The objective here is not to make it easier for America
    to go to war, but [network-centric warfare] should make a favourable
    outcome more certain," he stressed. 
    One development that helped convince Adm Cebrowski and other navy leaders
    that the network-centric approach has great potential was its application
    by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The NYPD, with its force of
    140,000 officers engaged in what Adm Cebrowski calls "low-level urban
    conflict", has used the concept to fight crime and has met with dramatic
    results. "The principals have great applicability there and that has been
    validated by the sharply falling crime rate in New York City," Adm
    Cebrowski said. 
    The case of the NYPD illustrates how network-centric warfare will be
    applied to all military activities, including peacekeeping and
    humanitarian assistance. "The concept of network-centric warfare is meant
    to apply to all military activities," Adm Cebrowski said. "That shouldn't
    come as a surprise since we drew the concepts out of the civilian world." 
    Given the likelihood of coalition operations with US allies and other
    government and non-government organisations in the future,
    interoperability will be crucial if network-centric warfare is to work.
    "If you are not interoperable in the command and control context you are
    incapable of informing. To be less interoperable amounts to a decision to
    be less informed," said Adm Cebrowski. 
    Adm Cebrowski stresses, however, that network-centric warfare is far more
    than just technology. Knowing what to do with the information will be just
    as important as the information itself. "This has more to do with how one
    uses technology than it does with a shopping list of futuristic devices," 
    he said. "In fact, there is very little futuristic about it" considering
    many of the technologies are already available in the commercial
    marketplace. "This has to do with operational concepts, doctrine, tactics,
    strategy and organisation" and "treating warfare as a system that requires
    all the component parts to be working in balance." 
    Through satellite connectivity, commanders worldwide can join the network. 
    It allows for inclusion of US and allied forces, making joint operations
    more effective. 
    Fleet and battle force commanders develop the overall battle plans. The
    network's teleconferencing capabilities are used to issue commands to all
    Information on enemy capabilities and locations is provided to the
    amphibious ready group and landing force. Information maximises the
    chances of success. 
    A submarine receives the latest satellite imagery and launches an unmanned
    aerial vehicle to provide up-to-date reconnaissance F/A-18 Hornets receive
    imagery of target areas from the network. Pilots are provided with
    real-time information on threats and targets.  A SEALteam provides
    on-scene digital imagery of potential targets and enemy movements via
    satellite to the battle network. 
    Source: All Hands; Graphic: Jane's.
    Volume 029/019
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