Author Topic: Revolution In Military Affairs: The agenda behind all manufactured enemies/wars  (Read 24178 times)

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Offline squarepusher

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This is an extremely important editorial that has gone shamefully unnoticed. Everyone on this forum should read this. It's a year old and counting, but a lot of the names and terms it brings up still do not seem to have seeped into the public consciousness.

Here are a couple of the key terms - see, you have to use the same nomenclature as the enemy to defeat their psy-ops and propaganda.

There are a couple of words we have to 'institutionalize' next to 'New World Order', 'Bilderberger' and so on.

Revolution in Military Affairs = Also abbreviated as RMA

Network-centric warfare = old name for Network-centric operations

Effects-based operations
= a nice-sounding term that I personally would rename to 'Effects-based terrorism'. It could also be an euphemism for 'precision targeting'.

Webster Tarpley is on the ball lately since he does seem to be aware of the Office of Net Assessment, and 'Andrew Marshall', the self-purported 'Yoda' of the Defense Department. But he still doesn't bring up the 'RMA' and why it is relevant to this entire re-moulding of society into the Prisonplanet, panoptical command and control grid it now resembles.

I think one should make an effort to try to bring all this info to Tarpley and make him aware of all the stuff surrounding Dark Winter, Ruth David, the RMA, Net-centric warfare, the Global Information Grid, and so on. It might even change the tune of his 'pro-technology/pro-science' argument.

Anyway, onto the article:,news-comment,news-politics,revolution-in-military-affairs-theory-andrew-marshall-afghanistan-war-iraq-usa-army-britain

Revolution in Military Affairs: It's why we're there
By Matthew Carr
LAST UPDATED 5:43 PM, JULY 24, 2009

With British soldiers dying almost every day in Helmand province, and military funeral corteges in rural English towns becoming a familiar sight, the mounting death toll has renewed the debate over Britain's involvement in a chaotic conflict with no clear objectives and no coherent strategy for achieving them.

While the military calls for more helicopters, and pro-war media pundits talk bullishly of staying the course regardless of whether the course leads anywhere, it is worth asking how we found ourselves in this situation.

Those looking for answers would do well to consider an 89-year-old American defence intellectual called Andrew Marshall. The director of a little-known Pentagon thinktank called the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), Marshall is one of the most influential advocates of the doctrine of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), which has done so much to underpin the Anglo-American wars of recent years.

The RMA refers to a recurring historical cycle, in which certain countries or groups of countries achieve a level of military supremacy in terms of technology and organisation that makes them unbeatable - until their rivals catch up or overtake them.

The US must use this window of opportunity to eliminate its rivals

Examples of this tendency include the Greek city states, the Roman Empire, Genghis Khan and the early French armies of the Napoleonic era. In the wake of the Cold War, Marshall argued that the United States was similarly unchallengeable.

Marshall's acolytes, who included Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and the neocon militarists of the Project for the New American Century, argued that the US should use this temporary window of opportunity to eliminate or neutralise its potential rivals.

The fearsome demonstrations of firepower in the first Gulf War and Kosovo reinforced the belief that American-led wars could be won at very little cost. Unlike Vietnam, removing Iraqi troops from Kuwait cost very few coalition casualties, while the Nato bombardment of Serbia was achieved without any loss of life on its own side.

On the one hand these successes make war an increasingly attractive first instrument of foreign policy rather than a last resort. At the same time the RMA made war more palatable to the public, since the technological expertise of these wars made them relatively painless for the other side as well as ours.

"RMA made war more palatable to the public, since the technological expertise of these wars made them relatively painless for the other side as well as ours. Tight control over media coverage of these wars forged the illusion that war could be relatively bloodless and painless"

Tight control over media coverage of these wars, coupled with propaganda talk of surgical strikes, smart bombs and 'humanitarian' warfare forged the illusion that war could be relatively bloodless and painless.

Last but not least, the RMA was presented as the instrument of a progressive moral agenda, in which Western armies fought not to advance strategic or economic interests, but to defend women's rights, prevent genocide, export democracy, or bring development.

Such rhetoric enabled both the US and British governments to overcome the anti-militarist sentiments of their populations, especially after the September 11 attacks. In this way the RMA became part of the 'imperial hubris' that drove the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

"After September 11, the RMA became part of the 'imperial hubris' that drove the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq."

At first, these wars seemed to bear out the RMA thesis, as high-tech Western weaponry swatted the Taliban and crushed Saddam Hussein's broken army. But the bloody occupations that followed have unravelled this sense of omnipotence. (My note: Here is where the author has it wrong. The 'counterinsurgencies' were not a case of 'unintended consequences' - 'counterinsurgencies' are part of RMA strategy and doctrine!!! This is actually underlined by a July 1994 document entitled 'The Revolution In Military Affairs And Conflict Short Of War'. And behold, it talks of 'fake' counterinsurgencies with 'fake', 'computer-generated', face morphed insurgency leaders who might not even exist. Remember folks, this document is by the goddamn US Army War College. These are not two-bit homeless jackasses with too much time on their hands making shit up - this is reality.

Going off my tangent here, Alexander Levis was also involved in the counterinsurgency - he developed the software specifically for mapping out adversarial intent. I might have to link to the article in this same thread)

Andrew Marshall is one of the most influential advocates of the doctrine of Revolution in Military Affairs

 In Iraq, the Anglo-American invasion was brought to the brink of strategic defeat by a brutal guerrilla war that it had not anticipated. A similar process is unfolding in Afghanistan. These 'new' wars of the RMA have given way to the older doctrines of counterinsurgency, even as the body count continues to demonstrate that war is not bloodless or cost-free.

This did not matter, as long as the natives were the ones who were dying, uncounted and offstage. But now British soldiers are being killed and the public wants to know why.

They will not get straight answers from the clueless and dishonest Brown government, which insists that British troops are preventing Afghanistan from becoming a launchpad for terrorist attacks in Britain.

But the truth is we are there because we chose to hitch our fortunes to an arrogant and deluded superpower intoxicated by its unlimited military power. And with every coffin that comes home from Afghanistan, the wisdom of riding shotgun on the RMA becomes more questionable.

Here is what the author of that piece should pursue further - he should look at the long-term plans behind the Revolution in Military Affairs. It isn't 'just' to wage war and gain military supremacy - it's to 'remould society' entirely into the 'information age' where everything you do is tracked, monitored, datamined and where every 'thought', and every 'idea', can become 'patentable' and can be protected by intellectual copyright law. Free-thinking, sentient people will all await death or be begging to be killed because their fellow men and women will be so utterly dumbed down and debased that they no longer wish to remain in this world. Then these 'workers' (using Marxist parlance here for a minute) will be replaced by nanotech factories, their fellow human debased peers will volunteer to become transhumanist ghouls, and then another 'strategic shock' will kick in - the 'bioshock' or rather the 'transhuman shock'. Several 'predictive programming' movies and games have already been made about this, including Animatrix and Bioshock. This will happen - guaranteed.

Lastly, a large part behind this re-moulding of society is 'privatizing' government and the military and intelligence agencies. That's why Dr Ruth David, when she was still 'officially' at the CIA, created the business concept for In-Q-Tel, that's why she's now a 'sleeper agent'/'CIA agent in drag' working for ANSER and ushering in all kinds of national security bullshit and forging ties with private industry. That's also why you have all these PMCS now - and that's also the reason why Erik Prince, an admitted CIA agent, got to set up Blackwater - because that was his 'assignment'. These are 'undercover' spies for the CIA who are fulfilling the role of the proverbial pied piper of Hamelin. One PMC is founded, a lot of press and attention is garnered, and all of a sudden everybody and his dog wants his own PMC. That is human nature - but key here is who creates the 'trend'. And it always traces back to the same people apparently.
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Offline squarepusher

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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 09:33:59 pm »
Here it is BTW for anyone who wants to see it - I will follow this up tomorrow with some key quotes from this extremely damning document. This document basically confirms that the whole Al-Zarqawi thing was staged, as were the counterinsurgencies and that whole 'surge' thing in Iraq which are part of RMA doctrine.

'The Revolution In Military Affairs And Conflict Short Of War" - Steven Metz and James Kievit, July 25, 1994

Look at it this way - if you look at the War in Iraq as an RMA testing ground, here are the sequence of events:
1 - Operation Enduring Freedom - the initial invasion - 'effects-based operations' are tested out - this is one of the areas of RMA that needed testing out.
2 - Once the 'mission was accomplished', gut the country entirely, create anarchy or fake counterinsurgencies to some extent, create faked beheadings, and then test out the second area of RMA that needed testing - namely, 'counterinsurgency'.

They're using a checklist here.
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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2010, 02:37:21 pm »
Here it is BTW for anyone who wants to see it - I will follow this up tomorrow with some key quotes from this extremely damning document. This document basically confirms that the whole Al-Zarqawi thing was staged, as were the counterinsurgencies and that whole 'surge' thing in Iraq which are part of RMA doctrine.

'The Revolution In Military Affairs And Conflict Short Of War" - Steven Metz and James Kievit, July 25, 1994

Look at it this way - if you look at the War in Iraq as an RMA testing ground, here are the sequence of events:

1 - Operation Enduring Freedom - the initial invasion - 'effects-based operations' are tested out - this is one of the areas of RMA that needed testing out.
2 - Once the 'mission was accomplished', gut the country entirely, create anarchy or fake counterinsurgencies to some extent, create faked beheadings, and then test out the second area of RMA that needed testing - namely, 'counterinsurgency'.

They're using a checklist here.

Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future
By Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski, U.S. Navy, and John J. Garstka

Arising from fundamental changes in American society and business, military operations increasingly will capitalize on the advances and advantages of information technology.

Here at the end of a millennium we are driven to a new era in warfare. Society has changed. The underlying economics and technologies have changed. American business has changed. We should be surprised and shocked if America's military did not.

For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved with military technologies. Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war. Who can make war is changing as a result of weapons proliferation and the fact that the tools of war increasingly are marketplace commodities. By extension, these affect the where, the when, and the how of war.

We are in the midst of a revolution in military affairs (RMA) unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age, when France transformed warfare with the concept of levŽe en masse.1 Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jay Johnson has called it "a fundamental shift from what we call platform-centric warfare to something we call network-centric warfare,"2 and it will prove to be the most important RMA in the past 200 years.

Network-centric warfare and all of its associated revolutions in military affairs grow out of and draw their power from the fundamental changes in American society. These changes have been dominated by the co-evolution of economics, information technology, and business processes and organizations, and they are linked by three themes:

    * The shift in focus from the platform to the network
    * The shift from viewing actors as independent to viewing them as part of a continuously adapting ecosystem
    * The importance of making strategic choices to adapt or even survive in such changing ecosystems3

These themes have changed the nature of American business today, and they also have changed and will continue to change the way we conduct the sometimes violent business of the military. We are some distance from a detailed understanding of the new operations--there is as yet no equivalent to Carl von Clausewitz's On War for this second revolution--but we can gain some insight through the general observation that nations make war the same way they make wealth.

The Underlying Economics Have Changed

The organizing principle of network-centric warfare has its antecedent in the dynamics of growth and competition that have emerged in the modern economy. The new dynamics of competition are based on increasing returns on investment, competition within and between ecosystems, and competition based on time. Information technology (IT) is central to each of these.

The U.S. economy has been on a steady growth path generally attributed to the emergence of larger global markets, the globalization of labor and capital, and the widespread application of information technology within business enterprises.4 To get an idea of the magnitude of investment in information technology, consider the fact that the information technology sector--only a small fraction of the economy (3% in 1996)--has been the largest contributor to growth in gross domestic product. In 1996, its contribution was 33%, with an average of 27% over the past three years.5 Within this sector, competition based on increasing returns has emerged as a new dynamic.

The preponderance of competition in the economy is characterized by decreasing returns on investment. Referred to here as "Economy A," it is characterized by stability, market share equilibrium, and decreasing returns on investment. Competing products or services are interchangeable, and multiple companies provide roughly comparable goods and services. As a result, there is no mechanism for product lock-in. Efforts to increase market share yield decreasing returns on investment because of constraints in intellectual capital, physical plant, or distribution or because of the response of a competitor.

Competition based on increasing returns is different. "Economy B" is the much smaller but much discussed part of the economy characterized by extraordinary growth and wealth generation, increasing returns on investment, the absence of market share equilibrium, and the emergence of mechanisms for product lock-in.6 It is the engine for America's powerhouse economy. Competing products are based on competing standards, are not necessarily interoperable, or require skill sets that are not easily transferable. This is especially true of key types of information technology, such as video cassette recorders, personal computers, and communications technology. In addition, in key sectors of Economy B, the laws of supply and demand that govern Economy A have been turned on their heads. As demand for personal computers increases, for example, price for constant performance decreases.

In Economy B, a product or product standard attains such a dominant position that consumers drop competing products because of concerns about the availability of "content" or product support or because they prefer a familiar product based on existing skills or content. In the case of the typewriter, lock-in was based on the skill set associated with the "QWERTY" keyboard. For the VCR, lock-in was based on the VHS price/performance advantage over Beta and was reinforced by the content providers' decision to release movies in VHS format. Everyone who bought Beta switched and lock-in was achieved.

With personal computers, lock-in of the Windows-Intel (WINTEL) standard emerged as a result of multiple factors that combined to reduce the intially dominant Apple Computer technology to a niche. An important early advantage was a new business computing application (the spreadsheet) optimized to run on the DOS-Intel standard introduced by IBM. In the first three months after the introduction of Lotus 1-2-3, IBM's PC sales tripled. This initial success was reinforced by a superior licensing strategy, the emergence of PC clones, and the decision by software vendors to develop applications first for the ecosystem with the largest market share--WINTEL.7

Locking-out competition and locking-in success can occur quickly, even overnight. We seek an analogous effect in warfare.

The Underlying Technologies Have Changed

Information technology is undergoing a fundamental shift from platform-centric computing to network-centric computing. Platform-centric computing emerged with the widespread proliferation of personal computers in business and in the home. The significant investment the IT sector makes in research and development and product development (in some cases up to 18% of sales) has led to key technologies that have created the conditions for the emergence of network-centric computing.

This shift is most obvious in the explosive growth of the internet, intranets, and extranets.8 Internet users no doubt will recognize transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), hypertext markup language (HTML), Web browsers (such as Netscape Navigator, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer), search engines, and JavaTM Computing.9 These technologies, combined with high-volume, high-speed data access (enabled by the low-cost laser) and technologies for high-speed data networking (hubs and routers) have led to the emergence of network-centric computing. Information "content" now can be created, distributed, and easily exploited across the extremely heterogeneous global computing environment.

Network-centric computing is governed by Metcalfe's Law, which asserts that the "power" of a network is proportional to the square of the number of nodes in the network.10 The "power" or "payoff" of network-centric computing comes from information-intensive interactions between very large numbers of heterogeneous computational nodes in the network. Sun Microsystems may have been the first to point out that it is not so much about the computer as it is about the computer in the networked condition. Under fierce competitive pressure, and sensing a strategic opportunity in this fundamental shift in computing, IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner announced that IBM was moving to network-centric computing.11 The compelling business logic for this shift in strategy was the opportunity for IBM to link its heterogeneous computing lines more effectively and provide increased value for its customers. This is the same value proposition we seek in warfare.

The Business of America Has Changed

The emergence of the dynamic and unstable Economy B has changed the American way of business significantly. First, many firms have shifted their focus to the much larger, adaptive, learning ecosystems in which they operate. Not all actors in an ecosystem are enemies (competitors); some can have symbiotic relationships with each other. For such closely coupled relationships, the sharing of information can lead to superior results. Second, time has increased in importance. Agile firms use superior awareness to gain a competitive advantage and compress timelines linking suppliers and customers. Even firms that operate in Economy A have found ways to harness Economy B technologies and techniques to increase efficiency and productivity. Central to these developments is the shift to network-centric operations, which are characterized by information-intensive interactions between computational nodes on the network. Whether these interactions are focused on commerce, education, or military operations, there is "value" that is derived from the content, quality, and timeliness of information moving between nodes on the network.12 This value increases as information moves toward 100% relevant content, 100% accuracy, and zero time delay--toward information superiority.

Dominant competitors across a broad range of areas have made the shift to network-centric operations--and have translated information superiority into significant competitive advantage13--but the benefits are particularly apparent in transaction-intensive operations, such as retailing and securities trading. Wal-Mart and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell are two firms that have made the shift to network-centric operations. (See "Information Superiority" sidebar). Both have gained tremendous competitive advantages by co-evolving their organizations and processes to exploit information technology. Characteristic of big winners, they employ network-centric operational architectures that consist of a high-powered information backplane (or information grid), a sensor grid, and a transaction grid. These architectures provide the ability to generate and sustain very high levels of competitive space awareness, which is translated into competitive advantage.

Leading U.S. firms have come to understand and employ this network calculus well.

    * The shift from platform to network is what enables the more flexible and more dynamic (and profitable) network-centric operation. Therefore, the construction of high-quality networks is their top priority.
    * The shift from viewing partners as independent to viewing partners as part of a continuously adapting ecosystem increases speed and profitability in both sales and production. Therefore, they have developed high-speed sensor grids and automated command-and-control systems closely coupled with their transaction grids.
    * The key to market dominance lies in making strategic choices appropriate to changing ecosystems. Simply pursuing operational effectiveness while adhering to an obsolete strategy is a formula for failure.

How Can the Military Not Change?

Network-centric operations deliver to the U.S. military the same powerful dynamics as they produced in American business. At the strategic level, the critical element for both is a detailed understanding of the appropriate competitive space--all elements of battlespace and battle time. Operationally, the close linkage among actors in business ecosystems is mirrored in the military by the linkages and interactions among units and the operating environment. Tactically, speed is critical. At the structural level, network-centric warfare requires an operational architecture with three critical elements: sensor grids and transaction (or engagement) grids hosted by a high-quality information backplane. They are supported by value-adding command-and-control processes, many of which must be automated to get required speed.

Network-centric warfare enables a shift from attrition-style warfare to a much faster and more effective warfighting style characterized by the new concepts of speed of command and self-synchronization. Attrition is the traditional "Economy A" analogue because it yields decreasing returns on investment. Reversals are possible, and frequently the outcome is in doubt.

Network-centric warfare, where battle time plays a critical role, is analogous to the new economic model, with potentially increasing returns on investment. Very high and accelerating rates of change have a profound impact on the outcome, "locking-out" alternative enemy strategies and "locking-in" success. There are two complementary ways that this is accomplished:

    * Network-centric warfare allows our forces to develop speed of command.
    * Network-centric warfare enables forces to organize from the bottom up--or to self-synchronize--to meet the commander's intent.

Speed of command has three parts: (1) The force achieves information superiority, having a dramatically better awareness or understanding of the battlespace rather than simply more raw data. Technologically, this will require excellent sensors, fast and powerful networks, display technology, and sophisticated modeling and simulation capabilities. (2) Forces acting with speed, precision, and reach achieve the massing of effects versus the massing of forces. (3) The results that follow are the rapid foreclosure of enemy courses of action and the shock of closely coupled events. This disrupts the enemy's strategy and, it is hoped, stops something before it starts. One of the strengths of network-centric warfare is its potential, within limits, to offset a disadvantage in numbers, technology, or position.

Speed of command facilitates the lock-out phenomenon observed in Economy B, but with even more powerful effects. Lock-out often takes years to achieve in business, but in warfare it can be achieved in weeks or less.

The joint suppression of air defense mission provides an example at the tactical level of how the increased combat power associated with network-centric operations can contribute to speed of command and lock-out. The High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) is used to suppress or destroy enemy surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites. When we employ platform-centric operations in this scenario, we achieve virtually no kills. The HARM still will suppress the SAM sites--because site operators realize that these missiles are out there and so adjust their behavior--but those sites will stay there through the duration of the war. Consequently, aircraft that carry HARM missiles have to fly throughout the entire campaign, and all strike aircraft continue to be at risk. By shifting to modern digital technology, we can increase battlespace awareness to yield increased combat power, with more targets destroyed. But if, through co-evolution of systems, organization, and doctrine, we introduce other shooters that are capable of attacking SAM sites, such as ATACMS, and employ them as part of an engagement grid, virtually all of the sites can be destroyed in the same amount of time. It is easy to focus on the number of sites destroyed, but the payoff is in the initial very high rate of change. When 50% of something important to the enemy is destroyed at the outset, so is his strategy. That stops wars--which is what network-centric warfare is all about.

Military operations are enormously complex, and complexity theory tells us that such enterprises organize best from the bottom-up. Traditionally, however, military commanders work to obtain top-down command-directed synchronization to achieve the required level of mass and fires at the point of contact with the enemy. Because each element of the force has a unique operating rhythm, and because errors in force movement needlessly consume combat power, combat at the operational level is reduced to a step function, which takes time and provides opportunity to the enemy. After the initial engagement, there is an operational pause, and the cycle repeats.

In contrast, bottom-up organization yields self-synchronization, where the step function becomes a smooth curve, and combat moves to a high-speed continuum. The "Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) Loop" appears to disappear, and the enemy is denied the operational pause. Regaining this time and combat power amplifies the effects of speed of command, accelerating the rate of change and leading to lock-out. Self-synchronization was illustrated during the Taiwan Straits crisis. In 1995, when the People's Republic of China attempted to influence Taiwanese elections with some high-quality saber rattling, the United States quickly dispatched carrier battle groups, and the situation seemed to settle out. For our purposes, the most exciting part of that story was the fundamentally different way that command and control was exercised. Then-Vice Admiral Clemins, as Commander, Seventh Fleet, and his subordinates reduced their planning timelines from days to hours. This order of magnitude change suggests that something very fundamental is happening.

One reason we say that no plan survives initial contact with the enemy is because situational awareness does not. In platform-centric military operations, situational awareness steadily deteriorates. It is reestablished periodically, but it only then deteriorates again. Network-centric operations such as those used in the Taiwan Straits example create a higher awareness, and allow it to be maintained. Such awareness will improve our ability to deter conflict, or to prevail if conflict becomes unavoidable. This is not just a matter of introducing new technology; this is a matter of the co-evolution of that technology with operational concepts, doctrine, and organization. The enabler, of course, is technology. In the Taiwan case, Admiral Clemins was able to use e-mail, a very graphic-rich environment, and video teleconferencing to achieve the effect he wanted.

Network-centric operations can increase combat power. For example, more enemy surface-to-air missile sites could be destroyed more quickly if platforms carrying High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles were combined with other shooters--such as ATACMS--and employed as part of an engagement grid.

We are beginning to see the broad impact of network-centric warfare throughout the fleet, as key technology building blocks are deployed. In early 1997, a single aircraft carrier in the western Pacific sent 54,000 e-mails in one month--about half the amount of all of the traditional message traffic that was sent in Western Pacific during the same time. That is an example of a very complex outfit organizing itself from the bottom up. Now it is the norm. Such capabilities enable a move into the realm of speed of command. Questions decrease because ambiguity decreases, collegiality increases, and timelines shorten.
The Emerging Logical Model

The structural or logical model for network-centric warfare has emerged. The entry fee is a high-performance information grid that provides a backplane for computing and communications. The information grid enables the operational architectures of sensor grids and engagement grids. Sensor grids rapidly generate high levels of battlespace awareness and synchronize awareness with military operations. Engagement grids exploit this awareness and translate it into increased combat power.14 Many key elements of these grids are in place or available. For example, at the planning level, the elements of a DoD-wide intranet are emerging. To assure interoperability, all elements of the grids must be compliant with the Joint Technical Architecture and the Defense Information Infrastructure common operating environment. However, their full integration into a more powerful warfighting ecosystem is only partially complete.

Logical Model for Network-Centric Warfare

Emerging Architecture for Network-Centric Warfare

This is not theory--it is happening now. For example, new classes of threats have required increased defensive combat power for joint forces. The combat power that has emerged--the cooperative engagement capability (CEC)--was enabled by a shift to network-centric operations.15 CEC combines a high-performance sensor grid with a high-performance engagement grid. The sensor grid rapidly generates engagement quality awareness, and the engagement grid translates this awareness into increased combat power. This power is manifested by high probability engagements against threats capable of defeating a platform-centric defense. The CEC sensor grid fuses data from multiple sensors to develop a composite track with engagement quality, creating a level of battlespace awareness that surpasses whatever can be created with stand-alone sensors. The whole clearly is greater than the sum of the parts.
How to Get There

No one operates better than the U.S. Navy. Our forward presence force is the finest such force in the world. But operational effectiveness in the wrong competitive space may not lead to mission success. More fundamentally, has the underlying rule set changed so that we are now in a different competitive space? How will we revalue the attributes in our organization?

To choose a sporting example, although the objective of the game, the number of plays, and the operating environment are essentially the same, football is fundamentally different from soccer because its underlying rule set is different. Accordingly, the competitive attributes of mass, continuity of play, self-synchronization, sustained speed, and others are revalued. There are important differences between the ways a soccer coach and a football coach would recruit, train, and organize their teams.16

Similarly, if we decide to fight on a network-centric rather than platform-centric basis, we must change how we train, how we organize, and how we allocate our resources. A good understanding of our competitive space, therefore, is vital to achieving success. The Navy, indeed all services, must make these strategic decisions to maximize future combat power and relevance. Because a network-centric force operates under a different, more modern rule set than a platform-centric force, we must make fundamental choices in at least three areas: intellectual capital, financial capital, and process.

    * Intellectual Capital. Information-based processes are the dominant value-adding processes in both the commercial world and the military. Yet the military fails to reward competence in these areas. "Operator" status frequently is denied to personnel with these critical talents, but the value of traditional operators with limited acumen in these processes is falling, and ultimately they will be marginalized, especially at mid-grade and senior levels. The war fighter who does not understand the true source of his combat power in such things as CEC, Global Command and Control System, and Link-16 simply is worth less than those who do. The services must both mainstream and merge those with technical skills and those with operational experience in these areas. These are the new operators.

      Every new revolution in military affairs produces a new elite. The inherent cultural changes are the most difficult and protracted. We must start now. While we delay, our people, our most vital asset, are deciding that they want to compete on a different team.

    * Financial Capital. Navy decision making across a broad front is aligning with the network-centric warfare strategy. We are moving forward rapidly with ship- and aircraft-launched weapons that have reach, precision, and responsiveness, and advanced C2 concepts are under development.

      The Navy's umbrella strategy for enabling the IT elements of network-centric warfare is Information Technology for the 21st Century (IT-21). It provides for accelerated implemetation of customer-led command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) innovations and existing C2 systems/capabilities (programs of record). The Navy's commitment to funding IT began in fiscal year 1997. For the fiscal year 1999 budget request and the Future Years Defense Program, Navy funding for IT-21-related programs exceeds $2.5 billion. Battle groups and amphibious ready groups are deploying with increasing network capabilities.

      All elements of the network-centric warfare model must move forward if the promise of the revolution is to be realized. Delays will mean higher costs, reduced combat power, and, in the joint arena, failure to achieve the concepts of Joint Vision 2010.

    * Transformation Process. In spite of a ponderous acquisition process, technology insertion is ahead of and disconnected from joint and service doctrine and organizational development. The problem is cultural and systemic. A process for the co-evolution of technology, organization, and doctrine is required.

      Service experimentation programs are a vital first step. While the temptation may be to take some units out of readiness reporting status for use in an experimental force, the result would be to isolate the larger force from the process. The objective is to create an ethos for experimentation, innovation, and a willingness to risk across the entire force. Specific top-down experimentation will be required because of cost and size or to establish overarching priorities, but these are expected to spawn experiments from the bottom up and facilitate cultural and organizational changes. That is the concept behind the Navy's Fleet Battle Experiment Program.

The concepts of network-centric operations, shifting competitive spaces, changing underlying rule sets, and co-evolution are not mere theory. They have been applied successfully under demanding conditions with encouraging results. Similarly, these concepts are not limited to a few optimum circumstances. The crime rate in New York City, for example, was reduced dramatically through the application of these concepts. (See "Co-Evolution" sidebar.)

We may be special people in the armed forces, but we are not a special case. It would be false pride that would keep us from learning from others. The future is bright and compelling, but we must still choose the path to it. Change is inevitable. We can choose to lead it, or be victims of it. As B. H. Liddell Hart said, "The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is getting an old one out."

Note: Network-Centric Warfare derives its power from the strong networking of a well-informed but geographically dispersed force. The enabling elements are a high-performance information grid, access to all appropriate information sources, weapons reach and maneuver with precision and speed of response, value-adding command-and-control (C2) processes--to include high-speed automated assignment of resources to need--and integrated sensor grids closely coupled in time to shooters and C2 processes. Network-centric warfare is applicable to all levels of warfare and contributes to the coalescence of strategy, operations, and tactics. It is transparent to mission, force size and composition, and geography.

Speed of Command is the process by which a superior information position is turned into a competitive advantage. It is characterized by the decisive altering of initial conditions, the development of high rates of change, and locking in success while locking out alternative enemy strategies. It recognizes all elements of the operating situation as parts of a complex adaptive ecosystem and achieves profound effect through the impact of closely coupled events.

Self-Synchronization is the ability of a well-informed force to organize and synchronize complex warfare activities from the bottom up. The organizing principles are unity of effort, clearly articulated commander's intent, and carefully crafted rules of engagement. Self-synchronization is enabled by a high level of knowledge of one's own forces, enemy forces, and all appropriate elements of the operating environment. It overcomes the loss of combat power inherent in top-down command directed synchronization characteristic of more conventional doctrine and converts combat from a step function to a high-speed continuum.

   1. The levee en masse was a shift from the previous model of maintaining a small professional army. France was able to take advantage of the changes in society from industrialization to take nearly the entire adult male population to war, transforming the nature of armed conflict during the Napoleonic era.
   2. Address at the U.S. Naval Institute Annapolis Seminar and 123d Annual Meeting, Annapolis, MD, 23 April 1997.
   3. James F. Moore, "The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems," HarperBusiness, 1996.
   4. Stephen B. Sheperd, "The New Economy: What It Really Means," Business Week 17 November 1997, pp. 38-40.
   5. Michael J. Mandel, et al., "The New Business Cycle," Business Week, 31 March 1997, pp. 58-68.
   6. W. Brian Arthur, "Increasing Returns and the New World of Business," Harvard Business Review, July-August 1996, pp. 100-109; Self-Reinforcing Mechanisms in Economics: the Economy as an Evolving Complex System (Addison-Wesley, 1988), pp. 9-31.
   7. Robert X. Cringely, "Accidental Empires," HarperBusiness, 1992, pp. 139-158.
   8. Amy Cortese, "Here Comes the Intranet," Business Week, 12 February 1996, pp. 76-84.
   9. Bud Tribble, et al., "JavaTM Computing in the Enterprise: What It Means for the General Manager and CIO," Sun Microsystems, Inc., white paper.
  10. George Gilder, "Metcalfe's Law and Legacy," Forbes ASAP, 13 September 1993.
  11. Ira Sager, "The View from IBM," Business Week, 30 November 1995.
  12. "Technology and the Electronic Company," IEEE Spectrum, February 1997.
  13. Philip L. Zweig, et al., "'Beyond Bean Counting," Business Week, 18 October 1996.
  14. See "The Emerging Joint Strategy for Information Superiority," Joint Staff J-6, information briefing at
  15. "The Cooperative Engagement Capability," Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest 16, 4 (1995): 377-96.
  16. The example was developed by Col. Fred P. Stein, USA (Ret.).

Admiral Cebrowski is Director for Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control (N6). He previously served as Director for C4 Systems on the Joint Staff (J6) and as Director, Space and Electronic Warfare (N6). Mr. Garstka is the scientific and technical advisor for the Directorate for C4 Systems on the Joint Staff (J6).

Published January 1998

Information Superiority

Network-Centric Retailing

Within the retailing sector, Wal-Mart consistently has outperformed its competitors. In 1996, it had earnings of $3 billion on sales of nearly $105 billion.1 Wal-Mart has developed a significant competitive edge by reducing its cost of sales to two to three percentage points below the industry average.2

Wal-Mart was able to achieve this edge by making the shift to network-centric operations and translating information superiority into competitive advantage. Realizing that it had grown past the point where it could cost-effectively synchronize supply and demand from the top down, the company over time set up a sophisticated operational architecture--consisting of a sensory capability and a transaction grid--to generate a higher level of awareness within its retail ecosystem.

Point-of-sale scanners--part of the sensor grid--collect information on the 90 million transactions that take place each week.3 This information is shared with suppliers in near real time, so they are able to better control production and distribution, as well as manage their own supply chains. Jack Welch, chief executive officer of General Electric, explains, "When Wal-Mart sells a [light] bulb on the register, it goes to my factory instantly--I (General Electric) make the bulb for the one they just sold. The enterprise system is now totally compressed with information."4 This degree of self-synchronization emerged from the co-evolution of organization and process. Originally, for example, Wal-Mart had a central purchasing department, but when the decision was made to share information directly with suppliers, the need for this part of the old platform-centric organization went away.

In addition, all of Wal-Mart's transaction information is stored in a data warehouse, where it is analyzed to extract trend data (e.g., seasonal trends and market basket trends5). This is then combined with real-time transaction information to develop a high degree of localized awareness within each Wal-Mart store. For example, sales statistics for each of more than 100,000 products are generated on a store-by-store basis, permitting department managers in each store to compare daily sales figures with historical sales figures from the previous day, the previous week, and the same periods the previous year. Each manager also is able to determine in real time the existing inventory levels, amount of product in transit, and inventory levels at neighboring Wal-Mart stores. This very high level of awareness enables them to identify opportunities in near real time and take appropriate action--such as repricing items to react to local competitors' pricing, or prominently displaying items that are experiencing increased volume or high margins--to increase sales and revenue.
Network-Centric Securities Trading

The financial securities sector has been very aggressive at exploiting information technology, probably because of the centrality of information in the worldwide financial markets.6 Within this sector, IT can change the dynamics of competition fundamentally, as occurred in the equities market with the emergence of computerized or program trading. A similar change is happening in the institutional fixed income securities market, where Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG) is making the shift to network-centric operations and has introduced an automated trading service called Autobahn.

In the old trader-centric system, the trader holds important information, which places him in a position of power. Customers work through traders to initiate and complete transactions--from price awareness to execution. How long a transaction takes to complete depends on access, and asymmetries in service generally emerge between large and small customers. For large customers, for example, a transaction may take as little as 30 seconds, under ideal circumstances; for small customers, it can take an order of magnitude longer. When major market movements take place, time is the dominant competitive dynamic, and the service difference between large and small customers is magnified.

With Autobahn, DMG eliminates service asymmetries with information superiority. It provides all customers with 100% awareness in real time--bid and ask prices for all of the more than 200 notes and bonds that make up the market. Price information is broadcast to all approved customers, regardless of size, over the Bloomberg Financial Services Network. Customers can exploit this real-time awareness to initiate and complete a transaction in seconds.

In making the shift to network-centric operations, DMG has employed an operational architecture with similar components to Wal-Mart's: a sensor grid that fuses public-domain information on the market; a transaction grid that enables high-speed transactions; and an information grid in the form of Bloomberg Financial Services.7

   1. Wal-Mart Annual Report
   2. James F. Moore, "The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems," HarperBusiness, 1996, pp. 161-88.
   3. C. Palmeri, "Believe in Yourself, Believe in the Merchandise," Forbes, 8 September 1997, pp. 118-24.
   4. Frank Swoboda, "Talking Management with Chairman Welch," Washington Post, 23 March 1997.
   5. John Foley, "Squeezing More Value From Data," Information Week, 9 December 1996.
   6. Seth Schiesel, "The No. 1 Customer, Sorry It Isn't You," New York Times, 23 November 1997; site visits to Merrill Lynch, 11 August, 28 October 1997.
   7. Interviews with Christopher J. Carroll, Managing Director, Head of Global Electronic Trading, DMG, 1996-1997.

Co-evolution: New York Police Department

With 38,000 uniformed personnel and 9,000 civilians engaged in operations characterized by high risk and violence, the New York Police Department (NYPD) significantly improved its operational effectiveness by co-evolving organization, doctrine, and information systems.

In 1994, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and incoming Police Commissioner William J. Bratton decided that the primary objective of the NYPD should be to reclaim the streets of New York for New Yorkers, rather than focusing exclusively on big offenders.1 Consequently, the new commissioner's first step was to change doctrine, to combat the "broken windows" effect," which asserts that a negative feedback loop exists in society between small crimes and serious crime.2

NYPD's first hypothesis was that by cracking down on petty crime and improving the physical environment--by eliminating graffiti and repairing windows--an environment could be created that was not conducive to the criminal element. A secondary hypothesis was that removing guns from the street would decrease the number of murders. To test these, the commissioner provided each of his 78 precinct commanders with substantial operational authority to change doctrine, procedures, and organization, and held them accountable for their results. He increased competitive space awareness by applying information technology to create a common operational picture in each precinct and across precincts. Information sharing was required of all elements of the arrest-to-arraignment chain.3

The result of co-evolution of organization, doctrine, and technology was the emergence of speed of command as a decisive operational capability. Armed with increased awareness and empowered with new doctrine, precinct commanders and their officers were able to identify trends much earlier and to take action to stop things before they started.4 Aggressively cracking down on petty crime resulted in the incarceration of many serious criminals apprehended on minor charges. In addition, a large percentage of criminals stopped carrying guns. The net effects were staggering. Over the period 1993-1996, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, for example, dropped by almost half, robberies fell by nearly 43%, auto theft dropped by 47%, and felony assault by 25.65%.5

   1. William J. Bratton, "Great Expectations: How Higher Expectations for Police Departments Can Lead to a Decrease in Crime," Paper presented at the National Institute of Justice Policing Research Institute "Measuring What Matters" Conference, Washington, D.C., November 28, 1995.
   2. James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, "Broken Windows," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1982, p 29-38
   3. "Managing for Results," the New York City Police Department, October 1995
   4. Site Visits to NYPD: 5 February 1996, and 20 February 1996
   5. NYPD.

Offline Rebelitarian

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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2010, 02:52:17 pm »
Look we all know that both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are un-Constitutional and designed by the Bilderbergers to kill American soldiers and to weaken our defenses and our economy.

The Federal-Reserve is doing its part to get eveyone in debt as well.

This is all part of the New World Order's plan.  They have the UN bringing in foreign mercenaries as we speak cuz they know American soldiers won't fire on Americans.

Hell they even brought in an Indonesian who is ineligible to be President to execute all of this.

A good idea would be to go to other forums and spread this information.  You are preaching to the choir here.   ;)


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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2010, 03:03:40 pm »
A good idea would be to go to other forums and spread this information.
I have done that--most people on other forums are so incredibly arrogant, proud, stupid, and willful busybodying shills that it's pretty much like casting pearls before the swine.

You are preaching to the choir here.   ;)
I don't think so.  Most people don't understand Cybernetics, the significance of it, nor implementations of it like network-centric warfare, and the RMA.

We are talking about the true motives the elite had (and have) for carrying out every false flag attack in history.

It doesn't cut it to just generalize things saying "they want to enslave humanity", and they are setting up a "control grid".

Offline Joseon

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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2010, 03:19:58 pm »
AI has already spread this information to other forums. like body building. ANd likewise with Squarepusher.

Secondly, MOst People here do NOT really understand what the Military is really up to. What Corporations like Wal Mart And Deutche, Etc GM
Coco Cola are using highly sophisticated technology to make BUSINESS decisions.  NY Police are using Computer and Net Centric policies to Lower the  crime on the Streets of New York, Which is interesting that dis-arming a population would reduce crime.

Drink distilled water for Pure Health:

Detox with cilantro:

Omura determined that cilantro could mobilize mercury and other toxic metals rapidly from the CNS.96 97

Spread the Word.


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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2010, 04:43:01 pm »

The Fly on the Wall and the Jedi Knight
The Gulf War dramatically demonstrated the military benefits of high-technology systems. Those who possess them have a substantial advantage over those who do not. But for all of its success in applying technology to military systems, the United States cannot now afford to stand still. Rather, it needs to identify leading-edge technologies with military potential, so that the next generation of modern weapons will be ready when the nation needs them.

To this end, the National Defense Research Institute conducted a series of workshops sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency to identify leading-edge technologies that could revolutionize military operations, to develop concepts of military systems that could transform warfare, and to specify the research necessary to make these systems a reality. The workshops, whose participants included a range of technology and military operations experts, identified four program areas that merit close attention: very small systems, biomolecular electronics, cyberspace safety and security, and technologies to enhance soldier performance. As part of the workshop process, study groups developed a number of "application metaphors" ("fly," "wasp," and so forth) to describe areas with potential for revolutionary systems.

Very Small Systems: The Fly and the Wasp
This area refers to small--indeed, tiny--autonomous military systems that blend three areas of technology: micro or nano, information, and autonomous system technologies. The sizes of the systems considered range from a centimeter to a micrometer (a millionth of a meter). Applications illustrative of this blend of technology include fly-sized vehicles carrying different sensors (the "fly on the wall") and possibly equipped with an attack capability, i.e., turning the fly into a "wasp" by giving it a "stinger."

Some technologies are fairly well developed. Using techniques originally intended for making integrated circuits, researchers have already built micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS)--tiny three-dimensional machines with moving parts. Similarly, the advances in information systems are well known. And impressive progress has been made in both the hardware and software of autonomous systems, leading to machines that not only can operate alone but also can "see," "understand," and "learn" from mistakes.

Key to these systems is an adequate power supply. Workshop members focused on thin-film lithium battery technology as a promising option. Batteries based on this technology could provide enough power for a system weighing 1 gram to hover for almost five hours or to fly for 10 kilometers and still retain over 80 percent of its energy.

Combining the three technologies would allow construction of a small vehicle that could carry any of a variety of sensors (e.g., infrared or acoustical). Such vehicles offer enormous advantages. For example, they could provide a stealthy and cheap way of observing enemy activity. Deployed by the hundreds or thousands, the miniature machines could act as a surveillance net, alerting precision weapons to the presence of enemy vehicles or to the location of radar emissions. Equipped with a "stinger," they might also be able to disrupt communication facilities, although workshop participants judged the addition of an offensive capability to be so challenging as to be questionable.

Biomolecular Electronics
Using genetic engineering to make synthetic genes can lead to the production of proteins with known and controllable properties. Such proteins can, in turn, lead to bioengineered materials and molecular electronic devices. For military applications, derivative applications employing biomolecular electronics seem to hold the most promise. Biomolecular electronics blends three technology fields: biotechnology, bioinstrumentation, and microelectronics. Possible applications include optoelectronic memories with large storage capacities, biocomputation (the use of biomolecules as computational building blocks), artificial sensors (e.g., a protein-based artificial retina for image sensing), and biosensors, which could, for example, detect bacterial agents.

Significant progress has occurred in some areas. Biomaterials for memory elements have been developed that compete favorably with the best synthetic organic materials, achieving storage densities of 1 trillion bits per cubic centimeter. Other areas--e.g., computational elements and some computational architectures such as membrane devices--are still in their infancy. But this entire field is ripe for major improvements that can be applied to a variety of electronic systems such as computers and sensor arrays.

Cyberspace Security
Cyberspace refers to the global world of internetted computers and communication systems. More and more commercial, financial, and governmental activities are being conducted in this worldwide web. The Department of Defense itself is escalating its use of commercial systems. As time goes on, the systems making up cyberspace are becoming parts of a larger, more complex system. Even small disruptions to this large system can have disproportionate effects. Furthermore, the United States is increasingly dependent on foreign hardware and software, which receive little scrutiny for hidden anomalies.

The information systems controlling the numerous web activities are subject to a wide range of nefarious actions. Information can be stolen or manipulated. It can be denied to legitimate users or have viruses inserted into it. Such actions can be done surreptitiously, many from long distances, making detection difficult. Any number of bad actors, from the simply curious hacker to the criminal to the terrorist, can engage in this sort of activity.

In the civilian sector, threats range from invasion of personal privacy to theft of data or disruption of financial services. In the military arena, bad actors could disrupt C3I systems, steal classified information, or interfere with the operation of weapon systems. Worse, because of its large range, the threat affects nearly everybody, but no single organization feels responsible for addressing the problem. Needed is an organization to set the initial direction for U.S. activities in this area and to serve as a catalyst for stimulating the interest of other agencies in the problem.

The Jedi Knight
The Jedi Knight was the application metaphor chosen to represent the class of technologies that could enhance the performance of the individual soldier. In theory, a combination of technologies could produce a "super soldier" who could be all-sensing, covert, indestructible, and lethal. A variety of technologies could enhance individual performance remarkably. These include

    * microtechnologies that could provide miniature sensors, monitors, and display systems
    * information technologies that could link the soldier to a command network and even to distant sensors
    * autonomous systems such as unmanned ground or air vehicles that could provide platforms for sensing, weapons, or mobility
    * revolutionary materials that could furnish protection and reduce visibility
    * energy technologies that could power components.

A soldier equipped with systems made possible by these technologies would be ideal for small-scale operations such as long-range reconnaissance, hostage rescue, airfield seizure, or urban warfare. Workshop participants did not regard mechanical aids for added strength or speed as feasible, because of the added weight or power requirements.

To realize the Jedi Knight concept will require enhanced research on a number of capabilities, including linking the soldier into a network of robotic and manned systems, command centers, intelligence nodes, and databases. Research should also expand on personal weapons with guided and nonlethal munitions. And, finally, display of the information and control of all systems should occur through helmet-mounted displays.

RAND research briefs summarize research that has been more fully documented elsewhere. This research brief describes work done in the National Defense Research Institute and documented in DB-110-ARPA, Future Technology-Driven Revolutions in Military Operations: Results of a Workshop, by Richard O. Hundley and Eugene C. Gritton, 105 pp.,. RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve public policy through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of its research sponsors.


Offline Rebelitarian

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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2010, 06:37:10 pm »

We are talking about the true motives the elite had (and have) for carrying out every false flag attack in history.

It doesn't cut it to just generalize things saying "they want to enslave humanity", and they are setting up a "control grid".

A grid is going to need power and fuel to have the enforcers run it.  Thereby we have 2 available means of sabotage, but I do see your points.   :)


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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2010, 08:06:04 pm »
Marshall has been noted for fostering talent in younger associates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, among others, have been cited as Marshall "star protégés."


And why are the elite so obsessed with computers making decisions?
They are forever trying to get cybernetics and robots and all knowing electronic devices to make decisions for them

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Revolution In Military Affairs: It's why we're there
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2010, 09:11:29 pm »

And why are the elite so obsessed with computers making decisions?
They are forever trying to get cybernetics and robots and all knowing electronic devices to make decisions for them

I don't think they're trying to let the computers make their decisions; they want to know outcomes of every possible decision before they choose one. I think they are looking for predictability, using computer analysis of patterns drawn from databases of information.  They want a rigged game, they want to know the score before they place a bet. They don't want risk, and they want to keep control... and they believe computers can enable their prophecy. They will always see themselves as the prophets.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40


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RMA: Cybernetics applied to the military to later apply domestically worldwide
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 10:35:50 am »

Hans Binnendijk

Military transformation is the act of creating and harnessing a revolution in military affairs. It requires developing new technologies, operational concepts, and organizational structures to conduct war in dramatically new ways. The United States is undertaking such a transformation to tackle its 21st century missions. A properly transformed military can develop significant advantages over a potential enemy. But the process also introduces risks that, if not properly managed, could dangerously undermine military capability.

This book, therefore, sets out the arguments for a purposeful and measured transformation that relies on sound experimentation as the basis for change, rather than the riskier strategy, proposed by some, of skipping a generation of technology. We argue that change must tie all of the services together in joint transformation efforts. Similarly, we must not neglect our coalition partners. A successful transformation will be one that has been conceived broadly to include homeland defense, space, cyberspace, and, though they may seem mundane, crucial reforms in weapons procurement and logistics.

Historically, revolutions in military affairs have had a powerful impact on both society and the nature of warfare. For example, effective development of the stirrup after the 8th century in Europe allowed mounted warriors to dominate their immediate regions and contributed to the development of the feudal state. Feudalism in its turn was destroyed when improved artillery in the early 15th century meant that castles could be successfully attacked. The development of large sailing ships armed with numerous cannons in the early 16th century facilitated the growth of European colonialism. Napoleon’s levée en masse and the rise of the large “citizen army” helped create modern nationalism. In the mid-19th century, improvements in rifling, breech loading, and repeating rifles led to mass carnage on the battlefield, which spurred the development of defensive trench warfare. In the 1930s, improvements in armor, sea power, and air power returned the initiative to the offense. Nuclear weapons produced the Cold War: for four decades, the most powerful offensive weapons were dominant but could not be used for fear of massive retaliation.

Three examples illustrate the power that technology and new operational concepts can have on the battlefield. At Crécy in 1346, the English king Edward III deployed his longbowmen, protected by dismounted knights, in a new form of combined arms warfare. Against them, the French army under Philip IV lost more than 1,200 knights. Nearly 70 years later, King Henry V used similar tactics at Agincourt, this time on the offensive. France was again defeated, and England was able to lay claim to large portions of France.

Napoleon standardized his equipment so that broken matériel could be quickly repaired, and he developed new ways to package food. He was thus able to field his large citizen armies with reliable equipment for long periods of time. These innovations, plus his brilliant use of the cannon, let Napoleon dominate Europe militarily, until he overreached.

Germany and France had equivalent equipment at the outset of World War II, but Germany concentrated its armor and combined it with attack aircraft and radios in the new operational concept called blitzkrieg. Meanwhile, France planned to re-fight World War I more effectively; its armor was dispersed throughout its forces, and it relied excessively on the Maginot Line and the Ardennes as buffers. While only a small fraction of the German force was organized for blitzkrieg (10–15 percent), this was enough of a spearhead to let the Germans overwhelm France in a matter of weeks. Eventually, Hitler also overreached.1
Not all efforts to combine new technology and operational concepts are successful; not all result in victory. During the 1950s, for example, the United States set out to transform its military with new nuclear capabilities. Tactical nuclear weapons were integrated into many military units; operational concepts envisioned the early use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield. By the mid-1960s, however, it became clear that use of these weapons would be limited, both by deterrence and by world opinion. The nuclear weapons that had been placed at the core of the new force could not be used. The military that had been built in the 1950s around nuclear weapons found itself fighting in Vietnam without them. This lesson must be kept in mind as the United States proceeds with a new military transformation.

The Basis of Transformation

Today’s military transformation is based on many new technologies, and perhaps the most important is information technology. The impact of information on the battlefield was first displayed during Operation Desert Storm with new and highly accurate precision strike weapons. Two years later, Alvin and Heidi Toffler pointed out that nations make war the way they create wealth.2 Just as the agricultural and industrial ages each had their own distinctive style of warfare, now the information age calls for transformation to a new kind of information-based warfare.

Accordingly, in the mid-1990s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff published Joint Vision 2010 and Joint Vision 2020 to guide military change in the information age. The underlying theory was that the U.S. military would be able to use a system of systems to concentrate long-range firepower, instead of massing battle platforms against key enemy nodes. American firepower would be brought to bear concurrently rather than sequentially to cause the quick collapse of an enemy’s resolve. The key concepts involved going beyond mobilization and mass to emphasize speed and information.

The transformation effort was started by the Clinton administration and boosted by the Bush administration. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2001 created new goals for transformation: to protect the homeland and our information networks; to project and sustain power in distant theaters and deny our enemies sanctuary there; and to leverage information and space technology. The events of September 11, 2001, refocused elements of military transformation on homeland security. By the end of 2001, a new transformation budget had been earmarked and a “Transformation Czar” was appointed at the Department of Defense (DOD).3

Meanwhile, each of the military services has been developing new operational concepts to implement Joint Vision 2020. The Navy has focused on network-centric warfare, using new information technologies to link the forces together digitally. The Air Force has concentrated on effects-based operations, which assess how best to destroy the connections between elements of an enemy’s political and economic networks with minimal collateral damage. The Army has focused on rapid and decisive operations, that is, reaching the conflict quickly and acting before the enemy can react. Elements of these three strategies are merging together. This book is designed to consider where we should go from here.

How the Book Is Organized

Part I of this book explores the foundations of today’s military transformation: new missions, new technologies, and new operational concepts. Part II assesses the progress that is being made in this effort by each of America’s military services. Part III analyzes the coordination and integration of these separate service efforts, while noting the capabilities gap being created with our allies. Part IV reviews broader aspects of military transformation, particularly those arising after the September 11 attacks.

Part I—Foundations of Transformation

Developing the capability to perform necessary missions more effectively and with fewer casualties is the underlying purpose of military transformation. Chapter 1 by Sam Tangredi argues that decisions on how to transform must follow from a careful consideration of the priorities of these objectives and missions. During the Cold War and for the past decade, priorities were determined by the spectrum-of-conflict model, which placed a premium on high-intensity conflict, despite its low probability of occurrence. As a result, the 1990s witnessed a readiness-versus-engagement debate that deprecated the value of military involvement in operations other than war. Tangredi argues that, especially after September 11, the United States needs to adopt a new hierarchy-of-missions model that identifies survival interests, vital interests, and value interests. Resource allocations should be made based on this hierarchy of missions. The QDR 2001 moves U.S. strategy away from the task of winning two major theater conflicts nearly simultaneously and allows the military new flexibility to deal with a broader array of missions. It thus implicitly moves in the direction of a new hierarchy of missions. Tangredi believes that the National Military Strategy and Joint Vision 2020 must also be adjusted to account for these new missions because they put too much emphasis on fighting major theater wars against a similarly organized opponent.

Technology is the great enabler of military transformation. Chapter 2 by Thomas Hone and Norman Friedman reminds us that militarily significant technologies have often developed simultaneously in different nations, and it is the side that can use the technology most effectively that gets the edge. The process of transformation, consequently, requires developing a vision of how new technologies might benefit the military, funding the research and development of new technologies into weapons, maintaining an industry that can produce equipment embodying the new technologies, developing service doctrine to use those technologies effectively, and training troops to use the new capabilities. None of these steps can be skipped.

Hone and Friedman demonstrate dramatically how even a wildly imaginative vision could become reality by looking back a century to H.G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds. In this novel, the Martian enemy uses space capabilities to support its military campaigns; it fires heat rays and chemical weapons; it dominates the battlefield with armored walking machines; it possesses a global command and control system. One hundred years ago, these ideas were at the furthest reaches of fiction, yet today, the United States possesses each of these capabilities in various forms. Chapter 2 projects the impact of emerging technologies over time and identifies dozens of potentially transformational technologies, many of them, especially in the information area, developed primarily by the commercial sector. Hone and Friedman suggest that DOD needs to rely more on the commercial sector as it develops its concepts of network-centric warfare.

What should be the strategy for transformation that is based on the demands of new missions and the capabilities of new technologies? Chapter 3, which I wrote with Richard Kugler, explores both the evolutionary and the revolutionary approaches that have tended to clash during the past decade, both within DOD and at the national level. Reviewing a century of history, the chapter concludes that neither extreme makes sense by itself. The key lesson from World War II is that getting operational concepts right is as important as possessing new technology. The lesson from the attempts at building a force around nuclear weapons during the first decades of the Cold War is not to base a wholesale transformation on a single design concept or technology. The lesson from the post-Vietnam period is that a pluralism of ideas and organizations, though turbulent, may yield a better outcome than a single plan controlled from the top.

Applying these lessons, the chapter argues for a blend of the evolutionary and revolutionary approaches and notes that the 2001 QDR moves in this direction. Such a purposeful and measured transformation should have certain characteristics. It should:

•   rely heavily on vigorous experimentation to test new concepts and technologies before deployment
•   maximize joint experiments and operations
•   focus as much on the medium term (6–10 years) as on the long-term
•   reengineer the current force to get results in the medium term
•   blend a high-tech spearhead force (perhaps 10 percent of the overall force) with improved legacy systems
•   hedge against possible failure of experimental systems.

The chapter ends with an examination of 10 operational concepts that are being considered by defense analysts to build and employ a transformed force.

Part II—Transforming the Services

Part II analyzes the transformation now taking place in the services, beginning with chapter 4 on the U.S. Army by Thomas McNaugher and Bruce Nardulli. The Army is considering the most ambitious transformation of any of the Armed Forces. Its post-Cold War missions have shifted dramatically from tank warfare on the plains of Europe to rapid and decisive operations in distant and hard-to-reach theaters. The Army experimented with digitization in the 1990s, inserting computers into armored vehicles and infantry platoons in an effort to provide a common operational picture and lift the fog of war. The focus, however, was still on heavy divisions. Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has demonstrated both the strengths of the Army’s Special Operations capabilities and the limits of using existing heavy legacy forces for operations that require agility.

The Army plans to deal with this transition by proceeding on three parallel tracks, developing simultaneously an Objective Force for the long term, a medium-term Interim Force, and a Legacy Force to hedge against the risk of failures or shortcomings with the other two. The key element in the Army’s long-term vision is the Future Combat System: small (16–20 ton) vehicles networked together will replace both the 70-ton M–1 Abrams tank and the 32-ton M–2 Bradley fighting vehicle. The Army is betting that dramatic improvements in information technology, sensors, active protection systems, robotics, and weapons technology can replace heavy armor and existing firepower. The authors argue that there is risk in this approach and that if these technologies develop too slowly, evolutionary options remain open. For example, the Army could rely more on prepositioning of equipment, using the Interim Brigade Combat Teams as the Army’s rapid early-deployment force, examining more joint force options, and considering a mixed hybrid force rather than the homogenous divisions envisioned for the Objective Force. The authors argue that, with regard to the war on terrorism and homeland security, the entire relationship between Army Special Operations Forces and regular forces must be reexamined and that National Guard and Reserve units may need reorganization to pursue homeland missions. The Army will have the opportunity to hedge its technology bets and consider reorganizing for new missions as its transformation proceeds.

The mission of the naval services—the Navy and Marines—has changed even more fundamentally than that of the Army; the Cold War mission of controlling the high seas has given way to a mission of facilitating intervention on shore. The Navy also has become a prominent air force; in fact, virtually every ship serves as a platform for aircraft and missiles. Chapter 5 by William O’Neil points outs that the Navy has adapted to this new mission and capability by using existing naval platforms in new ways. The Navy must be inherently conservative about change because its platforms take from 10 to 15 years to conceive and build, and they must last for another 35 years. Much of the change required for the Navy to perform new missions better has therefore taken place with information technology, both to link dispersed ships together for a more coordinated network-centric striking capability and to provide greater accuracy for its missiles.

O’Neil assesses issues that will determine the future shape of our naval forces and concludes that the Navy is currently on the right track. He discounts concerns that the Navy will not be able to gain access to a potential enemy’s littoral to support land-based operations, arguing that no potential enemy has spent the resources to gain a capability even remotely like that of the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. While it is true that mines, missiles, and small, fast craft are relatively cheap and improving in capability, American counters to these threats have improved even faster. He sees no need, therefore, to reshape U.S. naval strategy to deal with a threat that appears relatively insignificant. He rebuts arguments for smaller carriers and a proposed fleet of smaller, faster boats designed to operate in littoral regions. He sees a clear role for unmanned vehicles both in the air and under the sea but cautions against using these systems for operations such as close-in air support. He argues that, despite the advent of highly accurate missiles, carrier-based aircraft will remain at the core of naval strike capabilities. The Marines, he notes, have adapted doctrine to develop an expeditionary maneuver warfare capability, but he cautions that future plans of the Corps rely heavily on short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft (for example, the Osprey and Joint Strike Fighter) that are vulnerable to technical and budgetary problems. In an appendix to this chapter, Bing West further analyzes the Marine Corps concept of expeditionary maneuver warfare. After September 11, the Navy has taken on yet another new mission: supporting the Coast Guard in efforts to protect our own littoral from terrorist attack.

During the past two decades, notes David Ochmanek in chapter 6, the Air Force has made remarkable strides in dominating air operations, controlling and exploiting space, identifying potential targets in all weather conditions, and attacking both moving and fixed targets with high precision. Whereas during the Vietnam War it took a rough average of 170 bombs to destroy a small fixed target, today it takes just one bomb, which can be delivered by a stealthy B–2 loaded with 16 such weapons. The Air Force has already employed many of the advantages that are flowing from modern technology, and thus its future transformation plans will be evolutionary compared to those of the Army.

The Air Force now operates in three domains at once: air, space, and cyberspace. Ochmanek says that the key question for the future Air Force is whether, in the face of looming new threats and resource constraints, the United States can retain its current degree of dominance. The answer to that question depends on how well the Air Force can meet certain challenges, such as overcoming antiaccess capabilities, destroying small mobile targets, operating despite advance air defenses, destroying deeply buried facilities, assuring continuity of space operations, halting ground invasions from the air, and improving both command and control as well as deployability. Ochmanek assesses three key choices facing the Air Force in its efforts to meet these challenges.

First, despite the recent successes of bombers in Kosovo and Afghanistan, Ochmanek argues against dramatically decreasing fighters and increasing bombers (currently at a 9 to 1 ratio) and suggests instead that more needs to be done to assure forward basing and to harden forward aircraft shelters. Second, he argues that the Air Force continues to need both stealthy penetrating platforms and standoff weapons, such as cruise missiles, because many missions require that aircrews get close enough to observe their targets. In the short run, the Air Force needs to replace its depleted inventory of cruise missiles, while, in the longer run, unmanned combat air vehicles may be able to perform many of the more dangerous missions now flown by fighter pilots. Third, Ochmanek argues that, despite the potential advantages of developing a space strike capability, it will be too costly and will remain vulnerable to antisatellite weapons. He concludes that straightforward improvements to the Air Force seem to offer more leverage than wholesale changes in force structure and operational concepts.

Part III—Coordinating Transformed Military Operations

Part III focuses on how to assess and coordinate transformation programs, how to integrate the efforts of the individual services, and how to bring American allies along. In chapter 7, Paul Davis distinguishes between changes required in the medium term, which need careful management and pragmatic engineering, and those that will be required further out (between about 2010 and 2025). Changes that are further out require exploratory experiments and wide-open research and development. Drawing lessons from business and the history of World War II, Davis presents 10 principles for future transformation. Among them, he urges fully exploiting technology, anticipating the nature of future warfare, securing political and economic support for transformation, organizing around the capability to accomplish particular military operations rather than open-ended functions, and laying the groundwork for later adaptations. Applying these principles to the current era, he expresses concern that there is no broad and systematic DOD effort to understand future warfare, that there may be excessive focus on a particular notion of war, and that a better analytical system is needed to assure that good options are generated. Davis proposes a new mission-system analysis that would allow the Secretary of Defense to use capabilities-based planning to consider a wider array of alternative plans for future force structure.  To help implement this approach, Davis suggests establishing rapid-exploitation laboratories that bring together operators, technologists, and analysts to pursue mission-oriented concepts through rapid prototyping and spiral exploration.

To achieve its full impact, military transformation in the information age must be joint, not centered separately in the different services. Indeed, the Joint Staff champions efforts to integrate the capabilities of the individual services, while the Joint Forces Command has overall responsibility for joint experimentation and for forming joint force packages. Chapter 8 by Douglas Macgregor calls for a bolder approach. Supported by two recent defense reviews by David Gompert and James McCarthy, Macgregor argues that the United States must abandon the World War II mode of relatively independent, sequential missions accomplished by service components under a regional warfighting commander in chief. He calls for rapidly deployable standing joint forces made up of units from different services that train and exercise together and use common command and control, intelligence assets, and logistics systems. Echelons would be reduced, and a pool of available land, naval, and air forces would be created on a rotational readiness basis. Joint operational concepts are needed so that all parts of the force see the same scenario. The multitude of single-service component commanders, Macgregor concludes, should be supplanted by joint command and control elements.

Transformation creates issues that affect our allies, as Charles Barry explores in chapter 9. Unless it wishes to become an isolated superpower, the United States will probably fight future battles as part of an international coalition, based in large measure on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. But the recent wars in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, and Afghanistan have demonstrated that a significant gap exists between American and allied capabilities. The problem lies both with constrained European defense budgets (together, only about half the size of the U.S. budget) and with differing visions of the European role in the world. Barry argues that this gap may be smaller than is normally believed and that a concerted program of action can close it without bankrupting European treasuries. Without such an effort, however, the gap will grow to the detriment of the Alliance.

Barry reviews the current status of Europe’s militaries and concludes that their armies and navies have modernized many of their legacy forces. The real problem, however, rests with airpower, secure communications, command and control, and logistics. Even airpower may improve as the Eurofighter and Joint Strike Fighter come on-line. One problem is that Europe’s energies are focused on equipping the European Rapid Reaction Force, which is designed primarily for peace operations rather than high-intensity conflict. There is no vision in Europe of how to transform its militaries for major combat missions in cooperation with the United States. Barry proposes a set of initiatives aimed at correcting this situation.

Part IV—Broader Aspects of Transformation

Part IV reviews broader aspects of military transformation. The attacks of September 11 pierced America’s sense of invulnerability and made strengthening the homefront the Nation’s highest priority. In chapter 10, Michèle Flournoy presents a three-pronged strategy to manage the new risk from terrorism. First, prevention must be carried out in an aggressive and proactive manner, potentially even including offensive action. Key to the success of preventive efforts is engagement abroad and better intelligence. Acknowledging the difficult intelligence problem presented by trying to penetrate small cells in more than 60 countries around the world, she argues that the job can be done better by aiming data collection at the right target, better interagency and international sharing of data, more rapid fusing of data, and more effective red-teaming to predict terrorist moves.

Second, Flournoy calls for a strategy of protection, including missile defenses, massive manhunts when necessary, and day-to-day security measures. These efforts require better coordination among an array of Federal, state, and local offices. The problem is so complex that clear priorities must be set. Third, a response strategy must include training and equipping first responders and improving procedures for continuity of government and for restoring the provision of essential services. A priority should be placed on countering the bioterrorism threat. Flournoy calls for a major public-private initiative on the scale of the Apollo Program to deal with it. She does recommend several other initiatives to be undertaken by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security but also argues that, in the long run, a more comprehensive office is required. She also recommends establishment of a new commander in chief (CINC) for Homeland Defense and urges efforts to prepare elements of the National Guard for homeland security missions. Many of these suggestions have now been adopted by the Bush administration.

The new focus on homeland security has implications for transformation of U.S. strategic forces. It has reinforced the Bush administration’s interest in building missile defenses, and in the process, transforming the nature of nuclear deterrence. The administration has taken three key steps in this effort: deciding to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, issuing a new Nuclear Posture Review, and agreeing with Russia to dramatic reductions in deployed force. Taken together, these steps suggest an alternative paradigm for strategic stability; though somewhat vague, it appears to be based more on defense than on mutual assured destruction. In chapter 11, Peter Wilson and Richard Sokolsky review both the offensive and defensive elements of the equation and conclude that much of the Cold War theology still governs American strategic planning.

With regard to missile defense, the Bush administration has set aside the ground-based midcourse intercept architecture of the previous administration in favor of an intensified research and development (R&D) program and the prospect of a multilayered architecture that is as yet undefined. Missile defense technology has demonstrated some successes in the hit-to-kill concept and the airborne laser, but there have also been setbacks such as the Navy Area Wide System and the Space-Based Infrared Sensor System. Wilson and Sokolsky argue that the deployment of space-based weapons would constitute crossing a red line that might provoke a dramatic reaction from the Russians and others. On the offensive side, they applaud the agreement with Russia to reduce U.S. operationally deployed warheads from about 6,000 today to a range of 1,700 to 2,200. However, they are concerned that the remaining force will not be taken off alert status and that the eliminated warheads will not be destroyed but placed in a ready reserve. Therefore, the hair trigger remains in place, and the cuts could be too easily reversed.

Space forces have contributed greatly to the acceleration of U.S. military transformation. They have shifted from a nearly exclusive focus on strategic uses and preconflict intelligence to integration with theater forces as part of the operational targeting sequence. In chapter 12, Stephen Randolph argues that, because of resource pressures and competition from less expensive capabilities such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), American space forces will probably not see a major expansion in mission areas over the next few years. Randolph also points to three reasons why America’s near-absolute dominance in military space capabilities during the past decade may be coming to an end: commercial capabilities with military applications that are available to all nations, the growing utility of small and less expensive satellites, and growing efforts by potential adversaries to exploit the vulnerabilities of the U.S. space force. In 2000, the Space Commission examined these trends, and many of its recommendations for organizational change have now been adopted; however, it may be some time before those reforms yield concrete results.

Randolph examines the immediate challenges now facing the space force, including both further integrating space and theater forces as well as maintaining control of space and, if necessary, denying space capabilities to adversaries. He notes that the international legal regime governing the deployment of weapons in space is surprisingly permissive, in part because cost-effectiveness considerations have in the past prevented pursuit of many options. He concludes that development of conventional precision-guided weaponry delivered from space might be the most promising potential mission for space-based weapons. But the costs of deploying weapons in space remain nearly prohibitive, and, moreover, exploitation would require a breakthrough in launch technology. Given resource restraints and the failure of the commercial sector to contribute as much as anticipated to technological development, it will be important for the United States to continue to invest in space R&D, to retain trained personnel, and to support the domestic industrial base.

Military transformation is enabled by new information technologies, and in chapter 13, Jacques Gansler reminds us of the vulnerability of the domain of cyberspace. Computer networks control our Nation’s power grids, natural gas pipelines, and transportation systems. “E-government” is booming, and DOD is increasingly dependent on information networks in peace and war. These networks offer high-value, low-risk targets to a broad array of potential attackers with a diverse range of motives. The Internet is most vulnerable, but even Defense networks might be penetrated. Gansler notes that the Pentagon expects about 40,000 attacks annually, most of which are unsuccessful. But large-scale exercises, such as ELIGIBLE RECEIVER 97, and real-world attacks, like the one that began in 1998 and has apparently been traced to Russia, make it clear that new steps must be taken to protect America’s growing dependence on cyberspace. Gansler proposes a public-private sector partnership to provide new protection. The goal of Gansler’s proposals is to create an Internet infrastructure that is “highly automated, adaptive, and resilient to all types of attacks.” But with at least 20 nations developing information warfare doctrine and with new capabilities available to terrorists, the United States remains extremely vulnerable to these “weapons of mass disruption.”

The military transformation process will be successful only if defense research and development and defense procurement processes are tightly coupled. In chapter 14, Mark Montroll examines the defense R&D complex and concludes that both government and commercially run efforts are experiencing serious problems. Government laboratories face the aging of an expert workforce without adequate replenishment, along with a scarcity of infrastructure resources. The consolidation of commercial defense firms during the past decade has increased corporate debt and reduced industry willingness to carry out R&D without financial support from government. Several efforts have been undertaken during the past decade to transition promising technology into the force more quickly.

Programs—for example, the Advanced Technology Demonstrations, Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations, Joint Experimentation Programs, and Future Naval Capabilities program—have yielded successes, such as the Predator UAV, but too many constraints still exist in the acquisition process, and funding is often unavailable even for very promising initiatives. Although useful acquisition reforms have been made, the rate of technological improvement now vastly outpaces Federal ability to incorporate it into the force. To speed the process, DOD is increasingly using prime contractors that are responsible for producing much of the research and development, but industrial constraints on sharing the technology often limit collateral benefits for other defense purposes. Montroll suggests that the Pentagon might learn from the practices of commercial firms that systematically conduct wide searches to identify and acquire the technologies needed from outside.

Joint Vision 2010 called for the development of “Focused Logistics” in an effort to streamline the support required to project military force. In chapter 15, Paul Needham describes the various initiatives being undertaken by the services to reduce their logistics footprint in-theater by as much as 50 percent. These reforms draw from an array of commercial business practices, such as the anticipation of demand and just-in-time logistics dependent on rapid delivery of orders. Most of these reforms are enabled by information technologies that expedite the ability to reach back to storage areas in the United States. Other reforms include charging the regional CINCs for transportation costs in peacetime as a way to encourage cost-effectiveness. But Needham also points out that many of these new business practices could increase the vulnerability of forward-deployed units in wartime should the just-in-time system break down. These risks must be balanced with the advantages of adopting commercial practices.

A Note of Caution
The transformation process has already had a profound impact on the way in which America fights, and more improvements can be expected. Resources will remain constrained, even with the $48 billion defense increase requested by the Bush administration in early 2002 (of which less than $10 billion is for new procurement). By 2007, DOD’s procurement budet is expected to increase to $100 billion annually, and its R&D budget to $60 billion—big increases in both areas. But resources are not the whole answer; indeed, many ardent military reformers even fear that the budget increases will take pressure off the Pentagon to reform. Sound operational concepts and new organizational structures may be more important than new weapons to the medium-term transformation.

Even if transformation is successful, this same success may raise certain risks. First, if the American military appears able to win victories at low cost, war might become a preferred instrument of diplomacy rather than an instrument of last resort. This situation would lead to an unhealthy militarization of American foreign policy. Second, there are some contingencies for which even a transformed military may be inadequate, and leaders must understand these limits and not be rash. Such contingencies include preventing a terrorist attack on U.S. interests, fighting in certain types of terrain, and sustaining conflict against a large enemy that is unwilling to capitulate despite battlefield losses. Third, America’s capability might reduce the military need for allies and lead to an inclination to go it alone. This trend could lead to diplomatic isolation. Fourth, U.S. military dominance could breed resentment abroad and result in the accumulation of more enemies, and fifth, highly autonomous systems inherent in the new force increase the risk of friendly fire casualties. None of these risks is cause enough to slow down efforts to develop the best military possible, but dealing with those risks will require prudence on the part of America’s political and diplomatic leadership. America cannot afford to overreach.

A key question is this: Will transformation enable the U.S. military to retain its status as the world’s best fighting force? The answer is: Yes, but only if transformation is carried out wisely and effectively, and only if due regard is given to the constraints that will continue to face the exercise of military power. It is with these cautions in mind that we explore the issues of transformation of the U.S. military at the beginning of the 21st century.

1.   See H.W. Koch, History of Warfare (London: Bison Books Limited, 1987); and Andrew F. Krepinevich, “Cavalry to Computer: The Pattern of Military Revolutions,” The National Interest 37 (Fall 1994), 30–42.
2.   Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century (Boston: Little, Brown, 1993).
3.   On November 26, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the establishment of the Office of Force Transformation within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the appointment of VADM Arthur K. Cebrowski, USN (Ret.), as its director, reporting directly to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense.


  • Guest
Chapter 1—
Assessing New Missions

Sam J. Tangredi

The tragedies of September 11, 2001, were transformational events for the American people. Gone is the comfort of post-Cold War common wisdom—the latent belief that globalization had set the stage for a new world order in which economic markets, not force and violence, ruled. Once again, national security issues dominate the American political agenda. As President George W. Bush stated on September 15, “We’re at war. There has been an act of war declared upon America by terrorists and we will respond accordingly.” This response has included both traditional overseas combat operations—focused initially on the Taliban in Afghanistan—and an emphasis on homeland security at a level not seen since the civil defense effort of the 1950s.

To military planners and defense analysts, the support of the American public for both an immediate military response and sustained preparations to prevent or defeat future threats has been gratifying, even though it came at such a tragic cost. While no one predicted the use of hijacked domestic airliners in kamikaze attacks on civilian targets, warning of the potential for terrorist-style asymmetric attacks on the American homeland has been a prominent theme in defense literature for several years. The U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century—better known as the Hart-Rudman Commission—bluntly forecast in its initial 1999 report: “America will become increasingly vulnerable to hostile attack on our homeland, and our military superiority will not entirely protect us . . .Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.”1

Until the recent tragedies, such analysis was largely relegated to the background of an unconvincing defense debate dominated by pressing domestic concerns. But with the addition of detection of letter-borne anthrax to the terrorist attacks, the American public became convinced of the need for a comprehensive and effective military program that includes some element of transformation in capabilities to meet emerging threats.

Yet public support for the military response to terrorist threats—and the transformations that may be necessary—can only be sustained through a clear public understanding of the capabilities and the limitations of American military power. The Bush administration has attempted to set out such an explanation with the release of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Report on September 30, 2001. While the erratic development of the 2001 review resulted in a report with limited detail concerning force structure and programmatic decisions, it does lay out a series of defense priorities—described as a paradigm shift—with “defense of the U.S. homeland” as “the highest priority for the U.S. military.”2 Other priorities described as elements of a “new force sizing construct” include the capacity to:

•   deter aggression and coercion forward in critical regions

•   swiftly defeat aggression in overlapping major conflicts while preserving for the President the option to call for a decisive victory in one of those conflicts—including the possibility of regime change or occupation

•   conduct a limited number of smaller-scale contingency operations.3

This force sizing construct is designed to optimize the military to achieve “four defense policy goals,” described in the QDR Report as assuring allies and friends, dissuading future military competition, deterring threats and coercion against U.S. interests, and decisively defeating any adversary if deterrence fails.4 These defense policy goals are, in turn, identified as supporting a series of enduring “U.S. national interests and objectives” (discussed below).

While the QDR Report addresses priorities, goals, and national interests, it does not lay out a specific listing of anticipated military missions. Yet without identification of expected missions for which to prepare, defense planning cannot sensibly proceed.

Identifying Future Military Missions

What are the missions that the U.S. military will be called upon to carry out in the 21st century? The answer to this question is the prime determinant of decisions concerning the size, characteristics, and force structure of the U.S. Armed Forces. The events of September 11 have thrust the United States into a protracted conflict against terrorism, but counterterrorism, aerial strike, and special operations are only a small slice of the primary missions for which U.S. forces must be prepared.

Defining missions is one of three initial steps in creating a rational and effective defense policy. First, national security objectives must be identified; second, the security environment in which those objectives will be pursued must be evaluated;5 and third, the missions must be identified that military forces will be expected to accomplish to achieve these objectives within the context of the current and future security environment.

None of these steps are easy; all require thoughtful, coordinated analysis. Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military philosopher who continues to influence modern strategy, wrote that “everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is very difficult.”6 This difficulty, exacerbated by the friction of democratic politics, also applies to defense planning; the initial steps are often entangled by leaps of faith.
Such entanglements are apparent in public reactions to the emerging defense policies of the administration of President Bush, as well as throughout the overall debate on the need for military transformation. Indeed, the results of the recent Quadrennial Defense Review—whose process itself took several controversial turns—revealed friction among participants in the defense decisionmaking process as to how to determine the appropriate missions for which U.S. military forces should be shaped.

To some extent, these differences are the natural result of the current administration’s attempt to change policies that had been established over the previous 8 years. But they also reflect the fact that although different military missions have been emphasized since the end of the Cold War, there has been little agreement on how to conceptualize the relationship between these emerging missions and the tasks for which the U.S. military has traditionally been prepared. There has been no generally accepted replacement for the spectrum-of-conflict model that characterized the relationship between military missions during the Cold War, despite the fact that significant elements of this model are no longer considered primary or even likely national security threats.

The spectrum-of-conflict model carries with it an implicit prioritization of military missions that arguably no longer applies in the post-Cold War world. It is this implicit prioritization that makes argument over models and taxonomies of military missions more than merely academic. The three initial steps in defense planning described above imply a natural linkage between priority objectives, greatest potential threats, and the prioritization of assigned military missions. Logically, the prioritization of missions should determine the shape and size of military force structure, which, in turn, would drive explicit choices in the expenditure of resources. The friction of politics aside, it would make little sense to expend the majority of resources on the lowest priority mission or to hedge against the least of all potential threats. Instead, it makes greater sense to focus the most resources on primary objectives, high-priority missions, and the most likely or most deadly of anticipated threats. Decisions to transform the military to a new set of capabilities or force structure should be the consequences of reprioritization of objectives, reassessment of anticipated threats, or emergence of differing sets of missions. Making these choices in an organized fashion requires some sort of model or prioritized listing.

The purpose of this chapter is to outline such a model of identification of military missions, linking them to national objectives and anticipated threats.7 This effort is meant to be illustrative rather than prescriptive. In examining the differences between the traditional spectrum-of-conflict model—and its implicit assumptions and prioritization—and a new model that can be termed a hierarchy of missions, the chapter also illustrates part of the analytical rationale for military transformation.

Ultimately, any decision for transformation will, implicitly or explicitly, reflect a new prioritization of missions. The hierarchy-of-missions model attempts to capture this emerging reprioritization, based on defense policy statements, reports concerning the Quadrennial Defense Review, and deductive reasoning.

Contradictions and Transformation in Context

There are apparent contradictions in what the American people will expect of their military in the 21st century. The end of the Cold War has ushered in a popular perception that a major military conflict requiring the global commitment of vast, powerful forces is highly unlikely. Yet there is also the expectation of an increasing number of smaller but perhaps more direct threats to America’s security. This perception received a dramatic and painful public airing through the events of September 11 and subsequent incidents of anthrax contamination.  At the same time, the military success in Operation Desert Storm, and in Kosovo as well, has raised expectations of what America’s high-technology Armed Forces can achieve with relatively little in the way of casualties or civilian collateral damage. As of mid-October 2001, operations in Afghanistan appear to have reinforced these expectations.

The result of the intersection of these three impressions is that the public (or at least those members of the public who express their concern on defense and security matters) has a mixed view of the type of military in which it wants to invest. They appear to want to maintain an overwhelming military advantage over all possible opponents but not to spend at the levels of the Cold War or even of the Desert Storm era. They seem to want their government to do something about the tragedies of the modern world that are broadcast to them on CNN, but they do not want military involvement in quagmires such as Vietnam or Somalia. Political rhetoric and media commentary may have convinced them that they cannot have both an increasingly high-tech warfighting force directed against threats to the homeland and forces sufficiently large as to intervene simultaneously in the multitude of lower intensity peacekeeping operations of concern to the international community.8

The increasing integration of economies and societies commonly characterized as globalization would seem to foretell a future in which Great Power war becomes obsolete but intervention in smaller-scale contingencies is inevitable. “We are envisioning . . .an era marked by both an increasing integration of societies and a need for greater commitments of military forces. That might seem an inherent contradiction, but it is possible nevertheless.”9

Globalization also suggests that threats once considered of low military significance, such as nonstate terrorism, international crime, or ecological degradation, will become important factors in national security planning. Indeed, the response to terrorism has already become the primary focus of American security efforts. Creeping proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and longer-range strike systems also may increase the potential for direct threats to the U.S. homeland. Yet until September 11, many defense experts, including many current military leaders, argued that such engagement and interventions (and by implication, extensive homeland defenses) take away from what should be the true focus of the U.S. military: supporting the Nation’s most vital interests by being ready to fight and win America’s wars. This position—most widely held in the U.S. Army, less so in the U.S. Air Force, and infrequently expressed in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps—holds that intervention in operations other than war results in a de facto reduction in readiness for actual high-intensity combat. This view may seem to be dormant during the current focus on steps to increase homeland security, but it is reflected in the emphasis on the procurement of new, high-technology power-projection systems reflected in such pre-September 11 planning documents as Joint Vision (JV) 2020. As JV 2020 argues, “If our Armed Forces are to be faster, more lethal, and more precise in 2020 than they are today, we must continue to invest in and develop new military capabilities.”10

Overlaid on the readiness-versus-engagement debate is the growing call for military transformation in the wake of new emerging threats and continuing technical innovations, particularly in information systems technologies. Proposals for transformation run from vague exhortations for change to advocacy of specific military systems and doctrine.  Some view transformation as a change toward more rapid, lighter, and more lethal forces that effectively and definitively refocuses the U.S. military on new forms of the “high-end” warfighting of major theater war. Such new forms might include information warfare against civilian infrastructure or war between space systems. Part of this warfighting capability would include defenses against direct threats to the homeland, such as a national missile defense. This view implies that ground troops in operations other than war—such as peacekeeping—obtain only marginal benefits from such improved technologies as precision strike systems (and that such operations other than war are of limited utility in forwarding U.S. security interests). High-technology transformation is, therefore, all about maintaining U.S. military superiority over all potential opponents for years to come. As evidenced by the QDR process and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s public statements, this approach largely corresponds to the Bush administration view of transformation.

Others view transformation as an enabler that will convert a ponderous, heavy, and largely single-mission warfighting force structure into a more nimble contingency force that would be more effective in smaller- scale contingencies. Technological innovations, such as advances in precision strike, nonlethal weapons, and more rapid means of troop deployment, are touted as giving new capabilities for successful interventions at relatively low cost. An implication of this view is that since high-end warfighting is decreasingly likely, the U.S. military needs to be reoriented toward missions of greater frequency, and technological transformation can be the means to do so. Although the Clinton administration did not emphasize a policy of military transformation, the “new capabilities for successful intervention” approach reflects the general inclination of officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during the tenures of William Perry and William Cohen.

The assumptions common to both of these positions are that military transformation is carried out for a purpose and that it is not merely a reaction propelled by technological changes completely beyond anyone’s control. An alternative argument could be that what is being called transformation is merely an enlightened approach toward evolutionary changes in technology that are driven by other factors than the purposes for which armed forces might be used. This alternative argument is somewhat inaccurately captured in the shorthand that “technology drives strategy,” one side of a debate that was quite popular in the 1970s but that somewhat exhausted itself in more recent decades.11 However, even that argument would not necessarily eliminate the need for choices in determining which technologies should be adopted by military forces; even so, some sort of mission prioritization is necessary.

Spectrum-of-Conflict Model

The spectrum-of-conflict model was used in a number of DOD publications and briefings during the Cold War, particularly during the 1980s.12 Figure 1-1 is a representative version of the spectrum-of-conflict model.  The spectrum is represented by a notional curve created by points on two axes: level of violence (x) and probability of occurrence (y). Activities at lower levels of violence have a much higher probability of occurrence than activities at the higher end. The conflict activities along the curve are broken into three general subgroupings in order of decreasing probability: peacetime presence, crisis response, and global conventional war.

The activities viewed as traditional military functions are clustered at the higher end of the level of violence (x) axis. The higher end also represents responses to occurrences that would pose higher levels of more direct threats to the lives and well-being of individual Americans and to the survival of the Nation. At the far right end is strategic nuclear war, which represents the most extreme direct threat to the U.S. homeland. Further down the level of violence, but higher in probability of occurrence, are theater nuclear war and global conventional war (shown both as a subgrouping and as a single point on the curve). Although theater nuclear war is meant to describe conflicts involving nuclear strikes on targets outside the U.S. homeland, the potential for such a nuclearized conflict to escalate into a strategic exchange is presumed to be high, making it the second highest threat. Using the same logic, the curve moves down the level of violence and up the probability of occurrence with limited war, use of force, show of force, surveillance, and peacetime presence.

On the surface, the spectrum-of-conflict model is an understandable, idealized representation of the frequency that military force might be used in differing but related activities. Out of context, it could be swiftly dismissed as merely academic, a clever illustration. But, in reality, its use to describe U.S. military activities illustrates specific assumptions about how military power should be used, as well as specific sets of priorities for the missions that the military is designed to carry out.

The U.S. military services used the model throughout the Cold War to explain why their activities and force structure differed, though each was logical. The Department of the Navy used the model to illustrate the importance of peacetime forward naval presence, an activity to which naval resources were devoted on a routine, rotational basis. The Navy accepted the logic that most assets should be used for the most common activities, at least while they are not needed for actual combat. But it also argued that each naval unit should be capable, to some degree, of carrying out missions all along the spectrum. This view leads to a specific set of priorities in both operations and design, toward a forward-deployed Navy of high endurance, multimission units.13 These priorities are also consistent with historical justifications for maintaining a powerful oceangoing Navy.

The Department of the Army interpreted the spectrum somewhat differently. It viewed the level of violence as the dominant axis. Although such missions as peacetime presence, surveillance, and shows of force were necessary, the focus of Army combat units would be on the missions at the higher levels of violence. As a practical matter, the mission of strategic nuclear war had been assigned to the other services; thus, the Army focus remained on theater nuclear war and global conventional war.14 From this point of view, everything to the left side of the curve was a lesser included case of the missions on the curve itself. This de facto prioritization naturally emphasizes the development of heavy combat units optimized for high-intensity conflict against a similarly endowed foe—a logical emphasis, since the expected opponent was the Soviet Army. From this perspective, it would be illogical to train or optimize front-line units for missions such as limited war or peacetime presence. The abilities to carry out such missions were assumed to be byproducts of preparing for global conventional war.

Under this logic, the Army would theoretically conduct limited wars—such as Vietnam—with less capable units than those positioned against possible Soviet invasion in the Fulda Gap and elsewhere. Although this theory was difficult to implement in practice, officer rotation and assignment policies of the Vietnam era seemed to signal a desire to preserve Army strength for what was perceived as “the real fight.” This theory also corresponded with the desire of political leaders to keep the Vietnam intervention a limited war. But even when the Army rebuilt itself after Vietnam, the dominant focus toward preparing for major war was reflected in the perception that involvement in lower intensity conflicts, peacekeeping, or operations other than war detracted from readiness for the primary military mission of global or major regional war. The Clinton administration emphasis on using military forces in operations other than war and in nontraditional roles revealed tensions with the existing focus on the high end of the conflict spectrum.

For much of the Cold War, the Department of the Air Force designed its force structure almost exclusively for missions at the very highest level of violence. Deterring strategic nuclear war was the ultimate mission, represented by the organizational dominance of the Strategic Air Command. Theater nuclear war was seen as a secondary aspect of this mission, with shorter-range attack aircraft and fighter-bombers focused on this task. Preparations for a global conventional war also mandated developing dual-use systems and maintaining considerable strength in tactical air forces and transport squadrons. All missions that fell lower in the violence axis were to be executed by high-intensity systems diverted from what was seen as their primary purpose. (This is the origin of recent debates on the employment of high demand/low density assets, such as airborne warning and control system [AWACS] aircraft.) The concept of the independent use of air power to conduct strategic attacks and interdiction fortified the belief that lower intensity conflict was just more of the same activity to be conducted on a lower priority basis. One example was the use of B-52 bombers, trained for individual penetration of Soviet airspace but used for massed, high-altitude bombing missions in Southeast Asia.15

Shifting Down the Spectrum

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union (1989-1991) seemingly reduced the threat of strategic and theater nuclear war, as well as of global conventional war, almost to the point of nonexistence. But no obvious replacement emerged for the spectrum-of-conflict model to illustrate the missions for which the military would be trained and prepared. Operation Desert Storm, which could be described as a major theater war or major regional conflict that involved significant portions of U.S. and allied military strength, seemed to represent merely a shift down the spectrum of conflict to a level somewhat lower than global conventional war.

The reconstitution strategy of President George Bush (which was delayed by Desert Storm) sought reduction of the U.S. military by almost one-third. However, it was intended as a balanced reduction that would keep a “portfolio of capabilities” that could allow for future shifts of emphasis up or down the conflict spectrum, depending on current or emerging threats. Forces in the strategic triad could be reduced or taken off alert, but the deterrence of strategic nuclear war was still considered an important high-end task. Capabilities required to move conventional forces swiftly to conduct global war were downsized but retained in structure to facilitate responses to lower levels of conflict that might occur anywhere on the globe.16 In the early Clinton administration, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin adopted an evolutionary “two major regional contingency (MRC)” approach to force sizing, since the possibility of a global war against a single opponent seemed remote. However, the two-MRC strategy and its successor, the two major theater war (MTW) strategy, required similar if smaller forces than the single global conventional war.

The Clinton administration initiated a variety of “lower level of violence” military actions, including punitive strikes, shows of force, other smaller-scale contingencies, and a series of operations other than war. The pace and resource requirements for such activities appeared to critics to threaten the level of readiness actually required to prepare for two overlapping regional wars, thereby calling into question the assumption that those activities were truly lesser included cases. After conducting air operations over Serbia in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intervention in Kosovo, the Air Force declared itself “operationally broke,” having consumed resources at a level previously thought necessary for an MTW. During the 1993 Bottom-Up Review and 1997 QDR, the Navy convinced the Secretary of Defense that its peacetime presence mission required a greater naval force structure than that actually necessary to conduct two major theater wars. An obvious disconnect was developing between the size of forces necessary to conduct such “lower intensity of violence” missions and the implications of the spectrum-of-conflict model. Simply viewing the military as shifting its focus down the spectrum of conflict did not provide a coherent guide to deciding force structure issues, as it had done during the Cold War.

In terms of the post-Cold War missions the Nation’s leaders are assigning to U.S. military forces, the prioritization inherent in the spectrum-of-conflict model no longer made sense. For some, the question became: Was the model no longer valid, or were the missions being assigned to military forces somehow not “appropriate”?

Are Emerging New Missions a Reality?

Those viewing the prioritization in the spectrum-of-conflict model and arguing that lesser-level-of-violence missions are a detriment to military readiness for major conflict often imply that these military missions of the 21st century are new. A common perception is that an ever-increasing number of missions have been added to the responsibilities of the post-Cold War U.S. military. This viewpoint is reinforced by the use of a host of new terms and descriptions about what we expect our Armed Forces to do. Peacekeeping, peace enforcement, humanitarian assistance, stability operations, military operations other than war, peace operations, and engagement are a few of the terms used with increasing frequency. The involvement of U.S. forces in such missions around the globe has become a significant political issue, with many seeing such involvement as a severe detriment to overall military readiness. As a Presidential candidate and as President early in his term, George W. Bush postulated that U.S. forces have been overextended through their use in such missions and suggested a policy of cutting back on such involvement.

In fact, many such missions—though perhaps not the modern terms that describe them—have been routine peacetime responsibilities of American military forces throughout history; examples abound. Technology aside, intervention in Haiti in 1994 was conceptually similar in form if not in intent to that in 1915. The 1923 Report to Congress of Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby reveals that naval forces were then involved in patrolling the Yangtse River to “suppress banditry and piracy”; providing disaster relief to Yokohama, Tokyo, and Nagasaki in the wake of a major earthquake and tsunami; conducting a noncombatant evacuation of over 260,000 Greeks and Armenians following the capture of Smyrna by Turkish troops; and fulfilling their role as the primary participant of the International Ice Patrol in the North Atlantic shipping lanes.17 Naval officers served as governors of Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. The United States had just made a historic (if not lasting) effort in multilateral arms control, crisis stability, and engagement with the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty. All of these are activities that would make the most modern multilateral interventionist proud.

Such overseas activities may have been primarily a Navy and Marine Corps responsibility, but it should also be recalled that the Army spent a good portion of its history pacifying Native American tribes, conducting “nation building” in the former Confederate States during Reconstruction, training engineers to build railroads, pursuing Mexican revolutionists following raids in the southwest United States, and dispersing potentially unruly groups such as the Bonus Marchers. Such missions are not entirely new.

What is new, however, is the widespread and intense public awareness of these missions and the sense of importance attached to them by policymakers. When viewed only through the prism of the Cold War, these missions represent radical shifts in the purpose and employment of military forces. But the inherent prioritization of the spectrum-of-conflict model would treat these “new” missions simply as lesser included elements of global conventional war. Here is where contradictory expectations, calls for transformation, and biases of the model collide. If the potential for global conventional conflict is very low, interpreting lower-intensity-of-violence missions as lesser included cases makes no sense. Worse, force structure decisions that could optimize the military to deal with the expected lower-intensity-of-violence missions might be deflected by the perceived need to retain or improve readiness for global conventional war.

In fact, the collision (some critics called it an impending “train wreck”18) that bedeviled Clinton administration defense policy was between the apparent desires of the policymakers to optimize military force structure for smaller-scale contingencies and operations other than war and the professional military leadership desire to maintain a high level of readiness for the two-MTW construct that replaced global conventional war as the high-intensity mission. This was not insubordination on the part of the professional military leadership; the civilian policymakers also insisted on retaining the two-MTW construct as the primary force-sizing tool. Their insistence resulted in a series of embarrassing Congressional hearings in 1998-1999 in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff first argued that force readiness was acceptable and then reversed themselves and said it was significantly degraded. The reversal was less the result of subterfuge than of confused policy; the two-MTW strategy may have been the force-sizing yardstick, but it was not given full resources and did not reflect administration expectations as to what constituted the real military missions. In the background lay the inherent prioritization of the spectrum-of-conflict model, making the administration’s real highest priority missions subordinate to higher intensity missions, which were not expected to take place.


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Bush Administration Priorities

President George W. Bush’s campaign statements indicated a strong commitment to the improvement of military readiness and support for significant military transformation.19 Following his election, some initially interpreted his statements to mean that a significant increase to the defense budget would finance all potential costs for increased readiness, current force structure programs, and robust transformation. Not only was this view unwarranted, but it missed a significant point about the emphasis on transformation, a point made evident by the incoming administration’s focus on tax cuts rather than substantial across-the-board increases in defense. Arguably, transformations are not needed when evolutionary improvements are affordable. The need for transformation is most evident when existing plans are no longer considered affordable and are no longer appropriate to changing priorities. The change in priorities itself may well be a result of the recognition of how unaffordable the current defense program had become.

These changed priorities are identified in the QDR 2001 Report and had been previously reflected in the public statements of the President, Secretary of Defense, and Deputy Secretary of Defense, along with the initial QDR Terms of Reference setting out the parameters of the review. First, the administration clearly intends to revoke the previous two-MTW construct as a force sizing tool and replace it with a requirement for outcomes of one “big win” and one “restore order” in the case of two overlapping MTWs. Second, funding for homeland defense will be substantially increased, and a national missile defense (NMD) will be developed and deployed. Prior to September 11, NMD appeared the likely dominant defense priority throughout the administration, but it has been supplanted by the war on terrorism.

Third, the skepticism expressed by defense officials concerning the efficacy of lower intensity military intervention and humanitarian actions, particularly when allied or coalition military forces might be readily available, would have suggested a reduction in American involvement in these activities. However, actions necessitated by the war on terrorism may instead require the Bush administration to become involved in even more smaller-scale contingencies than during President Clinton’s tenure, starting with de facto U.S. intervention in the Afghan civil war.

Fourth, current readiness and future transformation of the force will be emphasized. Transformation goals center on homeland defense, precision strike, rapid mobility, and a lighter land force. Finally, any future defense budget increase—in light of homeland security priorities—will be directed to homeland defense, NMD, readiness, and gradual transformation and may not be sufficient to cover the cost of maintaining the current force size. As the QDR Report concedes, however, these objectives were largely developed before September 11 and may be modified based on the outcome of current counterterrorism efforts.20
Extrapolating from these observations, a hierarchy of national security interests that appear to guide Bush administration defense planning can be developed. This hierarchy of missions would be an effective replacement of the spectrum-of-conflict model for illustrating the priority of missions for which future military forces would be designed.

Toward a Hierarchy of Missions

The first step in developing an illustrative hierarchy of missions is to categorize national security interests as survival interests, vital interests (which could also be considered world order interests), and value interests. These terms would replace the “vital, important, and humanitarian and other interests” used in the 2000 (and earlier) Clinton administration National Security Strategy.21 Such a categorization is consistent with the spirit of previous attempts to organize national interests. Table 1-1 illustrates the categories of interests and the politico-military objectives related to each, which can be identified based on analysis of public statements.

Survival Interests

Survival interests include three related but functionally different objectives: survival of the Nation, territorial integrity (homeland security), and economic security.  The functional differences become clearer when the military missions associated with each politico-military objective are identified (table 1-2). For example, the objective of survival of the Nation would depend upon military missions such as nuclear deterrence, national missile defense, and strategic reconnaissance and warning.

Another survival interest is the objective of territorial integrity, dealing with threats that target the American population but not on a scale comparable to nuclear war. Associated military missions would include critical infrastructure protection, counterproliferation, and counterterrorism, often described as homeland security. This term is frequently defined to also include NMD and military assistance to civil authorities during natural disasters such as forest fires. However, NMD falls more logically into the category of survival of the Nation. Active-duty military assistance to civil authority in nondefense-related matters is generally conducted on an ad hoc basis or by the National Guard; since such assistance is focused on the well-being of Americans, it is included in the category of economic security.

Associated with the survival-interest objective of economic security would be the military missions of ensuring freedom of the seas and space, access to raw materials and protection of sea lines of communication (SLOC), integrity of financial operations (such as computer network defense [CND] against foreign opponents), and military participation in counterdrug and counter-international crime operations. These missions span the intensity spectrum but can be associated with a particular type of interest; they would not necessarily have been considered high-priority missions under the old spectrum-of-conflict model. Table 1-2 lists the military missions of the survival interests category. The difference in prioritization between the hierarchy-of-missions model and the spectrum-of-conflict model can be seen using, as an example, the mission type integrity of financial operations (against foreign threat). In the information age, integrity of financial operations would primarily involve CND operations. This mission’s apparent level of violence (or lack of it) would give it a very low priority under the spectrum-of-conflict model; integrity of financial operations would be considered by most to be a nontraditional military mission. However, this view is only accurate based on the Cold War experience; in previous eras, it would have been considered quite traditional. Absent an overwhelming threat to the survival of the Nation or territorial integrity, as was posed by the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, integrity of financial operations is an important national security mission.22 Its level of violence does not determine its priority.

Vital Interests

Many military missions that would likely be considered traditional in terms of the Cold War experience would fall into the interest category of vital or world order interests. Table 1-3 provides an illustrative listing of vital interests—ones critical to the long-term vitality of American democracy but that do not necessarily pose an immediate threat to the lives and domestic property of Americans. Military missions associated with vital interests range along the full spectrum of conflict, but many tend to be associated with a high intensity of conflict. The distinction between vital and survival interests is more than just the location of potential operations. It is also one of immediacy: while the threats to these vital interests are very real, they are not always felt immediately by Americans. The assumptions of mutual deterrence and homeland sanctuary that existed in the latter period of the Cold War no longer seem valid. This raises the question of whether overseas military operations can be successfully conducted against a determined opponent if U.S. survival interests can easily be threatened. Threats in the survival category create a de facto prioritization that relegates vital or world order interests to second place—a close second, but second nevertheless.

Placing national security interests such as the defense of treaty allies in the vital instead of the survival category immediately raises the question of whether such a separation represents an isolationist defense policy. But this criticism betrays a lack of recognition of how profoundly different today’s security environment is from that of the Cold War period. Through its ideological hatred toward democracy, the Soviet Union remained an overriding threat to collective Western security. Such a threat does not exist today and is unlikely to reappear in the next 25 years.23

Although the possible emergence of a military peer competitor is a top future security concern to the Bush administration, other NATO governments seem less concerned at this prospect. With the wane of hostile ideologies, this threat appears more directed toward the United States in its current position in the international system than toward NATO. Such a view colors both the European reluctance to endorse U.S. adoptions of national missile defense (and renegotiation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty) and the administration’s decision to shift its defense focus to Asia. It also points to the reality that there is a de facto separation between threats to the U.S. homeland and threats to other NATO members.

French President Charles de Gaulle’s rhetorical Cold War question was about whether the U.S. Government would ever seriously “trade Washington for Paris.” It is now a fair question to ask whether—in the absence of a collective threat on the scale of the Soviet Union—anyone would consider trading Paris for Washington. Whatever the answer, the renewed urgency of the objective of homeland security indicates at least a partial answer to the question of whether the United States could successfully conduct combat operations overseas against an enemy that could threaten the American homeland. It may be more difficult today than it was during the Cold War, primarily due to uncertainty concerning the efficacy of nuclear or conventional deterrence. Heightening týis uncertainty is the fact that military assets that would be needed to support such homeland security functions as domestic consequence management are currently earmarked for overseas deployment in the event of a major theater war. In the absence of aÂformal prioritization of missions, an ad hoc choice may have to be made between overseas power projection and homeland security in the event of a threat to retaliate against American territory.24 The result is an emerging de facto prioritization in military missions, placing conventional regional war in the category of vital rather than survival interests.

Within the overall category of vital interests, the objectives can be separated into three categories: defense of treaty allies, defense of democratic and pivot states, and deter or win regional conflict.
Although defense of treaty allies is an objective that has existed at least since the establishment of NATO in 1948, in recent years it has not been seen as an objective separate from the generic requirement of providing a two-MTW capability. Two factors influenced this amalgamation: the assumption that NATO and bilateral U.S. allies Australia and Japan no longer faced plausible direct threats to their security (although South Korea, another bilateral ally, did face such a threat), and the assumption that major theater war would more likely occur in the developing world (again, with South Korea as the exception). The canonical two-MRC/MTW cases—war with Iraq and North Korea—reflect these assumptions. But the reality is that treaty allies are the only states to which the United States is obliged to commit its forces to defend. This makes defense of these states a separate and higher priority mission, de facto as well as de jure, than other vital interests.

Because all of the U.S. treaty allies are economically developed states with considerable supporting infrastructure, and most have considerable regional military strength of their own, the objective of defense of treaty allies paradoxically requires relatively few unique military missions. Capabilities for three major military missions are required: overseas/forward presence; power projection and conventional rapid response; and providing advanced C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability) for major conventional war.

Overseas or forward presence acts as a reassurance to the allies, a potential deterrent to aggressors, and a means of making combat forces immediately available in case of attack on an ally. With its treaty allies, U.S. forces can generally rely on a developed base structure, facilitating the maintenance of ground forces. The presence of U.S. forces reinforces existing national capability and thus is not the sole means available to thwart aggression. Presence reinforces the viability of the treaty alliance; its political effect may actually be greater than the combat effect of the forces themselves.

Power projection of rapid-response forces is an obvious necessity for allied defense. Again, however, the existence of extensive airports, seaports, and infrastructure for debarkation and military support allows for faster, more efficient force projection than in austere theaters. Forces can be tailored, but more importantly, their timing of phased movement in the theater can be mutually agreed upon and prepared in advance.
The provision of advanced C4ISR capabilities to treaty allies reflects the dominance of U.S. capabilities in this sector. An example is AWACS aircraft; some are under direct NATO control, but most are under U.S. national control. The extensive U.S. investment in space systems has cyeated another area in which the United States can provide direct support to allies. Treaty allies do not lack national C4ISR capabilities; however, U.S. capabilities are global, generally more technologically advanced, and of considerably greater extent. Whereas U.S. combat forces may only be a greater version of existing allied combat capability, U.S. C4ISR capabilities often reflect a qualitative, not just quantitative, addition.

The term pivot state describes regional powers that make considerable contributions toward maintaining regional peace and thereby support U.S. national interests in free markets, U.S. access to resources, and enlargement of democratic governance.25 Defense of democratic and pivot states is not merely a lesser priority version of defense of treaty allies; it reflects a need for different types of forces, planning, and power projection. An example of a pivot state is Egypt, a populous nation whose relations with Israel are key to ensuring peace in the Middle East. Egypt receives considerable U.S. financial and military support for its efforts; a significant threat to Egyptian security would also be a threat to U.S. policies in the region.

Not all pivot states are Western-style democracies, but most generally could be considered at least emerging democracies. Defense of other democratic states can also be considered a vital interest of the United States, since democracies tend to support regional peace and world order and to hold interests similar to those of America. In light of terrorist assaults on democratic institutions, an attack on an individual democratic state implies an attack against global democratic institutions.

The objective of defense of democratic and pivot states requires a more extensive combination of the types of military missions that are often associated with preparations for major theater war. As with treaty allies, forward presence provides reassurance of U.S. commitment and initial crisis response. However, the lack of a formal alliance often means that only limited infrastructure exists or is available for forward presence forces. The resulting forward presence with limited infrastructure support is of a less permanent nature than that in allied territory and is, of necessity, primarily naval in nature.

Long- and intermediate-range strike, particularly with precision weapons, is also a critical mission in conducting operations in defense of democratic and pivot states. These capabilities also would be among the military force requirements in defense of treaty allies, but here the probable lack or destruction of supporting air bases is likely to require direct attacks by long-range forces, perhaps even those based in the continental United States (CONUS). Precision strike is aimed at blunting an initial enemy attack and interdicting follow-on enemy forces as well as bringing combat operations to the territory of the aggressor in an effort to destroy “centers of gravity.”26 Precision strike may also allow for “effects-based operations” designed to directly influence the aggressor’s decisionmaking process.27

Special operations are critical to the success of any military campaign, but even more so in the defense of states with limited infrastructure or in campaigns in which U.S. forces do not have other means of gathering information. Such operations are likely to be conducted within the aggressor state with the purpose of creating direct effects, such as destruction of decisionmaking nodes and war-supporting infrastructure, as well as gathering information. Special operations are a component of the overall power projection of expeditionary and rapid response forces, but they particularly come to the fore in cases where direct power projection of forces from CONUS is difficult or unwarranted.

Power projection of U.S. expeditionary and rapid response capability remains the primary mission of the Armed Forces in all overseas conflicts. Expeditionary forces are those designed to mount attacks within the theater as part of routine deployment and forward presence and that are capable of sustaining themselves for initial operations with only limited assistance from the host nation’s infrastructure. Such forces include amphibious Marine expeditionary units, naval forces, expeditionary air forces, and airborne forces. Comparable to expeditionary forces, rapid reaction forces are heavier (although not necessarily as heavy as in the past) and more powerful forces that depend more on local infrastructure such as ports of debarkation but can be transported from CONUS into the theater fast enough to blunt an aggressor’s continued forward movement and commence the reversal of the enemy’s gains. Advocates of transformation envision most of America’s future active-duty forces possessing an increased capacity for rapid reaction.  As in defense of treaty allies, C4ISR capability is crucial for effective battle management. In the case of non-treaty allies, such C4ISR capability is necessarily expeditionary in nature.

As an objective, deterring and winning regional conflicts require the same or similar missions as the defense of allies and of democracies or pivot states. An additional requirement, however, is the capacity to conduct them in an antiaccess environment in which U.S. forces have no toehold or logistics support in the region. This might occur because potential supporters in the region are reluctant to allow U.S. forces to use their territory, lest their own infrastructure or forces become targets of the aggressor, or it may be the result of the aggressor’s success in swiftly defeating regional opponents and ejecting U.S. forces from the region.

Access operations against antiaccess efforts require the capability to fight through layered regional defenses. This might include counter-mine warfare, suppression of enemy air defenses and suppression of enemy coastal defenses, and amphibious and airborne operations. Although all these capabilities may be required under the conditions of less demanding scenarios, the antiaccess or area denial environment would be extremely taxing on the forces assigned to conduct these sub-missions and require specialized and advanced capabilities that are likely to require considerable resource investment to develop.

Value Interests

Categorizing military missions in terms of value interests implies more than simply assigning a priority. Critics could argue that the very use of the term value places such interests in the nonvital category and reduces the likelihood that the U.S. Government will take action in their regard. Where vital interests are said to be drivers of realpolitik, value interests might be thought to reflect a lesser or occasional commitment.

But the reality is that throughout much of America’s history, its overseas activities have been in support of values such as the enlargement of democratic governance and the suppression of particularly brutal regimes or activities.28 The United States—motivated by the universality of its democratic principles—routinely chooses to take actions that cannot be strictly defined under realpolitik as purely national interests. Table 1-4 provides an illustrative list of such internationalist value interests. Historically, these are not necessarily treated as less vital interests.These value interests focus on the reduction of overt violence and maintenance of peace in areas of the world prone to conflict. This emphasis is something more than simply the defense of democratic regimes, allies, or pivot states. Illustrative are the U.S. efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo to stem conflicts in which there were few if any supporters of Western-style multiethnic democracy and no apparent natural resources or issues of direct security to the United States. Efforts to stop genocide or ethnic cleansing clearly represent values.

U.S. military forces have routinely been used to support such value interests long before recent emphasis on humanitarian actions. They acted as the primary humanitarian assistance agency of the United States throughout much of its history, prior to the creation of such specialized entities as the Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps.  Although the use of military force to support value interests hardly constitutes an emerging mission, the forms of such missions have changed with the complexity of modern culture and the impact of globalization. Value interests can be divided into two objectives: preventing internal conflict/peacemaking, and performing more generalized peace operations.

Preventing internal conflict or peacemaking implies the use of armed force to “make” peace, which may sometimes include conducting limited military operations against a warring faction. Peacemaking, a concept greater than simply peace enforcement, does not assume the existence of a peace agreement. Rather, it implies action to curb lawlessness and violence in order to create conditions in which a peace agreement can be reached. The unsuccessful 1991 attempt to quell clan warfare in Somalia can be considered an example. Peacemaking operations require forces capable of conducting such military missions as noncombatant evacuation, low-intensity conflict, special operations, peace enforcement, psychological operations, civil-military affairs, foreign military training, and C4ISR support to foreign military forces. All of these missions are also elements of other objectives, such as deterring or winning regional conflicts. However, they are primary or dominant missions of the peacemaking objective and may require specially trained forces to conduct them successfully in a lower intensity environment.

The term peace operations is meant to encompass the day-to-day engagement activities of forward-deployed U.S. forces. Unlike peacemaking, peace operations are not expected to involve the use of force against an enemy. Military missions in this category include multinational peacekeeping under existing peace agreements; peacetime military engagement with foreign military forces; humanitarian assistance under permissive (relatively nonviolent) conditions; and other interagency assistance that does not involve conflict with an arm“d enemy. Peace operations are assumed to be the primary mission of U.S. Armed Forces when they not engaged in conflict or in peacetime training.

Comparison to QDR 2001

The Bush administration Quadrennial Defense Review Report identifies a series of “enduring national interests” that the “development of defense posture should take into account.”29 The interests identified include:

•   ensuring U.S. security and freedom of actions, including U.S. sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom; guarding the safety of U.S. citizens at home and abroad; and protecting critical U.S. infrastructure

•   honoring international commitments about the security and well-being of allies and friends; precluding hostile domination of critical areas, particularly Europe, Northeast Asia, the East Asian littoral, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia; and maintaining peace and stability in the Western hemisphere

•   contributing to economic well-being, including the vitality and productivity of the global economy; the security of international sea, air and space, and information lines of communication; and access to key markets and strategic resources.

The similarities between these listed interests and the interests, objectives, and missions of the hierarchy-of-missions model described in this chapter are obvious, but there are also differences. The hierarchy model was developed to tie missions directly to interests and therefore draws more detailed distinctions between categories. Although the interests listed in the QDR provide general guidance for defense policy goals, the report does not attempt to translate them into military missions. Its focus is on the “paradigm shift” in force-sizing criteria, away from the two-MTW construct to a capabilities-based approach that supports national interests. No priorities for the various U.S. interests are stated explicitly; however, the body of the report makes it clear that the first priority is U.S. sovereignty and territorial integrity, and with it, protection of citizens and critical infrastructure. This interest category is referred to as “ensuring U.S. security and freedom of action”; this is implicitly consistent with the thesis of this chapter that assuring U.S. homeland security is a prerequisite for effective overseas operations.

Implications of the Hierarchy-of-Missions Model for Military Transformation

The purpose of this volume is to provide a context for the discussion of technology and military transformation. As a first step toward identifying the need for transformation, this chapter has examined the missions that can be expected to be assigned to the U.S. military in the 21st century in terms of a conceptual model that reprioritizes such missions along lines mirroring Bush administration priorities. This reprioritization reflects the passing of the immediate threats of the Cold War era, whose mission priorities were reflected in the spectrum-of-conflict model.

When such missions are viewed in terms of the resource constraints placed on the defense budget, cynics could charge that the hierarchy of survival, vital, and value missions merely confines the value missions to the “underfunded” category. But a quick look at U.S. foreign policy indicates that this outcome is not inevitable, nor even necessarily likely. Different Presidential administrations have made different choices as to funding priorities among the three categories. Arguably, much of U.S. foreign policy is directed toward the defense of such values as democratic governance and human rights. Globalized media play a considerable role in amplifying public concern for the promotion of these values. A Presidential administration could choose to allocate resources among the three categories based on the degree of risk it is willing to accept in any one mission area.30 Survival interests are likely to be funded more fully than, but not to the exclusion of, value-interest mission areas. A strong virtue of the hierarchy-of-interests model is that it forces explicit decisions on funding priorities, rather than assuming that missions in the vital or value categories are merely lesser included cases of the survival category missions with lesser included funding profiles.

The hierarchy of missions captures the new priorities based on the emerging contours of the future security environment and the apparent expectations of American policymakers. But it does not correspond with the implications of the current visions of the Joint Staff and services as reflected in the existing National Military Strategy or in Joint Vision 2010 and Joint Vision 2020.31 All three documents discuss a range of military missions necessary for American security, but the strategic and operational concepts they endorse are based on the spectrum-of-conflict approach to analyzing the relative importance of individual missions. Thus, the potential exists for a lack of consistency between the new missions and how the U.S. military presently expects to prepare itself. This raises questions about the purpose, timing, and extent of military transformation.

It also clouds our understanding of the effects on these new missions of recent and expected advancements in military technology. To reach a better understanding, several questions can be raised:

•   Do the emerging missions drive the development of these new technologies, or do the new technologies merely enable a more effective response to traditional missions?

•   Does the U.S. military need to transform itself radically to carry out these emerging missions effectively?

•   Does significant transformation need to be carried out for the U.S. military to capitalize on the new technologies?

Obviously, none of these questions can be answered in terms of the hierarchy-of-missions model alone. Rather, discussion of such questions in the context of the new model is intended as a gateway to the other chapters of this book

1. The U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, New World Coming (Washington, DC: September 15, 1999), 141.
2. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2001), 18 (hereafter QDR 2001 Report).
3. Ibid., 17.
4. Ibid., 11.
5. For a “consensus view” of the future security environment based on a survey of official and unofficial studies since 1996, see Sam J. Tangredi, All Possible Wars? Toward a Consensus View of the Future Security Environment, 2001-2025, McNair Paper 63 (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2001).
6. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Peter Paret and Michael Howard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 119.
7. The logic of the approach is based on the integrated path method used in Miche‘le A. Flournoy, ed., QDR 2001: Strategy-Driven Choices for America’s Security (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2001), 352-372.
8. For the purposes of this chapter, the term warfighting refers exclusively to military capabilities designed for countering the armed forces of a future military peer competitor or an aggressive regional power. It is meant to distinguish between the capabilities, organizational structures, and doctrine needed to defeat relatively modern and well-organized enemy forces involved in cross-border aggression from those optimized for smaller-scale conflicts. Although many of these capabilities are the same, doctrine regarding their use may vary.
9. Thomas Keaney, “Globalization, National Security and the Role of the Military,” SAISphere, Winter 2000, accessed at <>.
10.   Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2020 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, June 2000), 2.
11.   For the purposes of the analysis presented in this chapter, the assumption of transformation as purposeful change is adopted, and the simple “reaction to technology” thesis is, at least temporarily, rejected.
12.   It has been used as a planning tool and in war college courses up to the present. See, for example, Mahan Scholars, Navy 2020: A Strategy of Constriction, MS 99-02 (Newport, RI: Center for Naval Warfare Studies, U.S. Naval War College, August 2000), 29, 50. The spectrum-of-conflict model is not just an American construct; it has been used by other militaries. See Carol McCann and Ross Pigeau, The Human in Command: Exploring the Modern Military Experience (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2000), 2.
13.   There has recently been an internal Navy debate about whether the fleet should be described as “forces for presence, shaped for combat” or “forces for combat, shaping through presence.” See explanation of this debate in Sam J. Tangredi, “The Fall and Rise of Naval Forward Presence,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 126, no. 5 (May 2000), 28-32.
14.   Theater nuclear war was an emphasis in the “Pentomic” Army of the 1950s and early 1960s but was gradually deemphasized as the Cold War went on, since no one could determine how to fight it without triggering a strategic nuclear exchange. The mission of strategic nuclear war fell primarily to the Air Force and the Navy.
15.   John J. Zentner, The Art of Wing Leadership and Aircrew Morale in Combat, Cadre Paper No. 11 (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, June 2001), 82-85.
16.   For a detailed discussion of President Bush’s reconstitution strategy, see James J. Tritten and Paul N. Stockton, eds., Reconstituting America’s Defense: The New U.S. National Security Strategy (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992).
17.   Although Secretary Denby’s report implies that the U.S. Navy alone evacuated this large number of civilians from Smyrna, the Navy most likely participated in a coalition effort to transport the refugees. Other evidence indicates that the U.S. Navy accounted for the transport of only about 11,000 of the overall number of refugees. See Dimitra M. Giannuli, “American Philanthropy in the Near East: Relief to the Ottoman Greek Refugees, 1922-1923,” Ph.D. dissertation, Kent State University, 1992, 131. See other examples in Bernard D. Cole, “The Interwar Forward Intervention Force: The Asiatic Fleet, the Banana Fleet, and the European Squadrons,” paper prepared for the U.S. Navy Forward Presence Bicentennial Symposium, Center for Naval Analyses, Alexandria, VA, June 21, 2001.
18.   See, for example, Daniel Gouré and Jeffrey M. Ranney, Averting the Defense Train Wreck in the New Millennium (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1999).
19.   George W. Bush’s most notable campaign statement on readiness was made in the “A Period of Consequences” speech delivered at The Citadel, Charleston, SC, September 23, 1999.
20.   QDR 2001 Report, iii-v.
21.   The hierarchy of missions model was developed independently of and prior to the publication of the QDR 2001 Report. For Clinton administration national interest categories, see The White House, A National Security Strategy for a Global Age, December 2000, 4.
22.   Involvement of military forces in computer network defense does raise legitimate concerns about potential violations of the prohibitions of posse comitatus against the use of U.S. military forces against domestic crime. Such concerns would need to be discussed and resolved. For that reason, and because of the difficulty involved in distinguishing foreign from domestic attacks, agencies other than the Department of Defense might be better for the mission of protecting the integrity of financial operations.
23.   See discussion in Tangredi, All Possible Wars?, 42-50.
24.   Flournoy, QDR 2001, 229-230.
25.   Robert Chase, Emily Hill, and Paul Kennedy, eds., The Pivotal States: A New Framework for U.S. Policy in the Developing World (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999).
26.   Von Clausewitz defined center of gravity as “the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends.” Currently, it is used to describe the theoretical target of strategic air power. For discussion on Clausewitz’s view, see Ronald P. Richardson, “When Two Centers of Gravity Don’t Collide: The Divergence of Clausewitz’s Theory and Air Power’s Reality in the Strategic Bombing Campaign of World War II,” course paper, National Defense University, 1995, accessed at <>. For a discussions of the modern usage, see Mark Anthony, et al., Developing a Campaign Plan to Target Centers of Gravity Within Economic Systems (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, May 1995); and Mark Cancian, “Centers of Gravity Are a Myth,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, September 1998, 30-34.
27.   Effects-based operations are defined by Air Force strategists as “military actions and operations designed to produce distinctive and desired effects through the application of appropriate movement, supply, attack, defense, and maneuvers.” One of the most recent discussions of the concept (from which the definition was taken) is Edward Mann, Gary Endersby, and Tom Searle, “Dominant Effects: Effects-Based Joint Operations,” Aerospace Power Journal (Fall 2001), 92-100.
28.   See argument in Walter A. MacDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter With the World Since 1776 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
29.   QDR 2001 Report, 2.
30.   For an outstanding analysis of military risk, see Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., “Assessing Risk: Enabling Sound Defense Decisions,” in Flournoy, QDR 2001, 193-216.
31.   Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2010 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1996). United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy of the United States—Shape, Respond, Prepare Now: A Military Strategy for a New Century (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 1997).


  • Guest

Revolution in Military Affairs?

Competing Concepts, Organizational Responses, Outstanding Issues

Theodor W. Galdi

Specialist in International Security

Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

December 11, 1995





 In the wake of the overwhelming victory of coalition forces in Operation Desert Storm, a good deal of discussion took place whether the world had witnessed a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). The concept of an RMA itself, its constituent elements, and the timing of its occurrence, however, remain subjects of continuing debate.

Although some commentators have identified as many as ten previous RMAs, the current term evolved from a Soviet concept, military technical revolution. Three basic conceptions -- and a number of permutations -- for the current RMA are identified. The first focuses primarily upon changes in the nation state and the role of an organized military in using force -- it highlights the political, social, and economic factors at play worldwide which might lead to the need for completely different types of military force and organizations to apply that force in the future. The second conception, and that most commonly assigned the term RMA, highlights the evolution of weapons, military organizations, and operational concepts among advanced powers -- it focuses on the changes made possible by advancing technology. The third conception is that a true revolution in military affairs is unlikely, but rather there will be continuing evolution in equipment, organizations, and tactics to adjust to changes in technology and the international environment.

How the Department of Defense and military services are attempting to deal with long term planning is important because many of the changes highlighted by the debate over the RMA are likely to occur in the relatively distant future. The Department of Defense has conducted an RMA Initiative, focusing upon examining future technology, organizations and doctrines needed to deal with revolutionary change. At present, the Army is farthest along in creating institutions to integrate potentially revolutionary technology, assessing the consequences of an RMA, and attempting to incorporate necessary changes into Army doctrine and organization. Through Spacecast 2020, Air Force 2025, and the Air Force Revolutionary Planning Process, the Air Force is attempting to undertake very long range planning. The Navy and Marine Corps are just beginning this process.

The main practical issue for Congress arising from the RMA debate is how to resolve the conflict between expenditures for current and near-term activities and any expenditures needed to deal with an RMA. Funds to support current operations will not be available for future procurement. Other issues involve determining the appropriate detail for congressional oversight, arranging for greater coordination of RMA-related activities in the Department of Defense, and determining how best to foster long-term innovation by the military services.






The End of the Nation State 5

A System of Systems 6

Evolution, Not Revolution 8




Office of Net Assessment 9

DoD Revolution in Military Affairs Initiative 10

Major Organizational Steps 12

The U.S. Army and Force XXI 13

Force XXI 13

TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5 Force XXI Operations 14

Major Organizational Steps 16

The U.S. Air Force, Spacecast 2020, and Air Force 2025 20

The Air Force Revolutionary Planning Process and Air Force 2025 21

Major Organizational Steps 22

The U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Future Warfare 22

Major Organizational Steps 24



Setting Overall Priorities 25

Guiding Choices of Technologies and Organizational Structures 25

Providing Focus 26

Coordination 26

Steps to Improve Acquisition 27

Should Criticism Be Institutionalized? 27

Assessing the Opportunity Cost of Current Activities 28

Fostering Intraservice Interchange 28












Notwithstanding the rapid decline in funding for U.S. armed services in the recent past(1), it is expected that Congress will authorize the expenditure of substantial sums for defense in the future. In order to make informed judgements on what should be funded, Congress seeks knowledge of the state of military technology and the likely environments American forces might face in future conflict.

The main practical issue for Congress arising from the RMA debate is how to resolve the conflict between expenditures for current and near-term activities and any expenditures needed to deal with an RMA. Funds to support current operations will not be available for future procurement. Other issues involve determining the appropriate detail for congressional oversight, arranging for greater coordination of RMA-related activities in the Department of Defense, and determining how best to foster long-term innovation by the military services.

Following the overwhelming victory of coalition forces in Operation Desert Storm, a good deal of discussion took place whether the world had witnessed a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). However, active debate continues over whether in fact there is or will be an RMA, what are the constituent elements of such a revolution, when the revolution is to take place, and what steps would be needed to adapt to the revolution. This report consists of three parts: 1) A discussion of the debate over the definition and constituent elements of a Revolution in Military Affairs and the possible consequences for the American military; 2) A presentation of the steps that the Department of Defense and the military services are taking now to carry out long-term strategic planning and implementation; and 3) an examination of the major issues raised and what Congress and the Department of Defense might do to understand an RMA, guide U.S. policy, and as much as possible, guide the outcome.


The current term, "Revolution in Military Affairs" has evolved from an earlier term -- military technical revolution -- used by Soviet military theorists.(2) In the early 1970s the Soviets had identified two periods of fundamental military change in the 20th Century: one driven by the emergence of aircraft, motor vehicles and chemical warfare in World War I, and the second driven by the development of nuclear weapons, missiles and computers in World War II. The next "military-technical revolution" the Soviets thought, would involve advances in microelectronics, sensors, precision-guidance, automated control systems, and directed energy. By 1984, the Chief of the Soviet General Staff was expressing his concern that the emergence of "automated reconnaissance and strike complexes," including new control systems and very accurate long-range precision weapons, would bring the destructive potential of conventional weapons closer to that of weapons of mass destruction. The success of allied forces in Operation Desert Storm convinced the Soviets that the integration of control, communications, electronic combat, and delivery of conventional fires had been realized for the first time.(3)

Based upon an assessment of the outcomes of what have been defined as RMAs in the past, a revolution in military affairs takes place when one of the participants in a conflict incorporates new technology, organization, and doctrine to the extent that victory is attained in the immediate instance, but more importantly, that any other actors who might wish to deal with that participant or that activity must match, or counter the new combination of technology, organization, and doctrine in order to prevail. The accomplishments of the victor become the necessary foundation for any future military activities in that area of conflict. The emphasis on a specific area of conflict is important because it is possible that technologies or organizations proposed as elements of a current RMA -- such as the so-called sensor-to-shooter connection -- could be countered in a particular conflict by other elements, such as nuclear weapons.

Most true revolutions in military affairs have only been recognized after they have taken place. Except, perhaps, for nuclear weapons, the reality and power of the several revolutions in military affairs which will be briefly discussed below was recognized later, but not during their gestation period. One reason for this is that even in the relatively distant past, warfare itself has been in a constant state of flux. Most of this change was evolutionary, and as such was relatively easily countered. The effects of true revolutions in military affairs went beyond these changes and created a new environment. It should be noted that, from the perspective of the participants in the process, what was seen as evolutionary by the victorious side could have been seen as revolutionary by the losing side -- and by history.


There are several interpretations of the exact number and constituent elements of earlier revolutions in military affairs. One analyst counts as many as ten RMAs since the fourteenth century.(4) The Infantry Revolution and the Artillery Revolution took place during the Hundred Years War. In the first of these, infantry displaced the dominant role of heavy cavalry on the battlefield; in the second, advances in technology led to the development of effective cannons and siege warfare which could quickly degrade the formerly strong defenses of cities.

The outcome of the Battle of Crecy -- which marked the end of cavalry supremacy -- provides an example of the overwhelming dominance that becomes evident from the completion of an RMA. In that battle the French lost 1,542 knights and lords, and suffered over 10,000 casualties among crossbowmen and other support troops. The victorious English, relying on disciplined formations of infantry with unprecedented use of longbowmen, lost two knights, one squire, forty other men-at-arms and archers, and "a few dozen Welsh."(5)

Other revolutions in military affairs took place at sea where the advent of sail powered warships and cannon changed the nature of Naval Warfare. A Fortress Revolution in the sixteenth resulted from the development of fortifications better able to withstand the siege artillery of the day. The development of muskets and tactics to overcome their weaknesses and exploit their power led to another revolution. The large squares of pikemen and archers which had earlier overcome mounted cavalry, now became targets for artillery and musket fire. The Napoleonic Revolution took place when the French were able to standardize and improve their artillery, greatly increase the size of their armies and greatly improve the organization and command of their military formations.

The development of railroads and telegraphs, and the introduction of rifling for muskets and artillery created another Land Warfare Revolution in the 19th century. The American Civil War was fought by exploiting these developments. A second Naval Revolution took place at the end of the century as the rifled cannon, steel ships, and steam power changed the face of warfare at sea. The end of this period saw the introduction of the submarine and torpedo. The culmination of the tactics, organizations and technology of the two 19th century revolutions was reached in the early stages of World War I with static trench warfare on land and submarine warfare at sea.

The changes in technology and organization which had taken place by the end of World War I set the stage for the Revolutions in Mechanization, Aviation and Information which took place in the interwar period. These revolutions led to the great military innovations of World War II: Blitzkrieg by the German Army, carrier aviation by Japan and the United States, amphibious warfare by the United States, and strategic bombing by Great Britain and the United States. In the context of the discussion today, it should be noted that all of the elements of the later revolution -- motor vehicles and tanks, airplanes and radios -- were present in World War I. It was the combination of their technical advancement in the 1920s and 1930s, along with new doctrine and organizations that created revolutions. Finally the Nuclear Revolution took place as a result of the coupling of nuclear weapons with intercontinental bombers and ballistic missiles.

Because a defining characteristic of the last half of the twentieth century has been very rapid, accelerating, unavoidable, technological change, one of the major elements needed for a revolution in military affairs -- technological change -- is now always present. At the same time, rapid societal change and organizational adaptations by military forces are taking place. The presence of these phenomena has led to continuing discussions as to whether there currently exist, or will exist in the near future, the elements needed to create another revolution in military affairs.


A difficulty arises in understanding the current debate over the RMA because some participants use the term as referring to the revolutionary technology itself that is driving change, while others use the term as referring to revolutionary adaptations by military organizations that may be necessary to deal with the changes in technology or the geopolitical environment, and still others use the term to refer to the revolutionary impact of geopolitical or technological change on the outcome of military conflicts -- regardless of the nature of the particular technology or the reaction of the participants to the technological change. Members of each group use the term "revolution," but in reference to different phenomena. The difference in terms of reference leads to different suggested alternatives.

Although a number of permutations exist, for the purposes of this report, we establish three basic conceptions of a revolution in military affairs. The first focuses primarily upon changes in the nation state and the role of an organized military in using force. This approach highlights the political, social, and economic factors at play worldwide which might lead to the need for completely different types of military force and organizations to apply that force in the future. The second conception -- that most commonly assigned the term RMA -- highlights the evolution of weapons, weapons technology, and military organization and doctrine among advanced powers. This approach assumes the continuation of the nation-state as it has existed during the past four hundred years, and focuses on the changes made possible by advancing technology. The third conception is that a true revolution in military affairs is unlikely, but rather there will be continuing evolution in equipment, organizations, and tactics to adjust to changes in technology and the international environment.

The End of the Nation State

The views of Carl H. Builder, a senior analyst at the RAND corporation are typical of those whose vision of an RMA highlights the political, social, and economic factors at play worldwide which are likely to lead to the need for completely different types and organizations for the application of military force in the future.(6) According to Builder, in the future, ethnicity, theology, and special interests will dominate the current role of geography, nationalism, and political ideology in producing conflicts. The characteristics of this emerging world are as follows: The relative power of the nation state is declining, while the powers of business, advocacy, criminal, cultural and ethnic special interest groups are increasing. The ability of nations to control the flow of information, commodities and people is declining, while people are becoming more responsive to global events and opportunities. In addition, military weaponry is diffusing beyond the control of governments. The world created will be one in which conflict will be more frequent and more disaggregated. As a result, for the foreseeable future the most challenging situations facing the American military will be lesser conflicts and crises that demand aerial reconnaissance capabilities, rather than capabilities to fight for air supremacy, for constabulary duty rather than armored combat, and for the evacuation by sea of non-combatants rather than control of the high seas.

To deal with this world, Builder would give more emphasis to support forces rather than combat forces. As a result, support responsibilities would transfer from reserve personnel to active duty troops. The capability to undertake what Builder calls constabulary activities to prevent the use of the air, land, or sea would be greatly enhanced. This would be a change in emphasis from the current "big-war" focus of the military. Finally, according to Builder, the size of forces would shrink, but the diversity of capabilities would increase. The number of personnel in activities such as military transport, intelligence, communications, surveillance, military police, civil engineering, and psychological operations would grow while mainstream forces would be reduced.

Another observer, sharing Builder's basic viewpoint on the decline of the nation state, the nature of the emerging international (dis)order, and the different types of forces likely to be needed to deal with that disorder, claims that there is no compelling need today to purchase any additional bombers, submarines, or tanks except to preserve the industrial base.(7) From his perspective, the principal threats that the U.S. military will have to face in the near future will involve dealing with stateless international terrorist and criminal organizations. Dealing with these "wholly unprincipled," non-traditional opponents will involve different doctrines, weapons, and organizations than those presently subsumed under the technology-driven RMA rubric.

The consequences of accepting this view of the RMA are far-reaching. As Builder notes, the structure of the entire U.S. military would be very different. In essence, the focus of attention would change from relatively small, highly sophisticated, technologically advanced forces and organizations, to larger organizations carrying out operations at a generally lower level of sophistication. The concept of "victory" in conflicts involving these larger organizations would most likely be less clear and take more time than a conflict with a smaller, rapid-tempo, advanced technology force.

A System of Systems

The second -- and largest -- group of analysts dealing with the concept of an RMA focuses on rapidly changing technical capabilities as the major elements of a potential RMA. One of the current difficulties in the debate among members of this group has been the lack of a single definition of the component elements of the RMA and disagreement over the importance of new doctrine and organizations in carrying out the revolution.

Admiral William Owens, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, identifies three overlapping areas. ( 8 ) These are 1) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, 2) command, control, communications and intelligence processing, and 3) precision force. Owens sets out a number of weapons systems already in or entering U.S. military inventories. These appear on the following page. This approach allows Owens to describe the situation in terms of the creation of "a system of systems." By doing so, he is able to draw attention to the interaction of all of these capabilities. Differing from some participants in the debate, Admiral Owens sees this RMA as coming into existence in the near future.

A variant of this basic position is that there will not be a single RMA, but, because of the rapid pace of technological change, there will be a series of almost continuous revolutions.(9)

Not separately discussed by Owens -- but in fact subsumed in the system of systems idea -- is another set of categories that have been proposed as the major contributing elements to an RMA. These categories include information warfare, space, stealth, and advanced computer technologies, including more sophisticated sensors and more realistic modeling and simulation. This group also appears on the following page.


Weapons or Systems In or Entering U.S. Military Service

Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance

Command, Control, Computer Applications, Communications, Intelligence Processing
   Precision Force
TIER 2+    TACSAT    AGM-130



There are three, interrelated, definitions of information warfare: The first, and clearest, involves either attacking, influencing, or protecting military reconnaissance, surveillance, dedicated communications, command and control, fire control, and intelligence assets. The second definition, involves protecting, influencing, or attacking the basic communications links of a society: voice, video or data transfer, electric power or telephone system control commands, etc. The third involves what formerly were called psychological operations. These involve using television, radio, or print media to attack, influence, or protect the attitudes of soldiers, civilian populations or leaders.


This category focuses on the activities facilitated or made possible by space vehicles: reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, missile defense, navigation, data transmission, communications, and, potentially, force projection.


The main contributions of low observability have been to strike and reconnaissance activities. The experiences of U.S. Air Force F-117s in Operation Desert Storm and similar latitude given the B-2 bomber and Tier III (-) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle are claimed to be major contributors to an RMA. Stealth may also be applicable to ships and cruise missiles.


The continuing, rapid, advances in this category are driving all of the other elements in the RMA. The increases in computer speed and reliability, combined with new or more sensitive types of sensors, has made possible dramatic increases in weapons accuracy and lethality, intelligence gathering and dissemination,and communications. The ability to model or simulate processes, activities, or objects has grown exponentially in the recent past. The desire to take advantage of the increasing sophistication of modeling and simulation activities has been one of the major elements in the plans of the U.S. military services to adapt to the future.

A war involving a participant possessing the elements of this vision of an RMA would take place at a very rapid pace, involve synoptic battlefield awareness, the use of very lethal precision guided weapons, control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and be highly integrated among all the components and services. This type of warfare would be most effective against "conventional" but less technologically advanced powers, and less effective against unsophisticated opponents or guerrillas.

Some of the consequences of accepting this technology-based view of the RMA would be the obverse of what Builder proposes. Thus, the focus of the Department of Defense would be on relatively small, highly sophisticated, technologically advanced weapons and organizations. The word relatively is emphasized because the size of the force would be a consequence of the size of the threat. It is possible to conceptualize a significant, large, technologically competitive adversary in 20 years or less that would require a large, technologically competent U.S. force.

Because a central element of this perception of the RMA is computer technology -- which is now highly market-driven -- it is unlikely that the pace of change in this area is going to slow. One consequence of this rapid pace could be much shorter production runs for major weapons systems because the systems are likely to become obsolete much sooner. This rapid pace also gives rise to the present tension between those who wish to retain capabilities for some indefinite future and those who believe that the current budgetary environment forces the relinquishment of existing -- not necessarily obsolete -- capabilities in order to afford future capabilities. Another consequence of the rapid pace of technology is likely to be a continuation of the search for "silver bullets." A notable characteristic of some members of this group is the claim that a single technology -- usually the one they are proposing -- will create an RMA by itself.

Evolution, Not Revolution

The third sizeable group of individuals in the RMA debate believes that the future will not involve major discontinuities but rather a gradual evolution of existing military organizations and equipment. Most proponents of this viewpoint do not deny that rapid technological change is taking place, and that this change will greatly affect the military, but they argue that a true revolution in military affairs is unlikely in the near future. The basis of this position is the belief that existing organizational ethos and responses will be able to deal with the potential changes caused either by new technology or a new geopolitical environment.(11) A variant of this perspective focuses upon the military advantages that accrue to the United States as a result of the adaptability and flexibility of workers who have participated in the American economy. From this perspective, the U.S. social system produces military personnel better able to adapt to new technology and organizations than any potential adversary.

In addition to the broad differences between the three perspectives concerning the constituent elements and timing of the RMA, other interlinked controversies exist.

Among proponents of the System of Systems, disagreements concern which systems to purchase now, which to postpone, the wisdom of incurring current costs as opposed to future costs in light of technological progress, the feasibility of proposed systems, and assessments of the relative gains for the acquisition of specific technologies when compared with other technologies. Similar conflicts exist over the timing and wisdom of training expenditures and reorganizations.

For proponents of the end of the nation state and evolutionary perspectives, the main concern is assessing the relationship between the requirements of their perspectives and the technological changes inherent in the system of systems. This is most forcefully expressed as discerning the relationship between future combat and future technology. These concerns are most prominent among Army and Marine Corps leaders, who focus on the requirements for long-term ground presence -- anywhere in the conflict spectrum -- and how technology will affect these requirements.




Many of the changes highlighted by the debate over the Revolution in Military Affairs may take place in the relatively distant future. The purpose of this section is to examine how the Department of Defense and the individual services are attempting to deal with the RMA and concepts and activities that are beyond the end of the present budget cycle five or six years in the future.

Office of Net Assessment

Since the late 1980s, Andrew Marshall, director of the Office of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense has probably been the main catalyst inside the government examining the potential for a RMA. It is Marshall's hypothesis that today we are in a period equivalent to that immediately after the end of World War I in which the technologies, doctrines and organizations which were to win World War II were just being formed. Marshall's office has taken the lead in financing studies on the history of military innovation in the pre-World War II period -- innovation which led to such things as carrier strike aviation, amphibious warfare, and Blitzkrieg -- and in sponsoring its own wargames and other RMA studies today. In addition, each of the services has participated in RMA round tables and war games financed and run by the Office of Net Assessment. For example, from September 1993 through August 1994, the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), conducted a series of roundtable discussions with the individual services on the RMA at the behest of the Office of Net Assessment.(12) The report from the series was delivered in October 1994. Among the topics discussed were the impact of declining defense budgets on the ability of the DoD to exploit the RMA; the importance of advances in information technology for future military planning and warfare, the value of space activities for all of the services, the importance of fostering a culture of innovation in the military, and the costs and benefits of increasing jointness.

Marshall has consistently emphasized the importance of developing appropriate concepts of operations, appropriate organizations, and doctrine and practices to take advantage of emerging technology. An emphasis on very long time frames, the development of appropriate doctrine, organization, and practical operations as opposed to a focus on technology alone, distinguishes Marshall's approach to a future RMA. It was the recognition of the importance of these non-hardware issues that led Marshall to emphasize the term Revolution in Military Affairs when earlier efforts in this area, which used the term Military Technical Revolution (MTR), appeared to be too narrow in focus.(13)

DoD Revolution in Military Affairs Initiative

Approved by Secretary of Defense in September 1993, in January 1994, then Deputy Secretary of Defense William Perry established a group to coordinate a DoD-wide project on the Revolution in Military Affairs.(14) In the first phase of the project, the group was to gather data, define the most plausible defense environment for the years 2010-2015 and identify the most promising technologies and operational concepts. In the second phase, war games would be conducted to examine the impact of the findings of the first phase of the project on military operations; the third phase would consist of a report on the results of the war games and the overall findings of the project.

Five separate task forces were set up to examine specific areas of interest. These were: Combined Arms and Maneuver, led by Army and Marine Corps officials; Deep Strike, led by Air Force and Navy officials; Naval Forward Operations, Crisis Prevention and Response, led by Marine Corps and Navy Officials; Low Intensity Conflict, led by officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Fostering/Institutionalizing Long Term Innovation, led by officials from the Office of Net Assessment. Based upon the data generated by the first phase of the study, war games were held from June through October 1994 by the Naval Forward Operations, Crisis Prevention and Response, Deep Strike, and Combined Arms and Maneuver task forces.

In its early preparations, the Naval Forward Operations, Crisis Prevention, and Response Task Force set out what it considered the four main threats to be faced along with three projected capabilities to counter these threats. The threats included the ability for an enemy to covertly deploy mines, coordinated air and undersea assaults on ships; wide area sea denial with remote weapons triggered by satellite control; and advanced weapons technology including tactical ballistic missiles, next generation submarines and very low observable cruise missiles. To counter these capabilities, the task force recommended that the Department of Defense concentrate on developing organic satellite capabilities, directed energy for ship defense, and what was called the Great Black Fleet -- the latter consisting of attack and former ballistic missile submarines.

Typical of the questions the Task Force was given to conduct its wargame were:

What aspects of military operations in 2015 will remain relatively constant?

How would U.S. forward presence be affected by an adversary with 3,000 mile range ballistic missiles and 1250 mile range stealth cruise missiles capable of real-time targeting to 9 feet; with seabed brilliant mines(15); and exhibiting a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction?

How would the Marine Corps "Operational Maneuver From the Sea" be conducted in the same environment?

Should a strategic campaign plan include actions to disrupt an opponent's command, control, communications and computer capabilities in advance of hostilities? How important is it to immediately disrupt these capabilities at the outset of hostilities?

The wargame was also given the task of devising operational concepts to exploit such technologies as stealth naval combatants, non-radar tracking, a Universal Global Positioning System and advanced sensor-to-weapon capabilities.(16)

The Deep Strike Task Force was to address emerging weapon technologies and innovative operational and organizational technologies against a battlefield defined in terms of distance and in terms of target importance to the adversary. The task force was also to examine how to deal with the rapidly shortening time available to plan and execute deep strike missions. The Task Force recommended the development of a coherent and transparent theater command, control, communications, and intelligence system; developing a very low observable, long range, unmanned aerial surveillance system; building cheap, easily disseminated ground sensors; and developing methods to deal with deeply buried weapons of mass destruction or mobile target sets. (17)

According to press accounts, the conclusions of the Combined Arms and Maneuver task force concerning future operations and structure resembled the Army's Force XXI (discussed below). The focus of future operations would be on rapid tempo, including logistics activities; battle space awareness leading to coherent actions; battle space command, relying on high level situational awareness and advanced training; and increased lethality, creating massed effects rather than massed units.(18)

The members of the task force focusing on Fostering/Institutionalizing Long Term Innovation were attempting to overcome what were viewed as strong incentives for military officers not to innovate.(19) The subgroups in this task force examined innovation and how it takes place, how to encourage innovation through education, war games and simulations, and industry contacts, and the need to create an OSD Strategic Studies Group to report directly to the Secretary of Defense.

Apparently, there was concern among supporters of the RMA initiative that the process would stop after the final sets of reports were briefed to top DoD officials from April to September 1995, and discussions were held about incorporating RMA issues into the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration process.(20)

Major Organizational Steps

Steps taken by the Department of Defense to institutionalize the examination of long-term change include:

Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). To the U.S. military, the establishment of requirements is the first step in the acquisition process. Formerly, each service essentially defined its requirements. Created in the mid-1980s and consisting of the Vice Chiefs of Staff of the military services and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the JROC has become a focal point both for furthering jointness in the acquisition process, but more importantly, for assessing future requirements. It is from the work of this forum that Admiral William Owens, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has developed his concept of the "system of systems."

National Defense University. An Information Resources Management College has been created at the National Defense University, and the National War College offers courses on the RMA and on Information Warfare. The Information Resources Management College hosted a conference at NDU in May 1995 on the global information explosion and potential consequences for U.S. national security and for the 1995-96 academic year the School of Information Warfare and Strategy is offering a course on the information component of national security.

The U.S. Army and Force XXI

The United States Army has been the most aggressive of the services in examining the requirements for future warfare and carrying out what Army leadership sees as the necessary steps to deal with this future. General Gordon Sullivan, until recently Army Chief of Staff, was one of the main proponents of carefully examining how the Army should move away from a Cold War orientation and doctrine. Referring to many of the observations concerning Third Wave economics, politics, and warfare in the books of Alvin and Heidi Toffler,(21) Sullivan consistently fostered an approach to the future that deliberately avoided prematurely setting fixed doctrine or acquisition goals until a clearer picture of the future Army was available. Sullivan himself has been a prolific contributor to the written debate over the RMA.

A first step in the transition to a new approach was the publication of Army Field Manual 100-5, Operations, in June 1993. This 174 page document incorporated into Army doctrine in some detail the consequences of the end of the Cold War with the lessons learned in Operations Just Cause in Panama, Desert Storm in Kuwait, and the follow-on activities in Iraq. The new Army doctrine emphasized force projection, stronger joint operations with the other U.S. military services and agencies, and combined operations with allies. A new section on Operations Other Than War (OOTW) was added to deal with a number of Army non-combat missions including supporting domestic civil authorities, providing humanitarian assistance, carrying out arms control monitoring, and peacekeeping. The manual also presented an expanded concept of what was now included in the battle space, and more detail on offense and defense at the tactical and operational levels of war.

Force XXI

In March 1994, General Sullivan released a message concerning the development of what he called Force XXI. In the message, Sullivan reviewed the transformation that Army had made in the past four years involving downsizing, new doctrine and training capabilities, the acquisition of "post-industrial" technology, force planning, and the institutionalization of ability to assess change. According to Sullivan, the next step, Force XXI, would encompass the reconceptualization and redesign of the Army at all echelons from combat to the industrial base. Other portions of the message created an Army Digitization Office and assigned responsibilities for implementing various aspects of the Force XXI design.

The redesign was to focus on the interconnectivity of each echelon and between echelons. Force XXI was to be organized around the creation and sharing of information followed by unified action by commanders based on that information. It would use information-based battle command that would give the Army ascendancy and freedom of action in 21st century wars and operations other than war. Gen. Sullivan stated that he could not tell what Force XXI would look like, but he could give some of its characteristics. These were:

Battle Command would be based upon real-time situational awareness.

Hierarchical responsibility, but non-hierarchical organization.

Force design would be less fixed, and more flexible in organization; force design would be based on capabilities rather than countering a specific threat.

Force XXI might have smaller building blocks.

Individual units would be resilient and versatile in purpose.

Force XXI would be more strategically deployable, with a full range of early entry capabilities.

Units would rely on electronic connectivity in place of geographic or physical connectivity.

TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5 Force XXI Operations

In August 1994, the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) released Pamphlet 525-5, Force XXI Operations, which was subtitled "A concept for the Evolution of Full-Dimensional Operations for the Strategic Army of the Early Twenty-First Century." By its content, the pamphlet could be characterized as encompassing all three of the RMA perspectives set out earlier in this report. In the introduction to the pamphlet, Army Chief of Staff Sullivan placed Pamphlet 525-5 in the line of earlier post-Cold War Army doctrinal changes as preparation to bringing the Army into the 21st century. Elsewhere, Sullivan stated that Pamphlet 525-5 had "established the conceptual foundation for warfighting and for force design." However, in his introduction, the Commanding General of TRADOC indicated that the pamphlet was not doctrine, but "rather a document of ideas...."

The contents of TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5 receive extensive treatment here for two reasons. First, because the ideas which it reflects are driving the future structure of Force XXI. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the operational concepts contained in the pamphlet have, or are becoming, common usage among all of the services. As such, they have to a great extent become standard terms to refer to the structure of the expected future environment for land, sea, and air forces.

The Pamphlet sets out in general terms the overall environment that the Army is expected to operate within in the future and the need for doctrinal changes that would allow the Army to deal with this environment. It then defines The Future Strategic Environment with references to geopolitical change due to variations in the balance of power, rising nationalism, rejection of the West, economic competition, population growth, rising ungovernability, rapid improvements in technology, environmental risks, and the impact of increased information interchange on sovereignty.

Another section describes the characteristics of future armies and includes a threat spectrum model that attempts to expand the simple model that existed during the Cold War. On the low-end of the model, the expansion recognizes what Pamphlet 525-5 called "phenomenological threats," which were non-military threats that might require a military response. These phenomena include environmental disasters, health epidemics, famine, and illegal immigration. A second new threat category is "Nonnation forces." These include subnational threats involving political, racial, religious, cultural and ethnic conflicts challenging the authority of the nation-state; anational threats such as organized crime, piracy, and terrorism which operate outside the authority of the host nation-state; and metanational threats such as religious movements and international criminal movements that operate beyond the nation state. On the high end of the model, beyond recognizable internal-security forces, infantry-based armies, and armor-mechanized based armies, are "complex-adaptive armies." These armies will be smaller and extremely expensive to equip, train and maintain. Military operations by these would involve high-technology equipment, multidimensional maneuver, precision munitions, smart weapons platforms, and enhanced situational awareness. For the Army, the importance of the typology is that it had to be prepared to conduct simultaneous operations against foes of various capacities. Faced with preindustrial nations or non-nation groups, the conflict might involve terrorism, insurgency, or partisan warfare.


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The section of TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5 on future battlefields deals with the fact that the Army might face conflicts ranging from general war to Operations Other Than War (OOTW). In this overall environment, conventional combat between complex-adaptive armies would exhibit five new aspects: Battle Command, Extended Battle Space, Simultaneity, Spectrum Supremacy, and Changes in Rules of War.

According to the Pamphlet, Battle Command would be much more difficult because the possible range of scenarios faced by commanders would not be nearly as predictable as during the Cold War. Advances in information management and distribution would provide horizontal integration of battlefield functions and help commanders to tailor and arrange their forces. Traditional hierarchical command structures would be replaced by what are called flatter internetted structures. As a result of the increases in weapons accuracy and lethality, individual units, key elements and leaders would be more widely dispersed, leading to a further continuation of the empty battlefield phenomenon.(22) The Extended Battle Space arises because the same technology leads to an increase in the depth, breadth, and height of the battlefield. Because technology will accelerate the ability to detect and attack, commanders will seek to avoid linear actions, close combat, stable fronts and long operational pauses. Attacks against an enemy's follow-on forces will change from a sequenced approach to one involving simultaneous attack. The concept of Simultaneity takes form because the Revolution in Military Affairs would allow advanced forces to achieve multiple operational objectives nearly simultaneously throughout a theater of operations rather than the familiar form of military operations as a chain of sequentially phased operations. Spectrum Supremacy referred to the fact that information technology advances would insure that future military operations would unfold before a global audience, with significant opportunities to influence national will and popular support. Finally, the authors of the pamphlet stated, recent activities of combatants in using soldiers as hostages, threatening the use of chemical weapons, targeting heads of state, and violating territorial integrity seemed to indicate that observation of the Rules of War was becoming less certain. The chapter concluded by observing that the days of the all-purpose doctrinal threat template and of a single-prescription Army doctrine were gone.

According to the authors, Force XXI must be prepared to face the full spectrum of operational environments described above. The resultant Army would be defined by five characteristics: doctrinal flexibility; strategic mobility; tailorability and modularity; joint, multinational, and interagency connectivity; and versatility in war and Operations Other Than War (OOTW). These characteristics are defined in Appendix 3.

Although almost all of the pamphlet dealt with conceptual matters, the section on Materiel went into some detail on the specific types and characteristics of the equipment and technology that Force XXI would require.

Major Organizational Steps

The Army has taken a number of concrete organizational steps to foster and institutionalize long-term change. These include:

Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force. Named after a set of corps-sized Army exercises conducted in 1941 to determine how U.S. troops might fight opponents with armor and attack aircraft, the modern incarnation of the Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force was created by General Sullivan in 1992 to examine the steps needed to be taken by the Army to make the transition to the post Cold-War era. Initially concentrating on working through Army exercises and advanced simulation technology, in April 1994, the Task Force was also made responsible for integrating and synchronizing the creation of the design of Force XXI. One result of their efforts is the Force XXI Campaign Synchronization Matrix below, taken from the Force XXI Internet Site and provided by the Department of the Army.

The Matrix is significant in the context of this paper not so much for its specific content as for two other reasons. First, because it indicates the complexity of the steps that the Army is taking to implement the general ideas behind Force XXI; and second, it indicates the difficulty in integrating these -- or any other large scale -- changes throughout the Army in a systematic fashion.

Army Digitization Office. This is one of the three "axes" of Force XXI implementation(23). The mission of the Army Digitization Office is to act as the coordinator for Army efforts to apply digital technology to all aspects of Army

activities: combat, combat support, logistics, intelligence, and training. The training element is quite important as Army leadership -- and the Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force -- have fostered the development of disaggregated, digitized simulation and training programs to examine the consequences of implementing Force XXI. In the context of applying information technology, one of the most interesting has been the development of a very sophisticated Internet World Wide Web site for Force XXI. The site makes available to all Army personnel the goals of Force XXI, Force XXI history, texts of doctrinal statements, Force XXI development scheduling and a range of background and supporting material. For fiscal year 1995, Congress authorized $95 million for the Army's Digital Battlefield Program.

Battle Labs. Established in 1992, the 9 Army Battle Labs were designed to form hypotheses about changing methods of operations and then to conduct experiments using soldiers and leaders in realistic, live environments(24).

Army War College. Through the conduct of war games and simulations, the release of a number of publications, and more recently the creation of a course

in Information warfare, the Army War College has provided a forum for discussing the basic ideas and ramifications of the RMA and the development of Force XXI.(25)

Future Technologies Institute. A small, independent, organization set up early in 1995 under the auspices of the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md., to concentrate upon the technology and doctrine the Army will need 20 to 25 years in the future.(26)

Numerous questions have arisen on a range of practical issues concerning Force XXI and the basic concepts in TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5. Probably the most prominent question is the amount of actual progress the Army has made in implementing Force XXI as compared with what has been proposed and planned. This question was raised most often by members of other services. Another set of questions concerns the cost of digitizing the Army and whether the digitization implementation time table is realistic, even if affordable. Finally, there is a series of contentious doctrinal issues, such as the Early Entry provisions of TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5 discussed in Appendix 3 of this report.

The U.S. Air Force, Spacecast 2020, and Air Force 2025

The two most recent Air Force doctrinal White Papers, Global Reach, Global Power and Global Presence, are not as detailed as Army Field Manual 100-5 or as future oriented as TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5. Each deals with the present and the near future.

On the other hand, Spacecast 2020 was a project undertaken by the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base to study and report on emerging technologies for space in the year 2020 and beyond. Begun at the behest of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill McPeak in September 1993, the final report for Spacecast 2020 was completed in June 1994. The 350 participants in the study included faculty and class members at the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, scientists at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, members of the other services, government agencies and laboratories, universities, think tanks, and independent scholars. A majority of the military participants were from the operational line forces of all of the services. The final report consisted of two parts, one classified.

The authors of Spacecast 2020 stated that although they could not know in detail what the future would hold, they could speculate in an informed fashion on the technologies that would be of the most value for space and which were not beyond plausibility.

In the Introduction and Overview, the authors state that the most fundamental characteristic of space from a military perspective is that it possessed unprecedented vantage or view. The Global View given by space is the enabler for the basic Air Force concepts of Global Reach and Global Power. According to the study, implementing the concept of Global View as a reality would depend on three things: creation of an integrated on-demand information system for command users, development of increased and improved sensing capabilities, and availability of relatively inexpensive space lift. Before presenting the papers in the report, the authors of Spacecast 2020 set out four alternative future international environments and the consequences for military and commercial space arising from the characteristics of each. The four possible futures were 1) A Spacefaring World, 2) A Rogue's World, 3) Mad Max Incorporated, and 4) a Space Baron's World.

The seven papers in the Global View section of the report dealt with 1) creation of an on-demand information system (they don't use the term intelligence) for future warfighters, 2) surveillance and reconnaissance in 2020, 3) creation of a Super Global Positioning System, 4) space traffic control, 5) weather information in 2020, 6) deep space based monitors of solar activity, and 7) space monitors to provide warnings of likely disturbances in communications caused by solar activities.

A section of the study on Global Reach addressed the things necessary to reach into space. The four main papers in this section discussed 1) the concept of an aerospace wing which included a squadron of rocket-powered transatmospheric vehicles capable of carrying 5,000 lbs into low-earth orbit, 2) an examination of unconventional methods of getting into space, 3) what would be needed in the way of lift systems and satellite design to allow rapid space force reconstitution in crises, and 4) the idea of using modular units in space to facilitate replacement of failed parts of satellites.

The section on Global Power contained some of the most imaginative papers. Noting that the U.S. and allied forces relied heavily on space-based systems for navigation, weather information, secure communications and surveillance during Operation Desert Storm, the authors of the report indicated that these systems would present attractive targets in the future and that their protection would be critical. The Defensive Counterspace paper examined the idea of developing a series of escort satellites to accompany our high value satellites. The Offensive Counterspace paper described U.S. space based systems that could "influence" enemy satellite capability. The Force Application paper examined concepts to deal with ground and atmospheric targets from space. These included things like hyperkinetic energy, directed energy, and conventional weapons. Other papers in the Global Power section dealt with ways to wage information warfare, the idea of counterforce weather control, and the deflection of potential asteroid collisions.

The Air Force Revolutionary Planning Process and Air Force 2025

At the August 1994 Mission Area Plans Review -- a process for coordinating Air Force budget proposals -- the Chief of Staff of the Air Force asked the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations to develop a way to provide revolutionary thinking for Air Force modernization planning. The result was the creation of a three phase Revolutionary Planning Process intended to generate innovative ideas for Air Force institutions, concepts of operations, and technology development programs. Each phase will conclude with a review and the approval of a panel of four star Air Force generals. The three phases are Generation, Investigation and Integration. The Generation phase will use multiple sources to generate and evaluate ideas that could have a revolutionary impact on the Air Force. The Investigation phase will use analyses, simulations, wargames and exercises to test the merit of the recommended ideas. In the Integration phase the senior officers panel will determine which ideas to fund for basic research, which to fund in Air Force budget planning, or to give to the long term assessment process.

Finally, the planning process is to be institutionalized. Every five years expert panels will be established to review previous ideas and propose new ones. At the present time, the Air Force Studies and Analyses Agency is responsible for coordination of the Revolutionary Planning Process.

The first step in the Generation Phase of the Revolutionary Planning Process was taken in August 1995 by the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, with the start of project Air Force 2025. Air Force 2025 will be a study of air and space concepts likely to be applicable by the year 2025. The final report of the study is to be delivered to the Air Force Chief of Staff in June 1996, and will consist of a collection of white papers developed from the innovative concepts and technology abstracts obtained from an even wider range of sources than participated in Spacecast 2020. The core research group will consist of volunteer faculty members and students at the Air University and the Air Force Institute of Technology.

At the end of September 1995, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald Fogelman announced the appointment of Maj. General John Gordon as his special assistant for long-range planning. Gen. Gordon's position is slated to be abolished at the end of 18 months. At the time of the drafting of this report, General Gordon's exact responsibilities, and his relations to the Air Force Revolutionary Planning Process and to other Air Force planning, budgeting, and acquisition organizations were not clear.

Major Organizational Steps

Air University. As noted above, the constituent elements of the Air University, the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College and the Air Force Institute of Technology, have been active participants in Air Force long-range planning exercises and Spacecast 2020.

Air Force Information Warfare Center. The Air Force Information Warfare Center is the executive agent for Air Force Command and Control Warfare activities. Located at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, the Center was activated in September 1993. In addition to its current activities providing support for deployed Air Force Squadrons, Air Force major commands and the Air Staff in the Pentagon, the Center examines future requirements for advancements in command and control warfare. However, the planning horizon of this organization appears to be fairly short.

The U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Future Warfare

The most recent U.S. Navy doctrine or policy statements From the Sea and Forward From the Sea deal with the transition from the Cold War open-ocean orientation of the Maritime Strategy to a focus on power projection and littoral warfare. As such, they deal primarily with the present and very near future. Institutionally, the Navy is said to be the most resistant to the type of long range strategic planning needed to deal with a potential RMA. Until very recently, virtually no systematic process existed in the Navy for thinking about major innovations in naval warfare or speeding their introduction into the fleet.

Upon becoming Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda asked the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel to look into the area of future planning. The Executive Panel, composed of current and former U.S. government officials and scientists, convened a Naval Warfare Innovation Task Force from its members. The task force met from June 1994 thorough June 1995. The task force recommended forming small teams to produce ideas for innovations and groundbreaking concepts. One of the first objectives of the teams would be to establish the likely strategic, military, economic and political trends expected by the year 2015. Once this environment was described, the teams could focus on the technologies that could change naval warfare. The task force recommended the extensive use of wargames and modeling and simulation to understand the proposed ideas. In order to surmount limitations in the Navy's current Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration programs, the task force recommended the expenditure of at least $100 million a year for a minimum of three years on ACTD programs to assess the value of innovative concepts.

Responding to these recommendations, Admiral Boorda stated that in September 1995 he was going to revive the Strategic Studies Group based at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The small group of Navy and Marine Corps officers, headed by retired Admiral James Hogg, became the first of the teams created to implement the recommendations of the Naval Warfare Innovations Task Force.

As a part of its regular responsibilities for examining operational concepts, the Navy Strategy and Policy Division conducted two Strategic Concepts War Games in 1994. The games were intended to study the nature of war in the year 2013 and examine for future studies innovative operational and doctrinal concepts for employing emerging and future technologies. The postulated conflict involved an adversary capable of challenging the United States politically, militarily, and economically within its own region. The participants in the games examined the requirements for carrying out future forward naval presence, presented a range of potential offensive and defensive technologies needed to establish presence and to fight, and proposed new operational concepts. The Navy which emerged from the games was built around the concept of a sea-based arsenal and logistics exploiting the command, control, communications and intelligence technologies of the Reconnaissance Strike Targeting Architecture, with a Marine Corps Air/Ground Task Force playing a central role in force projection.

From the perspective of this part of this report -- the institutionalization of long range planning -- one of the significant things about the Strategic Concepts War Games is that they were undertaken by the Strategy and Concepts Branch as part of its "normal" duties. The quality of the conceptualization and results of the wargames indicate that, at least at the initial stages of the process, the current structure of the Navy allows very sophisticated long-term conceptualization. What is unclear, however, is whether the connections between these ideas and any necessary changes in policies, procurement, operations, and doctrine will be made.

Major Organizational Steps

Fleet Information Warfare Center. The Fleet Information Warfare Center was established in Norfolk, VA in August 1994 -- and formally dedicated in October 1995 -- to apply information-based technologies to warfare (see p. 7). With 500 personnel, the unit combines current Navy activities in the areas of intelligence and command and control. Like the Air Force Information Warfare Center, the planning horizon of this organization appears to be fairly short.

Naval War College. The Naval War College has been very active in conducting wargames and simulations on future warfare both at the behest of the DoD office of Net Assessment and on behalf of the Navy. An elective on the RMA was offered in the Spring of 1995.

Marine Corps Commandant's Warfighting Laboratory. The Marine Corps formally inaugurated a warfighting laboratory at Quantico, Va. October 1, 1995. The lab will undertake activities similar to those of the Army Battle Labs and act as a test bed for integrating new technologies and the development of new operational concepts, tactics, techniques and doctrine.


Although the debate as to whether there truly exists -- or will soon exist -- a Revolution in Military Affairs continues, the U.S. military services are actively discussing the question. Almost all of the participants in the process agree on the elements that have created earlier RMAs. These are new technologies, new organizations and operational concepts to incorporate the technologies, and new doctrine to encompass the technology and organization.(27) Although there are many analogies with the period following World War I, the vigor of the current formal efforts in the United States to examine the state of technology and necessary adaptations to military purposes distinguishes the efforts today. To the greatest extent, the U.S. Army has formally structured itself to examine future conflict and has taken steps to adapt itself to function -- and win -- in that environment. The Air Force, and more recently the Navy, have undertaken more active formal efforts to examine future warfare possibilities. In addition, the very sophisticated wargames initiated under the DoD RMA initiative, and by each of the services, have also served to highlight likely future environments and available technology. These steps, combined with strong and forward looking leadership, would appear to offer the best chance to avoid strategic surprise. In any future, it will be necessary that the U.S. military continues to focus on technological and geopolitical change and then to incorporate significant changes into their strategies and operations -- whether the process is evolutionary or revolutionary.


Congress will strongly influence military change through two constitutionally-basedfunctions: appropriations and oversight. Within this context, the following appear to be the main issues worth consideration.

Setting Overall Priorities

The main practical issue for Congress arising from the RMA debate is how to resolve the tension between current and future expenditures and operations. Funds -- and training time -- devoted to current readiness and force structure will not be available for future acquisition or training. Skimping on current funding to finance future systems or organizational training may risk unpreparedness, poor performance and high casualties in the short or medium term while preparing for war in the long term. The obverse of this situation is that the cost of maintaining the current high levels of operational tempo might not allow the development of needed future systems, concepts, and organizations. Unlike the period after World War I in which the Navy developed new carrier aviation concepts, the services today are extremely active carrying out current operations.

Guiding Choices of Technologies and Organizational Structures

A second issue is how to oversee and direct the choice of one -- or a few -- courses of action today among the dozens of possible permutations of militarily significant change. Minor choices can have significant long-term consequences. In their study of military innovation in peacetime, Williamson Murray and Barry Watts note that at the end of World War I, the Royal Navy was by far the leader in carrier-based aviation. However, although British Navy leaders pursued some innovations in the inter-war period, they concluded, among other things, that only a limited number of aircraft could be launched from a carrier at any one time and that on-deck parking was not an appropriate way to store aircraft between missions. As a result of earlier decisions, at the outset of World War II, British carrier aviation was markedly inferior to that of the United States and Japan.

Without attempting to predict a specific future, Congress could authorize seed money for actions likely to foster long-term thinking, such as for the creation of a DoD Future Concept Center.

Providing Focus

Closely related to the issue of choice or choices is the difficulty in maintaining focus. A characteristic of every current vision of an RMA or potential RMA is the multiplicity of potential uses for military forces. If an organization becomes proficient only through practice, how much time is left to develop core competencies when there are so many apparent missions, such as drug interdiction, disaster relief or peacekeeping? Clearly, the requirements for mastery of the new technical skills are not decreasing today. It is possible that the development of additional specialized technical competencies could be done on a cadre basis, with the expectation that later expansion in numbers could take place. On the other hand, it is equally possible that there is some minimum critical size that must be attained before the effectiveness of an organization can be accurately tested and assessed.


The question of coordination is important to both the Department of Defense and to Congress. The DoD has several existing mechanisms for coordinating potential RMA activities. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), headed by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is already active at the earliest stage of the acquisition process. In carrying out the transition to Force XXI, the Army has established a colonels/navy captains group to coordinate with the other services. This group could also be used as a formal resource for inter-service learning and concept exchange. The recent emphasis on joint warfare operations also can act as a coordinating element for the execution of RMA changes.

On the other hand, there are at present, literally hundreds of separate organizations or groups dealing with elements of the RMA. For example, a November 1994 Naval Research Advisory Committee report on Modeling and Simulation listed representatives of at least 40 separate U.S. Government offices, groups or programs as having provided briefings to the committee. The same multiplicity of organizations is actively dealing with things related to "information warfare." While some would encourage this proliferation of organizations as a way to avoid foreclosing the investigation of imaginative avenues of research or operations, at present, there appears little specific oversight or coordination of these operations or their results.

From the perspective of annual congressional oversight, there appears little in the concept or execution of an RMA that distinguishes it from ongoing military activities. Whether the future is seen as evolutionary or revolutionary, the same issues of technological change, and appropriate doctrine and organization will have to be faced. This does not mean that there should be less oversight -- only that there do not seem to be any peculiar characteristics of adapting to a potential RMA that would require major changes in the way Congress conducts its oversight activities.

Earlier congressional concerns that led to the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act would seem to be even more pertinent in a period of potential or actual RMA. At present, the Army is farthest along in creating institutions to integrate potentially revolutionary technology, assessing the consequences of an RMA, and attempting to incorporate necessary changes into Army doctrine and organization. One issue for Congress is how to assess the slower pace of the other services. On one hand, the overall direction the Army intends to go may be the wrong one. If this is the case, somehow tying the other services to these outcomes could be a mistake. On the other hand, if the Army is correct, the lessons learned could be very helpful to the other services and Congress should encourage high level coordination both to save funds and to build synergies.

Steps to Improve Acquisition

Some commentators have stated that Congress could take specific steps to foster innovation by modifying the Department of Defense acquisition process. Since there already exists a fair amount of latitude either through Advanced Research Projects Agency programs or through the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations, what specific, additional, changes would be needed?

Should Criticism Be Institutionalized?

The creation of the functional equivalent of an Office of the Devil's Advocate for RMA issues ought to be given serious attention. As noted above, there is a multiplicity of potential choices involved in various concepts of an RMA. An organization specifically designed to indicate that proposed activities will not work, will cost too much, will take too long to implement, are far beyond near-term technological capabilities, or will result in a much more weakened state if they fail in operation when compared to existing systems -- might serve as a necessary counterbalance to the wishes of service leaders and assessments by advocates of the potential benefits arising from the inevitable advances in technology. It is possible that funding limitations might serve to accomplish the same purpose. At the same time, advocates of some perspectives on an RMA propose the suspension of current weapons system acquisitions either as a consequence of the terms of that perspective on an RMA or to allow the situation to clarify with the passage of time(28). These choices not to spend could have far-reaching consequences.

Assessing the Opportunity Cost of Current Activities

If, as Andrew Marshall of the OSD Office of Net Assessment has asserted, we are in the earliest stages of another RMA, what are the consequences of the Army's commitment today of time and resources to the development of Force XXI? Will the Army's early awareness and adaptations enable a swift and effective response? Or will the opportunity cost of Force XXI be an inability to adjust to the "true" RMA that becomes clearer with the passage of time because of choices in weapons, doctrines and organizations made today? What steps will be needed to assure that the Army will be prepared for 2015 or 2025?

Fostering Intraservice Interchange

Regardless of the actual state of implementation today, one of the "strengths" of the Army's Force XXI Synchronization Matrix is that it shows the connectivity between the general ideas behind force XXI and what is needed to carry them out. While the Air Force and Navy have now undertaken more active long-range planning efforts, there do not now appear to be equivalent efforts to examine what is be necessary to connect the new ideas to concrete Air Force and Navy policies, organizations and equipment. Creating future scenarios is only part of the process; what is also needed is a description of what organizations are needed and what decisions should be made today to create the force needed to function in the future.


Battlefield Dominant Awareness -- An end result from the integration of reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence systems in which a commander is able to see and understand everything of importance on a battlefield.

Digitization -- The procedures whereby the digital technology is applied to or

incorporated into combat operations, communications, and logistics activities allowing the potential integration of these capabilities into complete, interacting, systems. The key step toward creating the capability for computers to quickly collect and manipulate data.

Dominant Maneuver -- Defined by some as one of the main components of an RMA. Through use of the advanced technology, new operational concepts, and organizational and doctrinal advances made possible by an RMA, the ability to comprehend the entire battle space and move to quickly overcome an opponent.

RSTA Systems-The combination of reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting acquisition capabilities into one system or network. This could involve the linking of satellites, ground detectors and receivers, manned aircraft, surface ships, unmanned air vehicles, and submarines with common data. Also called "Sensor-to-Shooter" systems.



AIR-HAWK---An air-to-ground version of the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. See TLAM(BLK III) below. Range more than 350 nm.

AGM-130---An Air-to-Ground missile guided by television or infrared from the launching aircraft. Range more than 15 nm.

ATACMS/BAT---Army Tactical Missile System with Brilliant Anti-Tank sub-munition. ATACMS is an all-weather tactical missile. BAT is a self-guided submunition with acoustic and infrared sensors that autonomously locates and attacks tanks or other armored vehicles. Range more than 15 nm.

ATARS---Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System. An airborne reconnaissance pod with a data downlink capability to be carried by tactical aircraft.

AWACS---Airborne Warning and Control System. A long-range moving aircraft detector radar carried by a Boeing 707-type airframe.

CALCM---Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile. A converted Air-Launched Cruise Missile guided by an inertial navigation system and the Global Positioning System. Range more than 350 nm.

CGCS---Global Command and Control System. A group of military systems to provide high-level military and civilian leaders information processing and dissemination capabilities to conduct command and control activities.

C4IFTW---Command and Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence For The Warrior. A conceptual framework for providing a battlefield commander the information he wants, when, where and how he wants it, anywhere in the world.

DISN---Defense Information System Network. A digital information system designed to meet all Department of Defense requirements for voice, video, and data communications.

DMS---Defense Message System. A digital system designed to replace two earlier systems for transmitting messages on the Department of Defense Internet.

FDS---Fixed Distribution System. A supplemental detection capability to be added to the SOSUS (SOund SUrveillance System) undersea submarine detection system at choke points.

HASA--High Altitude Signals Intelligence Architecture. A system for structuring the acquisition of signals intelligence from high altitude platforms.

HARM---High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile. An airborne missile designed to attack radar transmitters. Range more than 15 nm.

HAVE NAP---AGM-142 An air-to-ground medium-range precision guided missile carried by B-52 aircraft. Range more than 15 nm.

HELLFIRE II---A short-range laser-guided missile usually carried by Army and Marine Corps helicopters.

ISAR---Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar. A type of radar especially suited for generating high-resolution images of moving targets. Carried on some Navy aircraft for surface search activities.

JAVELIN---A man portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile.

JSIPS---Joint Service Imagery Processing System. A ground station common to all services for receiving, processing, and disseminating satellite transmissions.

JSTARS---Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar. Similar to AWACS above, but devoted to the detection of moving and certain fixed ground targets. Based upon a Boeing 707-type airframe.

JWICS---Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. A secure high speed, multi-media communications network for the defense intelligence community. Transmits voice, text, imagery, and data.

LINK-16---The NATO version of TADIL-J. See below.

MIIDS---Military Intelligence Integrated Database System. A general military data base containing information on order-of-battle and installations.

MTI---Moving Target Indicator Radar. The capability of a radar to automatically identify moving objects.

REMBAS---Remotely Monitored Battlefield Sensor System. A remote ground system capable of identifying vehicles through acoustic and seismic sensors and reporting over a data link.

RIVET JOINT---An airborne signals intelligence gathering aircraft based upon a Boeing 707-type aircraft.

SABER---Surface Analysis Branch Exploitation and Reporting. A Navy Intelligence Analysis Unit located in Suitland, Md.

SADARM---Sense and Destroy Armor. A submunition capable of detecting and destroying lightly armored vehicles. Can be launched in 155mm artillery rounds or by the multiple launch rocket system.

SBIR---Space-Based InfraRed. A satellite capability to provide improved infrared detection, location and tracking of hot infrared events such as missile launches.

SFW---Sensor Fused Weapon. An anti-tank cluster bomb capable of destroying heavy tanks by attacking their top armor. The SFW dispenser carries 10 submunitions each of which in turn carries four Skeet anti-armor warheads.

SLAM---Stand-Off Land Attack Missile. An air-to-ground missile guided by a video data link, GPS and a terminal imaging infrared seeker.

SONET---Synchronous Optical Network. A high-speed, high-capacity digital optical path for data or voice transmission.

TACSAT---Tactical Communications Satellite. The group of satellites supporting tactical ground forces.

TADIL-J---Tactical Data Information Link-J. A secure anti-jammer transceiver that provides real-time data between sensors, weapons and command and control systems.

TARPS---Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System. An airborne photo reconnaissance system without data downlink capability. See ATARS.

THAAD---Theater High Altitude Area Defense. A theater missile defense system designed to intercept short and intermediate-range missiles.

TIER 2+---A high-altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle for targeting or intelligence. Endurance of more than 30 hours at 12 mile altitudes.

TIER 3---A low observable (stealth) unmanned aerial vehicle. Lesser capabilities compared with Tier 2+ because of stealth tradeoffs.

TLAM(BLK III)---Tomahawk Land Attack Missile.(Block III). A long range, very accurate cruise missile with upgraded navigation and targeting capabilities. Range more than 350 nm.

TRAP---Tactical Receiver Equipment and Related Applications. A system which broadcasts time-sensitive intelligence in pre-formatted messages.


A summarized discussion of the characteristics needed for the U.S. Army to meet the full spectrum of future operational environments as presented in TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5, Force XXI Operations.

Doctrinal Flexibility is designed to allow the future Army to deal with the entire range of potential conflict. Strategic Mobility emphasizes being at the right place at the right time with the right capabilities. This would involve lighter, more lethal forces, improvements in information systems to assist mobility, and a focus on rapid movement of lethal and survivable early entry forces. The concept of tailorability and modularity involves designing forces to use only the numbers absolutely necessary and as modular as logic allows to meet each contingency. According to TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5, the future Army must recognize the need to function in a joint, multinational, and interagency environment -- including nongovernmental organizations and private voluntary organizations -- both in war and operations other than war. Finally, versatility in war and OOTW means that the Army should be able to function in all of the environments it is likely to face in the future including disaster relief and peacekeeping.

Turning to the impact of the new environment on Battle Dynamics, the authors of the Pamphlet observed that changes in the concept of Battle Command would require even greater leadership skills than previously and a shift in focus from the positioning of forces to the art of orchestrating the effects of those forces. The soldiers and leaders in future combat would have much better information and be better trained. The ability to move and process information rapidly will change the way military operations are commanded. With a shared picture of the battle space, the combat and support leaders would have means to visualize how they would execute in harmony. The greatest payoff from this internetted information would come in intelligence, operations and fire support functions. The digitization of each weapons platform and each soldier would enhance situational awareness and build confidence into the maneuver of motorized units and units on foot.

The authors stated that the concept of Battle Space involve the ability to visualize the area of operations and the way forces interact within it, whether in combat or a humanitarian relief mission. The trend in combat was toward fewer soldiers in a given battle space; in Operations Other Than War, the trend was toward increased manpower. At the same time, the greatly increased situational awareness and more capable joint weapons able to reach farther accurately would contribute to the expansion of the battle space.

Depth and Simultaneous Attack would enable a commander directly to influence the enemy throughout the height, width and depth of the battle space to stun and defeat him. A larger and less agile enemy force could be defeated by massing the effects of long-and short-range area and precision fires, integrating information operations designed to blind and demoralize the enemy, concurrent with rapid combined arms maneuvers.

Early Entry operations would occur across the wide range of military operations: peacemaking, humanitarian assistance, civil support, unconventional warfare, forcible entry and even heavy battle. Actions during predeployment would be critical and the mission commander would train through interactive simulation and live exercises. Simulation would permit units at different locations to fight together through a combination of virtual, constructive, and live simulations in a mission planning system. Early entry operations would be conducted by forces that were not necessarily light or heavy but tailored to create the best force to meet the needs of the contingency. According to the pamphlet, the early entry force must be prepared to fight its way in or, soon after arrival, expand its battle space, take advantage of its inherent strengths as well as those of the other services, and win quickly or rapidly establish control.


Bracken, Paul and Alcala, Raoul Henri. Whither the RMA: Two Perspectives on Tomorrow's Army. U.S. Army War College. July 22, 1994. 46 p.

Cooper, Jeffrey R. Another View of the Revolution in Military Affairs. U.S. Army War College. July 15, 1994. 46 p.

Jablonsky, David. The Owl of Minerva Flies at Twilight: Doctrinal Change and Continuity and the Revolution in Military Affairs. U.S. Army War College. May 1994. 83 p.

Krepinevich, Andrew F. Keeping Pace with the Military-Technological Revolution. Issues in Science and Technology. Summer 1994. p. 23-29.

Mazarr, Michael J. The Revolution in Military Affairs: A Framework for Defense Planning. U.S. Army War College. June 10, 1994. 45 p.

Metz, Steven and Kievit, James. Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs. U.S. Army War College. June 27, 1995. 38 p.

-----The Revolution in Military Affairs and Conflict Short of War. U.S. Army War College. July 25, 1994. 37 p.

Morton, Oliver. Defence Technology. Survey. The Economist. June 10, 1995.

Owens, William A. High Seas. Annapolis. Naval Institute Press. 1995. 184 p.

Sullivan, Gordon R. and Dubik, James M. War in the Information Age. U.S. Army War College. June 6, 1994. 23 p.

Tilford, Earl H. The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions. U.S. Army War College. June 23, 1995. 20 p.

Toffler, Alvin and Heidi. War and Anti-War. Boston. Little Brown. 1993. 302 p.

Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave. New York. Morrow. 1980. 544 p.

U.S. Army. Training and Doctrine Command. Force XXI Operations. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5. August 1, 1994. 63 p. The 4 page "References" section is an excellent source of information on topics of a more operational character.

U.S. Army War College. Parameters. Summer 1995. Perspectives on the Revolution in Military Affairs. Six Articles by members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines examining aspects of the RMA. pages 7 through 54.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services. Subcommittee on Acquisition and Technology. Revolution in Military Affairs. Hearing. May 5, 1995. Testimony of Daniel Goure, Andrew Krepinevich, Andrew Marshall, and Admiral William Owens.

1. For example, in 1990, the projected Navy budget for 1994 was $120 billion; the actual Navy budget for 1994 was about $70 billion. Comments of Vice Admiral William Earner at Center for Naval Analyses Annual Conference, November 1994.

2. For an excellent discussion of the origins of the terms and the evolving thinking of one of the major contributors to the debate, see, "What is the Revolution in Military Affairs," by Barry Watts of the Northrop-Grumman Analysis Center. The beginning of this section draws heavily upon this study.

3. Ibid. p.3

4. The following section draws upon an article in The National Interest for Fall 1994, Cavalry to Computer: The Pattern of Military Revolutions, by Andrew F. Krepinevich.

5. Ibid.

6. Builder's views appeared in the May 1995 issue of Armed Forces Journal International, pp. 38-39. Alvin and Heidi Toffler have also presented similar arguments in two of their books, The Third Wave and War and Anti-War.

7. See, After the Revolution, by Major Ralph Peters in the Summer 1995 issue of Parameters, the Quarterly Review of the U.S. Army War College.

8. An excellent article on Adm. Owens' views appears in the August 1995 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, pp. 47-53.

9. See Inside the Navy, August 29, 1994, p.9, interview with Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, Director of Navy Space and Electronic Warfare.

10. See Appendix A for descriptions of Adm. Owens' systems and a Glossary of other RMA terms.

11. For a brief summary of this position, see the remarks of Marine Corps Commandant Carl Mundy and Chief of Naval Operations Jeremy M. Boorda at the Center for Naval Analysis Annual Conference held on November 2 and 3, 1994. The Topic of the Conference was "Technology and Future U.S. Military Power: Reality and Illusion."

12. See, Inside the Navy, September 5, 1994, p.21

13. Watts, Ibid.

14. This section draws heavily upon articles by Beth Jannery on the RMA in the publication Inside the Navy, various issues from June 1994 through May 1995.

15. The U.S. Army defines three classes of precision guided munitions based upon the degree of operational autonomy inherent in the weapon: Guided Munitions require a human operator to select and aim at a target; Smart Munitions require no operator for successful target engagement after launch; and Brilliant Munitions, could be directed to find and destroy a specific target inside of a defined battle area. A brilliant mine could search out and destroy a specific type of ship.

16. Ibid. 30 June 1994, p. 5.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid. May 1, 1995. p.8.

19. See. Inside the Navy, August 29, 1994. p.11

20. Ibid., May 1, 1995. p.7. The Advanced Concept Technology Program is intended to finance the activities of a military service or DoD unit to create a program that rapidly converts an available technology into an operational capability.

21. Especially The Third Wave and War and Anti-War.

22. As weapons become more lethal and capable of being delivered from great distance, the disadvantages of massing troops and equipment increase greatly. This leads to the need for fewer and fewer personnel in any given battle space, both to accomplish their mission, and to avoid becoming targets.

23. The other two axes are, first, the "joint venture" led by the Commander of the Training and Doctrine Command which involves all Army commands in the design of Force XXI, and the second axis, led by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, which involves designing the changes in the "Institutional Army" to support the core competencies that Force XXI will require. The responsibilities of the three axes appear in the Synchronization Matrix.

24. The labs, and their areas of specialization are: Battle Command, Forts Gordon, Ga., Levenworth, Ks., and Huachuca, Az.; Dismounted Battle Space, Ft.Benning, Ga.; Mounted Battle Space, Ft. Knox, Ky.; Depth and Simultaneous Attack, Ft.Sill, Ok.; Combat Service Support, Ft.Lee, Nj.; Battle Lab Integration and Technology Directorate, Ft. Monroe, Va.; and Early Entry, Lethality, and Survivability, Ft. Monroe, Va.

25. The Army War College Strategic Studies Institute has released a series of monographs specifically on the RMA. They are included in the Bibliography at the end of this report. In addition, Army Chief of Staff Sullivan has used Parameters, the Army War College Quarterly Review, to discuss Force XXI and its intellectual underpinnings.

26. Inside the Army, November 6, 1995. p. 16.

27. See, "Revolutions in Military Affairs," by James R. Fitzsimonds and Jan M. Van Tol in Joint Forces Quarterly, Spring 1994. pp.25-26.

28. See, for example, testimony of Andrew F. Krepinevich before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Acquisition and Technology, May 5, 1995.

Offline Effie Trinket

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command in a network-centric war
Col Pierre Forges

Far from determining the essence of command, then, communication and information processing technology merely constitutes one part of the general environment in which command operates.

Martin van Creveld
Command in War, 1985


Enormous advances in information technology have in recent years enabled the development of increasingly capable and sophisticated military command and control systems. In the United States, a concept known as ‘Network-Centric Warfare’ has been advanced as a means of transforming information superiority into an advantage on the physical battlefield. The concept has been fully endorsed by the United States Navy, and is recognized by the Canadian Navy as a capability that must be achieved.1

What, then, is Network-Centric Warfare (NCW), and how is it likely to affect the operational commander? Our examination of this concept begins with an explanation of what is meant by ‘information superiority’, and is followed by a description of the essential characteristics of an NCW environment. The impact of this highly automated environment is then analyzed by means of its effects on the underlying principles and functions of command. This paper concludes that a network-centric environment cannot alter the essential human attributes of command in war.


In the industrialized world, the second half of the 20th century saw exponential growth in reliance on Information Technology (IT). Sophisticated computer and communication systems are now at the core of every aspect of traditional military operations, most notably command and control, intelligence, transport and logistics. Driven by a progression of startling advances in the civilian sector, the rate of development and integration of IT systems into military affairs is not likely to diminish. The relatively low cost of computers and software makes it possible to extend the capabilities to users at all levels of the organization, with the result that all functions, regardless of significance, can be served by and depend on this technology. The result of this heavy dependence on IT by military and civilian organizations has, however, led to new vulnerabilities that can be exploited in conflict and, thus, to the concept of ‘Information Warfare’ (IW).

The term ‘Information Warfare’ was first used in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s that the US Department of Defense (DoD) revealed the existence of command and control warfare concepts as a subset of the broader field of IW.2 Since that time, defence agencies and the information security industry have studied the impact of information warfare on military and civilian organizations with a view to determining how best to protect critical infrastructure. The US concern over the threat posed by the vulnerability of IT systems led to a plan for the protection of vital information infrastructure which was promulgated by a Presidential executive order in 1996.

Military doctrine has recently delineated how offensive and defensive military operations might be conducted in the new environment of cyberspace. In Canada, the CF Information Operations manual was published in April 1998, followed by the American manual, Doctrine for Joint Information Operations, in October 1998. The two national doctrines are very similar, and the definition of terms is consistent between the two publications. ‘Information operations’ has been defined as actions taken across the full spectrum, from peace to war, to affect adversary information and information systems while defending one’s own information systems. ‘Information warfare’ is information operations conducted during time of crisis or conflict. ‘Information superiority’ is the outcome of successful information operations where the flow of information is enabled for friendly forces and denied to the enemy.3

The operations room of HMCS Charlottetown: ready for network-centric command and control.

In 1996, prior to the publication of the doctrine manuals noted above, the concept of information superiority was identified in the US Joint Chiefs of Staff document, Joint Vision 2010, as a factor of “emerging importance”.4 Since then, the concept of information superiority has continued to evolve and grow in importance, and figures prominently in the sequel document, Joint Vision 2020, published in June 2000. In this latest document, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs describes his outlook on the nature and capability of the US armed forces in twenty years, and the transformation that will be necessary to bring about the new capabilities. The end state he envisions is a force “that is dominant across the full spectrum of military operations — persuasive in peace, decisive in war, pre-eminent in any form of conflict.”5

The role of information technology as the catalyst of the transformation is stressed in the JCS document. It asserts that the end goal of ‘full spectrum dominance’ — which will be achieved through the application of “dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and full dimensional protection” — can be achieved only by realizing the full potential of the information revolution.

Information superiority, touted by Joint Vision 2020 as a key ‘enabler’ of the future joint force, is defined as “the capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary’s ability to do the same.”6 This capability, it is suggested, will provide the joint force a competitive advantage that will allow the force to operate freely in a ‘global information grid’. The development of this information grid will provide the network-centric environment required to achieve the goal of a fully synchronized information campaign.

Information superiority is therefore analogous to air superiority. One seeks control of airspace, while the other aims to dominate cyberspace. Both are a means to an end, and both are valued for their ability to affect the accomplishment of military objectives. Without air superiority, all elements of a joint force are vulnerable to air attack. Similarly, without information superiority, all elements of a joint force are subject to interference, with the added vulnerability that the theatre of operation in cyberspace is not constrained by geography. If the global information grid envisioned in Joint Vision 2020 is penetrated, attacks in cyberspace will be able to reach civilian and military targets across the globe, and at the speed of light.


Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) represents the next step in the evolution of military thinking about IT and its impact on the conduct of operations. Information Operations doctrine has thus far been limited to a description of how to conduct offensive and defensive action in cyberspace so as to gain information superiority. The emerging concept of NCW is likely to lead to the development of doctrine that describes how the military should organize itself to capitalize on the advantage provided by information superiority to conduct operations in the physical space.

Vice-Admiral Arthur Cebrowski of the US Navy described the NCW concept in his seminal article, “Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future”7, where he argues that advances in information technology are causing military operations to shift from platform-centric warfare to network-centric warfare.

The NCW concept has already been fully embraced by the US Navy. The Chief of Naval Operations is quoted in the January 2000 edition of the Navy public affairs journal as stating that “NCW will be the US Navy’s organizing principle in the next century”.8 The literature is now replete with endorsements of the novel concept where “mutually shared information and a common tactical picture will permit coherent employment of the entire naval force as a single synergistic entity.”9 While very little has been written about NCW outside of naval circles, the applicability of the concept to all military operations seems obvious.

In his article, Admiral Cebrowski describes the structural model required to carry out NCW, consisting of information, sensor and engagement grids. The information grid — the computer and communications technology that enables the passing of large amounts of data through interconnected and interoperable networks — provides the backbone for the sensor and engagement grids. Sensor grids collect data from dispersed sensors and rapidly generate battle-space awareness that is shared at all levels of operation. Engagement grids link together lethal and non-lethal weapon systems and capitalize on this situational awareness to optimize the employment of firepower, resulting in a focus on the massing of effects rather than the massing of forces.

Admiral Cebrowski points out that many key elements of these grids are already in place, but that full integration is lagging. Information technologies, unlike those of other technologies applicable to military operations, are driven by commercial developments rather than by classified military research and development. This has resulted in the rapid evolution and acquisition of military networks that are not interoperable and, therefore, cannot be integrated. To lay the groundwork for NCW, the US Department of Defense has established technical standards that will allow local and wide area networks to communicate with each other. Admiral Owens, the Vice Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated in 1995 that a “system of systems” could be completed by year 2020, and earlier if priority in defence spending were shifted from other procurement projects.10

As mentioned previously, the US Navy has embraced the goal of NCW, and is ahead of the other US services in pursuing its implementation. The Navy has undertaken an ambitious project, called IT-21, to build the ‘information grid’ needed as the backbone for the NCW concept. A total of $US 3.6 billion was allocated for this project for a five-year period beginning in 1998. IT-21 will provide an ‘intranet’ capability to virtually all Navy units afloat and ashore. Commanders will be able to view the common operational picture provided by the US Global Command and Control System, and will have ready access to mission-critical information (such as weather and intelligence). They will be able to communicate with widely-dispersed forces using secure e-mail and video teleconferencing.

Two other interoperable networks will provide the NCW sensor and engagement grid capability. The secure Link 16 Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) or the Multifunction Information Distribution System (MIDS) digital data radios now being deployed on ships and aircraft will fulfill the requirements of the sensor grid. The JTIDS and MIDS terminals will automatically report friendly positional data, as well as known locations of enemy platforms for display over the network. The Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) will combine high-performance sensor and engagement grids. CEC-equipped ships and aircraft will operate as a single distributed air-defense system, passing target data across the entire force in real time. The CEC will ‘fuse’ the data from the various platforms to develop a target track with much greater accuracy than would be possible using any one sensor. Initial operational capability was achieved in 1996 in a test with the USS Eisenhower carrier battle group. Current plans call for completing deployment of this capability aboard aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and Hawkeye aircraft by 2006.

Having reviewed the NCW vision in technological terms, the salient characteristics of such a ‘system of systems’ can now be identified with a view to determining the effect that an NCW environment is likely to have on operational commanders. From Admiral Cebrowski’s perspective, the emergence of the new technology will enable an evolution from attrition warfare to a new style of warfare that is characterized by ‘speed of command’ and ‘self-synchronization’.11

Speed of command is achieved in the following ways. First, information superiority on the information grid, coupled with advances in display technology, will result in a dramatic increase in situational awareness and a better understanding of the battle space. Second, the higher degree of battle-space awareness, coupled with an effective engagement grid, will allow commanders at all levels to employ forces with greater precision and to decide on priorities and allocate weapons more efficiently and effectively. The rapid and effective employment of forces will disrupt the enemy’s decision cycle and limit his ability to regain the initiative. Through speed of command, the potential exists to offset a disadvantage in numbers, technology, or position.12

Self-synchronization is made possible because of the ability to establish and maintain a high degree of situational awareness at all levels of command. Operations no longer have to rely on top-down, command-directed synchronization. Each element of the force can ensure that their unique operating rhythm is in tune with the commander’s intent and battle rhythm. This, in theory, eliminates the need for a force-wide friendly decision cycle, so the enemy is thus denied any operational pause and is continuously kept off balance.

In summary, the salient features of a fully developed and functioning Network-Centric Warfare environment are:

l high levels of shared battle-space awareness;
l shared knowledge of the commander’s intent; and
l self-synchronization, speed of command and a rapid ‘lock-out’ of the opponent’s options.


Evaluating the impact of technological change on command is difficult because, as observed by Martin Van Creveld, command is “so intimately bound up with numerous other factors that shape war, the pronunciation of one or more ‘master principles’ that should govern its structure and the way it operates is impossible.”13 While accepting the complexity of command as noted by Van Creveld, this paper attempts to gain insight of the impact of a NCW environment on command by first drawing from the recent work of the Canadian analysts Dr. Ross Pigeau and Carol McCann on the concepts of command and control.

McCann and Pigeau define command as “the creative expression of human will necessary to accomplish a mission.”14 They convincingly argue that the human attributes essential for command consist of three principal dimensions: competency, authority, and responsibility. They recommend that all new command and control systems should be assessed for effects on these components. Accepting this model as a valid point of departure, this paper begins with an assessment of the effects of a NCW environment on the commander by analyzing its impact on these three human attributes.

Having examined the impact of NCW on a commander’s attributes, the paper will then turn to an analysis of the impact of NCW on his ability to exercise command. The “fundamentals of command” in CFP 300-1, Operational Level Doctrine for the Canadian Army, provide guidance to commanders in the exercise of command. A review of British Army and US joint doctrine will reveal consistency of these principles across environmental and national boundaries. These fundamentals of command thus form a good basis for our analysis.


McCann and Pigeau observe that command is a uniquely human characteristic that any individual in the organization, from private to general, can assume. They advance that varying levels of competency, authority and responsibility set the general officer apart from the private in their abilities to command.15

Competency attributes encompass four general categories: physical, emotional, interpersonal and intellectual. A commander’s physical or emotional competency is not likely to be any more challenged in a network-centric environment than in current settings. However, new interpersonal and intellectual competencies may need to be developed.

The NCW environment will provide the commander and his staff with an increased capability to communicate via e-mail and video teleconferencing with all levels of his command. For most, this will not be a significant change as video is already being used as a means of communication between staffs and commanders with generally good results. There is always a risk that video teleconferencing will be employed as a tool for micro-management — unwarranted interference in the exercise of command and control by subordinates. However, barring this misguided use, an expanded and appropriate use in an NCW environment is not likely to have any negative impact, and may in fact enhance rather than diminish the communication function.

Intellectual competency is an essential attribute for absorbing large amounts of information, analyzing courses of action and making decisions. The NCW environment certainly has the potential to overwhelm commanders with too much information — information overload — so the ability to sort quickly through the unimportant will be a crucial skill. As previously discussed, the system will need to provide innovative decision support tools to assist commanders in this task. However, increased information will not necessarily result in improved leadership, nor make commanders more effective. According to US Army Lieutenant General C.J. Kennedy, “command is still largely a function of a commander’s intuition . . . individuals perceive information in different ways.”16 Essentially then, in spite of the vast amounts of data generated by a myriad of interconnected networks, in the final analysis, commanders will still need to rely on their creativity and intuition to make sound decisions in a NCW environment.

Authority, the second attribute identified by McCann and Pigeau, refers to the domain of influence of the commander. It consists of legal authority — defined as that authority assigned by the government, and personal authority — the authority granted by peers and subordinates. McCann and Pigeau posit that “command authority is achieved almost exclusively through personal authority . . . [and personal authority is] based on reputation, experience, and character”.17

A network-centric war environment has the potential to significantly affect a commander’s personal authority. The increased level of shared battle-space awareness and shared knowledge of the commander’s intent will, assuming the commander is making correct decisions, bolster his reputation and increase his degree of personal authority over the entire force. Obviously, quite the opposite could also occur in situations where the commander exhibits questionable judgement. With respect to personal authority, an NCW environment will create a double-edged sword that commanders will need to wield carefully.

Responsibility, the final dimension of command, refers to “the degree to which an individual accepts the moral liability and obligation with Command”.18 McCann and Pigeau identify two components of responsibility. Extrinsic responsibility, which is equivalent to accountability, deals with the formal obligations of command. Intrinsic responsibility relates to self-generated obligations and is a function of the resolve and motivation of the individual. An NCW environment has the potential to induce higher degrees of intrinsic responsibility in commanders and subordinates alike; however, once again, an opposite effect is also possible. The higher degree of shared awareness can be a strong motivating force and increase the will to fight in all combatants. On the other hand, a shared awareness of imminent defeat may send shock waves through the force and adversely affect morale. In an NCW environment, perhaps to a greater extent than today given the heightened awareness of the situation, commanders will have to be vigilant and ensure that effective leadership is exercised at all times.

The operations room of HMCS Victoria.

McCann and Pigeau assert that the three dimensions of competency, authority, and responsibility are sufficient to account for Command capability, and “together form an abstract three-dimensional space within which the Command potential of all military personnel lie.”19 They explain that “there exists a roughly linear relationship among the three dimensions, one that reflects an optimal balance for different levels of Command.” Thus, to be effective, a given commander’s abilities must match the levels of competency, authority, and responsibility associated with his position. Therefore, to function in the self-synchronization mode, NCW will need to ensure that commanders at all levels have the attributes necessary to accomplish the task. In effect, information technology alone is not sufficient to enable self-synchronization in a NCW environment. In the final analysis, it is the human element in the system — the commanders — that will make it work.

The fundamentals of command, as defined in CFP 300-1, are: unity of effort, decentralization, trust and mutual understanding, and timely and effective decision making. Command promotes force cohesion to achieve unity of effort. Whenever possible, command must be decentralized and rely on the ability of sub-units to operate independently, while maintaining unity of effort. This favourable situation is made possible through the development of trust and mutual understanding. In such an environment, commanders can exercise timely and effective decision-making. The impact of a network-centric warfare environment on each of the fundamentals of command will be addressed in turn.

Although employing decentralization, the commander must remain able to coordinate the activities of his subordinates to achieve synchronization . . . and to preserve unity of effort across his force.20

Maintaining unity of effort is of course more difficult when command is decentralized. CFP 300-1 argues that the conflict between unity of effort and decentralization is resolved by ensuring that the commander’s intent is communicated and understood, the main effort is clearly designated, a proper command climate is maintained, and the forces operate based on a common doctrine. The role of the leader in establishing purpose, providing direction, and generating cohesion and motivation is stressed. These guiding principles are fully consistent with the views expressed by McCann and Pigeau that command “is first and foremost a human endeavor”, and that command and control is “the establishment of common intent to achieve coordinated action.”21 These fundamental tenets operate independently of technology, and will retain validity in a network-centric environment.

To establish purpose, leaders require awareness. As advanced by the noted historian, John Keegan, “the essentials of action by the commander are knowing and seeing.”22 In this sense, a network-centric warfare environment certainly has the potential of facilitating the leadership function by increasing awareness. However, NCW runs the risk of overloading the commander if not properly designed. The technological challenge was expressed at a 1997 AFCEA conference. In the words of Major General Charles Thomas, who chaired a panel on information systems at the conference, “building the right software filters, the right profiles, so that we can provide the right information without overloading each commander, is one of our great challenges.”23 As stated earlier, this paper assumes that this technical hurdle has been successfully overcome.

In an NCW environment, where the self-synchronization of forces is enabled and valued, commanders will be able to adopt a command by negation approach to maintain unity of effort. With the assumption that the technology will provide the means to effectively filter the large amounts of data and present a valid picture of the battlefield, commanders will be able to focus on the monitoring rather than the control of operations. While the means to achieve unity of effort may change, this important and fundamental aspect of command will remain in an NCW environment.

To generate the required tempo of operations and to cope with the uncertainty, disorder, and fluidity of combat, command must be decentralized to the maximum extent possible.24

NCW will facilitate the decentralization of command. “No longer dependent on information being passed along, units can act on changing situations as they happen to exploit weaknesses and counter enemy strategies to accomplish the overall mission.”25 However, decentralization cannot be applied indiscriminately. Decentralization relies on implicit communications, up and down and across the system. In an NCW environment, the push for speed of command and self-synchronization will drive all participants to rely too heavily on the common operating picture, and to treat this situational display as a shared reality that is neither shared nor real due to the inherent inaccuracies of any information system.26 Centralization may be more appropriate if the higher commander has better information, if subordinate commanders are not sufficiently trained, or if a climate of trust and mutual understanding has not been achieved.

NCW may bring out the best and the worse in leaders. Some have argued that while NCW will allow for the flattening of organizational structures, the grave nature of military operations may push some commanders to seek too much control. The best commanders will learn to use the increased situational awareness to their advantage. The complete linkage of the information network to all command hierarchies will allow commanders to adapt command and control roles and responsibilities based on the changing war-fighting scenario. Commanders that use NCW effectively will “banish over-supervision and expect — demand — initiative from subordinates based on improved situational understanding.”27

CFP 300-1 explains that commanders must “allow subordinates to exercise freedom of action but [must be ready] to exert control when necessary by asserting their authority.”28 This will continue to be sound guidance for commanders who seek to apply the principle of decentralization in a NCW environment.

A superior needs to have the trust of, but also have trust in his subordinates. The basis of this two-way trust is mutual understanding. 29

CFP 300-1 identifies trust as one of the ‘cornerstones’ of command. The maintenance of trust is vital to the maintenance of morale. Soldiers must trust not only their immediate superiors, but must believe in the abilities and judgement of commanders throughout the chain of command. Soldiers need to understand ‘the reason why’ and maintain a sense of involvement in the decisions made by their superiors.

Pigeau and McCann stress the importance of shared intent between commanders and their subordinates. The components of shared intent are explicit and implicit intent. Explicit intent is passed overtly through orders but is not sufficient for ensuring operational success. Implicit intent is passed through the exercise of leadership and the continual personal interaction with subordinates. By communicating implicit intent, “a Command climate is established where trust, confidence, motivation, creativity, initiative, pride, discipline and esprit de corps are developed.”30

The NCW environment will greatly facilitate the sharing of explicit intent and may, if the technological challenges are surmounted, service the need of maintaining close contact and shared implicit intent between the commander and the commanded. In any event, the fundamental need of shared intent and the element of trust it engenders will remain a cornerstone of command in network-centric warfare.

An effective planning and decision-making capability requires a balance between information and time . . . The key is to make timely and effective decisions, appropriate to the level of command.31

According to CFP 300-1, decision-making is a “time-competitive process to try to get inside the opponent’s decision-action cycle.” The ‘faster commander’ thus retains the initiative, and keeps his opponent off balance by rendering his actions ineffective and inappropriate. However, the doctrine points out that timely decision-making does not only mean that decisions must be made quickly, but equally important is the need to “make good decisions at the right time.” 32

The ‘speed of command’ characteristic of the NCW environment could lead to some undesirable effects. “We may find ourselves acting so rapidly within our enemy’s decision loop that we largely are prompting and responding to our own signals . . . like Pavlov’s dog ringing his own bell and wondering why he’s salivating so much.”33 While networked organizations can process information faster, this does not necessarily mean that speed of command is increased. Rather “this should translate into increased time for analysis and contemplation of appropriate response.” NCW should not seek to change the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop to a DADA loop.

Professor Mackubin Owens of the US Naval War College points out that “possessing a mass of data does not mean that the decision maker understands their significance or what to do with them.”34 Only when data has been synthesized and converted into knowledge does the decision-maker achieve true situational awareness. Neither is more data necessarily better. Another analyst noted, more data would have “clogged an already crowded process” and would not necessarily have altered the Vincennes commanding officer’s decision to identify as hostile and order the shoot down of an Iranian commercial airliner. What was needed was “exactly the right information, provided in a 2 minute and 22 second window.”35

CFP 300-1 points out that commanders must be conscious of the gravity of decisions that could result in the loss of life. One element of decision-making may be aided by NCW, in that ‘perfect’ information will alleviate the burden of choosing. However, no amount of information technology will ever allow complete insight into the minds of the opposing commander, or the intentions of a potential foe. Admiral William Owens, Vice Chief of the US Joint Chiefs in 1996, explains:

The system-of-systems does not offer omniscience or omnipotence. It has demonstrated the ability to reduce the fog and friction of war and promises to do even more so in the future. What counts in war is the relative influence on the opposing side of what some have called the fog and friction of conflict. The side that can reduce the effect of that fog and friction significantly, relative to its opponent, will win.36

Risk taking, and the need to make decisions in the absence of perfect information, will continue to be a burden of command in the NCW environment. Technology, no matter how sophisticated, will never change this simple and unavoidable truth.


As previously argued, the NCW environment will not change the fact that command is a mission-oriented human endeavour performed within the limits of a commander’s personal attributes. However, two features of NCW have the potential of significantly affecting the attributes of competency and authority. First, the processing and assimilation of large amounts of data can overstress the intellectual competency of commanders. This paper assumes that system designers will be successful in their goal of filtering the data and providing commanders with adequate decision-support tools. Arguably, a failure to design network systems in this manner will seriously constrain any potential advantage of a NCW environment, as any increase in awareness will be limited by the human ability to process information. Second, the effectiveness of commanders can be diminished through a loss in personal authority in situations where a commander’s questionable judgement is quickly disseminated across the information grid for all to see. However, while the new technology may alter the environment to the point that personal attributes are affected, the central fact remains that command potential and effectiveness are limited by the personal attributes of the commander. In this respect at least, the essence of command is unchanged.

The analysis has also shown that commanders will continue to be guided by existing fundamentals of command in an NCW environment. While the means to achieve unity of effort may change, and the ability to decentralize command functions will be enhanced, the importance of these elements in the effective exercise of command is undiminished in an NCW environment. Similarly, and as argued in the previous paragraph, the establishment of trust and mutual understanding may be altered in means but not import. Finally, decision making will continue to be the province of commanders, and will continue to be dependant on a commander’s experience and intuition.

The NCW environment will not determine the essence of command in war. The technology will indeed bring a new set of variables to the command equation that must be solved by commanders. In the words of Martin van Creveld, “Far from determining the essence of command, then, communication and information processing technology merely constitutes one part of the general environment in which command operates.”37 The technological component of war can never fully account for the dynamic interaction of human beings and “war will remain predominantly an art, infused with human will, creativity, and judgement.”38


The emergence of the concept of Network-Centric Warfare represents a significant milestone in the evolution of military thinking on how to integrate information technology into military operations. The first impact of information technology on military doctrine has been the formulation of organizing principles dealing with the conduct of operations in cyberspace and the idea of information superiority. The concept of Network-Centric Warfare seeks to further exploit information technology and significantly enhance the functions of command and control on the battlefield.

However, this paper has argued that a network-centric environment will not determine the essence of command in war. Command is in essence a mission-oriented human endeavor, performed within the limits of a commander’s personal attributes and guided by a framework of fundamental principles. In spite of advances in technology, command will always be limited by human attributes and capabilities, and will rely on a commander’s creativity and intuition. The fundamental principles governing unity of effort, decentralization, trust, mutual understanding and decision making remain unchanged in a network-centric environment.

Colonel Pierre Forgues is Headquarters Commanding Officer/A5 Review and Corporate Services in 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters.



1. David Morse, “STANAVFORLANT under Canadian Command.” Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2000): p. 62.
2. Edward Waltz, “The US Transition to Information Warfare”, Journal of Electronic Defense, December 1998, pp. 35-42.
3. United States, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 3-13: Joint Doctrine for Information Operations, October 1998: p. I-1.
4. United States, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2010, 1996.
5. United States, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2020, June 2000.
6. United States, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2020, June 2000, p. 8.
7. Arthur K. Cebrowski, “Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future”, United States Naval Institute Proceedings, 124-1 (January 1998), pp. 28-35.
8. C. Dour and V. Beck, “A Network-Centric Frame of Mind”, Public Affairs Communicator, January 2000.
9. Edward C. Whitman, “Submarines in Network Centric Warfare”, Sea Power, July 1999, pp. 33-36.
10. William A. Owens, “The Emerging System of Systems”, United States Naval Institute Proceedings, 121-5 (May 1995), p. 39.
11. Cebrowski, Network , p. 32.
12. Arthur K. Cebrowski, “Sea Change”, Surface Warfare, 22-6 (Nov./Dec.1997), p. 5.
13. Martin Van Creveld, Command in War (Cambridge: Harvard,) p. 261.
14. C. McCann and R. Pigeau, “Clarifying the Concepts of Control and of Command”, Proceedings of the 1999 Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium (Washington, DC: CCRP, Dept. of Defense) p. 5.
15. ibid, p. 7.
16. ibid, p. 8.
17. ibid.
18. ibid, p. 9.
19. ibid.
20. CFP 300-1, p. 3-5.
21. McCann and Pigeau, pp. 2-5.
22. John Keegan, The Mask of Command, (New York:Viking Penguin), p. 325.
23. Campen, Joint Vision, n.p.
24. CFP 300-1, pp. 3-5.
25. Jay L. Johnson, “Network Centric Warfare - Real Time Awareness”, All Hands, Jan. 1998.
26. Thomas P.M. Barnett, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Network-Centric Warfare,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1999.
27. Steven J. Mains, “Adopting Doctrine to Knowledge”, Military Review, 7-2, March-April 1997, p. 95.
28. CFP 300-1, p. 3-3.
29. CFP 300-1, p. 3-7.
30. R. Pigeau and C. McCann, “Re-defining Command and Control.” In C. McCann & R. Pigeau (Eds.), The Human in Command (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum) n.p.
31. CFP 300-1, p. 3-3.
32. ibid.
33. Barnett, Deadly Sins, n.p.
34. M.T. Owens, “Technology, the RMA, and Future War”, Strategic Review, 26-2, Spring 1998, p. 69.
35. Alan D. Zimm, “Human-Centric Warfare,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings, 125-5, May 1999, p. 31.
36. William A. Owens, “The Emerging System of Systems,” National Defense University Strategic Forum, Number 63, February 1996.
37. Van Creveld, Command in War, p. 275.
38. F.G. Hoffman, “An Alternative to the ‘System of Systems’”, Marine Corps Gazette, 84-1, January 2000, p. 22.

Offline Effie Trinket

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A Holistic View of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)

Akshay Joshi, Research Officer, IDSA

There are three stages of technological development. During the first stage, technology takes the path of least resistance, that is, it is applied in ways that do not threaten people. Second, the technology is used to improve previous technologies Today's word processor is nothing more than an improved typewriter, for example. In the third stage, new directions of uses are discovered that grow out of the technology itself. New information technologies gradually give birth to new activities, processes, and products.1

— John Naisbitt, "Megatrends," 1982


As prophesised by John Naisbitt, Information Technology (IT) has now entered the third stage of technological development. It is now giving rise to new processes, activities and products. New tools and processes of waging war like information warfare (IW), network-centric-warfare (NCW), integrated command and control (C4ISR), system of systems, all powered by information technology, have led to the revolution in military affairs (RMA). This is likely to broaden the parameters of our thinking about national security. We are on the brink of a major revolution on how we conduct national security affairs. The ramifications of the RMA need to be understood not only by military officers but also by strategy planners, both military and civil. The military has to contend with the 5th dimension of warfare, information, in addition to land, sea, air and space. The strategy planners, on the other hand, have to consider the economic, political, military and information aspects in their policy and decision making. The new idea needs integration under a single and broader roof. The newly formed National Security Council is the ideal forum to study the ramifications of this revolution and to include them in the Strategic Defence Review.

Two recent incidents of computer hacking, that is the intrusion of Milworm hackers into the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) network and the social engineering of the Army website, are only the benevolent manifestations of the RMA. However, these examples are very significant to students of the RMA in India and reinforce the importance of a detailed study on this new subject. The ramifications of the RMA go beyond the military. A national perspective is required to understand how the RMA will affect our national security policy making in the 21st century. It needs to be understood that the ramifications of the RMA do not make conventional warfare and thinking irrelevant. What has happened as a result of the RMA is that in future warfare, platforms (aircraft, ships, tanks or guns) will be less reflective of military power than the quality of sensors, communication links, avionics, munitions, etc that they carry.2 This article discusses how IT has revolutionised future warfare, the ramifications and implications of the RMA and gives some suggestions on how best India can exploit the RMA. The scope of this article is indicated in Fig. 1.

Information Warfare (IW)

The information revolution is permeating all walks of life. The last few hundred years have witnessed numerous revolutions in military affairs. More often than not these revolutions are initiated by a new technology. James Adams, the Chief Executive Officer of the international news agency, United Press International, has listed these RMAs in his book The Next World War: The Warriors and Weapons of the New Battlefields in Cyberspace. Beginning with 1340 AD, when a more sophisticated bow was developed, he lists 11 revolutions in military affairs. In 1420, artillery revolutionised old siege warfare. In 1600, ship-borne artillery, better fortress construction methods and muskets brought a three-way revolution. After the advent of the modern Army built around a staff system (1800), steam turbines, submarines and the torpedo (1800-1850), the arrival of the railways, telegraph and the rifle (1860), tanks and aircraft carriers (1920), the last revolution was in 1945, the nuclear bomb. The 11th revolution (1991), and the one that matters now, is the microchip.3 This ongoing technology revolution in which information is the resource, the target and the weapon has led to the concept of information warfare (IW). It needs to be mentioned that IW is linked to all the subsequent implications of the RMA. It has been discussed separately only for the purpose of this article.

There are a number of definitions for information warfare. The US Joint Chiefs of Staff definition reads like this: "Actions taken to achieve information superiority in support of national military strategy by affecting adversary information and information systems while leveraging and protecting our information and information systems." Simply, put IW is defined as "any action taken to deny, exploit, corrupt or destroy the enemy's information and its functions, while protecting ourselves against those actions and exploiting our own military information functions." The definition of IW indicates that actions would have to be taken to achieve information superiority by affecting the adversary's information environment while defending one's own in any future conflict. This only provides an inkling of how the military is starting to come to terms with the new realities of IW.4

The Gulf War was the first time information was used both as a target and as a weapon. Command and control nodes, communication facilities, TV and radio stations were the first to be struck with missiles and bombs. In the initial stages itself the Iraqi units were cut off from their leadership. IW as a concept has fast gained acceptance after the Gulf War. The understanding of the concept, though, trails far behind. IW does not exist as a separate technique of waging war, but there are several distinct forms of IW, each laying claim to a larger concept.5 It is another tool which needs to be used to achieve the end result. According to this theory, there are seven forms of warfare or conflicts that involve the protection, manipulation, degradation, and denial of information. This characterisation of information warfare shows that it can by conducted against a country's military as well as its civil society. Against the military, information warfare could consist of command and control warfare (C2W), intelligence based warfare (IBW), and electronic warfare (EW), whereas against the society it could primarily consist of info-economic warfare and cyberwar. Common denominators of IW for the military and society would be psychological warfare and computer hacking.6 IW weapons either destroy information systems, or mutate the contents. These include electromagnetic transients, chipping and microbes, that eat, burn or disable the hardware; malicious software, that decimates data and pulverises the operating system; and information swingers of varied types which engulf the adversary in a fog of disinformation.7

A major implication of IW is that non-state actors have been empowered. These non-state actors have a non-hierarchical command structure while state actors follow a hierarchical command system. This fact needs to be appreciated while formulating steps to counter cyber terrorism, hacking, etc by non-state actors. Another major implication of IW, which falls under psychological warfare, is the media factor. The USA unabashedly used CNN in the Gulf War to win public opinion against Iraq. What has emerged is the importance of media management, news blackouts, propaganda and disinformation in the conduct of future wars.

The concept of IW is not a new one. Strategists such as Sun Tzu had spoken of the importance of knowing the enemy and one's self centuries ago in order to defeat an opponent's strategy before battle was joined physically. Today the methods for entering the enemy's decision making cycle and gaining insights into his strategy are powered by information technology. Information of superior quality is available to the commander in real time, thereby enhancing his battlefield awareness. The methods of refining this information and filtering it to avoid information overload are getting more sophisticated. Simultaneously defensive methods of denying the enemy access to our own systems and offensive methods of getting into enemy systems to disrupt their smooth flow of information are also being pursued. While work on offensive IW is going on, there is a more urgent need to develop defensive IW for our computers and networks. The Indian Navy has achieved a major breakthrough in developing a secure crypto system (TRINETRA) for computers/networks in collaboration with IIT, Kanpur. It is also working on other root technologies for defensive IW.8

The success of information warfare largely depends on the technological base of a nation, the extent of dependence on electronics for warfare and the extent of networking of its systems. Only the most advanced countries with superior technologies can fully prosecute IW. This also makes them more vulnerable to disruption by even modest technological powers. To say that conventional warfare is irrelevant due to the advent of IW is an overstatement. IW is only another tool which makes warfare more complex. We have the advantage of other nations' experiences of being at the receiving end of IW and must study the subject in detail before we rush into a complete overhaul of our war fighting architecture. It is for this reason that the Chinese are studying the Gulf War and subsequent US developments in this field before devising their infowar strategy.9 IW is a different approach to warfare and is likely to make heavy demands on us in the future. In the industrial age, the most powerful industrial nations attained supremacy. The same is true for the information age. Unless we become a preeminent information power, our military, ships, submarines and aircraft will be fighting wars with their hands tied.

Network-Centric Warfare (NCW)

Armed forces the world over are facing a paradoxical situation where they need to fulfil their tasks with decreased resources and decreased manpower. This necessitates working smarter and looking for force multipliers. Network-centric warfare enables us to manage this paradox. Network-centric computing is governed by Metcalfe's Law, which asserts that the "power" of a network is proportional to the square of the number of nodes in the network. Sun Microsystems were the first to point out that it is not so much about the computer as it is about the computer in the networked condition. IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner announced that IBM was moving to network-centric computing. The compelling business logic for this shift in strategy was the opportunity for IBM to link its heterogeneous computing lines more effectively and provide increased value for its customers. This is the same value proposition we seek in warfare.10 Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy, Admiral Jay Johnson has called it " a fundamental shift from what we call platform-centric warfare to network-centric warfare." We are some distance from the detailed understanding of the new operations—there is yet no equivalent to Carl von Clausewitz's On War for this second revolution—but we can gain some insight through the general observation that nations make war the same way they make wealth.11 Let us briefly examine the reasons that led to the change from platform-centric to network-centric operations.

Emergence of new technologies created the conditions for network-centric computing; the explosive growth of the internet, intranets, extranets, transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), hypertext markup language (HTML),Web browsers (such as Netscape Navigator, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer), search engines, and JavaTM Computing. These technologies, combined with high-volume, high-speed data access (enabled by the low cost laser) and technologies for high-speed data networking (hubs and routers) have led to the emergence of network-centric computing. Information "content" now can be created, distributed, and easily exploited across the extremely heterogeneous global environment. Networking in stock markets has led to a shift from a trader-centric system to a network-centric system. This has considerably reduced the time taken to complete transactions and increased customer awareness about prices of stocks and shares. This is very similar to a soldier having real-time battlefield awareness, which will enable him to complete his task quickly and efficiently. Network-centric retailing in departmental stores enables better inventory management. Similarly, a shift to network-centric operations will help the military improve its logistics management. The Indian Navy is very successfully using network-centric computing for its logistics management. It can be concluded that the military stands to benefit from network-centric operations in the same way as the corporate sector does.

The basic element of military activity on the battlefield is the Information-Decision-Action (IDA) cycle. This is also called the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop. The information part of the cycle is carried out by sensors and associated systems responsible for generation of information. This activity is followed by decision and action in a cyclical fashion till the specific activity is completed. An activity might require more than one cycle for completion or a number of cycles before the action reaches finality. The probability of a single-cycle task is very low, considering that some cycle overrun would be needed for a reasonable degree of task achievement. The objective should be to complete the IDA cycle as economically as possible. Each part of the IDA cycle requires information technology in one form or another, whether for information processing, decision making or action. In fact, information technologies operate in all segments of the IDA cycle as catalysts since they hasten the individual segments, which in turn leads to dramatic compression of time.12 The structure or model for network-centric warfare is designed so as to compress the time taken to complete the IDA cycle.

The structure or logical model for network-centric warfare has emerged. This is shown in Fig. 2. The entry fee is a high-performance information grid (which corresponds to the information part of the IDA cycle) that provides a backplane for computing and communications. The information grid enables the operational architectures of sensor grids and engagement grids. Sensor grids (which corresponds to the decision part of the IDA cycle) rapidly generate high levels of battle-space awareness and synchronise awareness with military operations. Engagement grids (which corresponds to the action part of the IDA cycle) exploit this awareness and translate it into increased combat power.13 The US Navy is rapidly shifting from platform-centric warfare to network-centric warfare and many key elements of the grids are in place. New classes of threats have required increased defensive combat power for joint forces. The combat power that has emerged—the cooperative engagement capability (CEC)—was enabled by a shift to network-centric operations. CEC combines a high performance sensor grid with a high-performance engagement grid. The sensor grid rapidly generates engagement quality awareness, and the engagement grid translates this awareness into increased combat power. This power is manifested by high probability engagements against threats capable of defeating a platform-centric defence. The CEC sensor grid fuses data from multiple sensors to develop a composite track with engagement quality, creating a level of battlespace awareness that surpasses whatever can be created with stand alone sensors. The whole is clearly greater than the parts.14

The pace of future battle will be so swift that there will be no time to revert to rear headquarters all the time for instructions and advice. A typical military hierarchical structure in such an environment will fail. Commanders will have to decentralise and delegate, while officers on the battlefront will have to be fully aware of rules of engagement and the political factors so that they can take quick decisions. Network-centric warfare enables a shift from attrition-style warfare to a much faster and more effective warfighting style characterised by the new concepts of speed of command and self-synchronisation. Strategically it allows an understanding of all elements of battlespace and battletime, operationally it provides a close linkage between the units and the operating environment, and tactically it provides speed. It is one of the most important impacts of the RMA.


Today the advent of new forms of communication and imaging technology, incorporated into systems such as "smart" weaponry and digitised battlefield networks have led to the rethinking of war making and strategy conceptualisation. Over the ages, as technology has developed, new methods of collecting information have emerged. These new methods have improved the battlefield awareness of our commanders and soldiers. Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) has enabled the integration of these new inputs. Technological advancements of weapons and vehicles of air power are being developed in a manner that will continue to shorten the time cycles for action along with the other segments of IDA. A significant portion of technological progress being made in the military sphere deals with reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) systems. The employment of RSTA technologies is moving warfare further towards greater utilisation of aerial assets for gathering of information, greater range of striking power through long-range offensive systems, and higher accuracy through availability of better target information. If viewed holistically, then RSTA with communications give military forces the ability to locate targets with accuracy, carry out designation and cueing of weapon systems that significantly enhance combat power. Although airborne sensors have been used in the past, a more recent example was the Bekaa Valley conflict of 1982 where the Israeli armed forces achieved a high degree of favourable asymmetry in the opening stages itself. On a larger scale, the Gulf War of 1991 saw the use of RSTA and communication technologies that multiplied the combat power of the allies while degrading that of the Iraqis. The use of these technologies in this war led to far greater compression of time than before and signs of a new RMA emerged.15 The use of RSTA systems, Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and their integration into a C4ISR system has enabled the use of sophisticated weapons like "smart bombs" and precision guided munitions (PGMs) which are extremely accurate and reduce civilian casualties. C4ISR has also led to the expansion of space and the compression of time on the battlefield.

C4ISR provides situational awareness (SA) for integration and coordination of joint element manoeuvres and sensor to shooter connectivity for weapons employment. It is the essential capability for binding the nation's armed services, defence and intelligence agencies and other government and private organisations into a viable, coherent force. The resultant information superiority fundamentally changes the way operations are conducted. Joint C4ISR enables ability to mass effects without massing forces; protects against asymmetric threats; and, provides joint force flexibility, interoperability and efficiency.16 Throughout history one of the important elements of military tactics has been Command and Control (C 2). The concept developed into C3I (Command, Control, Comunication and Intelligence), C4I (Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence), C4I2 (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence and Interoperability) and finally to C4ISR. The concept has developed with the development of technology and various nations are at different stages depending on the integration of technology into their Command and Control structure. India, like many developing countries, is implementing C3I at the tactical level and has drawn out the plans for a national C4I2 system. This "National Command Post" will integrate inputs from the various ministries, the C3I systems of the three services, inputs from intelligence agencies, strategic IW, EW, surveillance, communication and weapon control systems.

According to a recent US government report, "Selected Military Capabilities of the People's Republic of China," the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has recently modernised its C4I system, introducing an automated Command and Control system, developing a new kind of general field communication system, and disseminating new general signal regulations. In addition, it is believed that at least one or two PLA Group Armies—the PLA is made up of 24 Group Armies, which are similar in size to a Western corps—now have access to an advanced automation system that integrates field command, provides them with operational simulation and computer plotting capabilities, allows the Group Army to write documents electronically and transmit them to division and regimental commands. China is also thought to have developed an automated tactical air defence C4I system (the Automated Air Defence Command and Control System) which can identify targets, evaluate threats, allocate forces, guide fighters, command surface to air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery.17

In India, special attention needs to be paid to military satellites for communication, networking and reconnaissance so that we can graduate to C4ISR. For a largely dispersed armed force like ours, it will be cumbersome, time consuming and very costly to lay state-of-the-art cables for networking, while reliance on commercial satellites like Iridium and ASCOM may have security implications. China has been booking frequencies for its defence satellites and India must immediately create space for its satellites in the electromagnetic spectrum, before it is too late!

System of Systems Approach

We have seen how the RMA has introduced new concepts like IW, sophisticated weapons like smart bombs and PGMs, a change from platform-centric warfare to network-centric warfare thereby reducing the time taken to complete the IDA cycle, and C4ISR which has integrated various inputs thereby altering the time-space paradigm on the battlefield. In order to further streamline the complex business of warfare, Admiral William Owens, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US introduced the concept of "System of Systems." The system of systems approach is heavily draped in high technology weapon and surveillance systems of the battlefield and focusses on the integration of three sets of technologies that relate to precision strikes, communications, and sensors on the battlefield.18 The system of systems approach is pegged on the application of information technologies to warfare with a view to integrate and network existing and emerging technologies that can look, shoot, and communicate. This interpretation of the RMA is the one most frequently articulated by the Americans, who believe that given the military's superior technological capabilities and if the integration of the system of systems is accomplished, the US should be able to achieve "dominant battlefield knowledge" over any 200 mile by 200 mile area of the earth's surface, and consequently victory over any opponent.19 System of systems, in short is integrating the technical advances of ISR, C4I and precision force technology into a command and control platform at the national level.


The US military has performed the trail-blazing task of undergoing radical changes in response to the radically divergent techniques of warfighting in an information age. It is called "joint warfighting", but it serves as an umbrella phrase under which a multitude of changes are taking place. Under the Goldwater-Nicholas Act of 1986, the US military has not only been busy converting the task of joint warfighting into an art form, but it is continuing to do more with less. This means that the US military is continuing to come up with different organisational and functional (i.e., tactical) ways to serve as a credible warfighting force. In fact, the "Joint Vision 2010" has emerged as an abbreviated discussion of the utmost significance assigned by the military to IW.20

All the implications of the RMA discussed till now necessarily imply the need for jointmanship amongst the three wings of the armed forces. It is heartening to note that all three branches of the armed forces are fully aware of the importance of IT and a tremendous amount of work is being done to incorporate IT into the warfighting machinery. What is lacking though, is the integration of the Army, Navy and Air Force in projecting a Joint C4ISR. The three services are linking their individual C3I systems directly to the C4I2 system at the national level. This avoids the need for jointmanship at the level of the services. The Army, Navy and Air Force should integrate their individual C3I systems into a Joint C4ISR system which should later be merged into a "System of Systems" at the national level. The Army has conceptualised an operational information system called the Army Strategic Operational Information Dissemination System (ASTROIDS) which will link the national C4I2 system to the Army's tactical C3I system, called the Command Information and Decision Support System (CIDSS). The CIDSS has the potential for functioning as a "fused sensor network" if the Navy and Air Force join in the project. The tri-service CIDSS could have up and down links to Indian "remote sensing"-cum-communication satellites.21 For a start, this arrangement could serve as a joint C4ISR. If we do not integrate our command and control system now, it will not be cost effective to do so at a later date.

All future operations may not be joint, but having a standard architecture for all three services enables merging of architectures if and when the need arises. Merging of architectures is important so that information from any of the sources can be used to deliver maximum firepower on the enemy. In tomorrow's battlefield, loosely knitted joint organisations put into place just prior to battle will not be successful. In 1971, we could take seven months to prepare for joint operations. Today, such a luxury will not be available. Change is inevitable and adjustments have to be made. B.H Liddell Hart has said, " The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is getting an old one out". In order to be effective in future wars, we have to prove Liddell Hart wrong.

Other Implications for India

The three most important issues for us today are doctrine, organisation of forces and training. The armed forces may not have a national doctrine available till the Strategic Defence Review is done by the National Security Council. In the interim, the three services need to work "together" in consultation with the IT Task Force (the services have two representatives on the IT Task Force) and other government agencies to develop architectures which can be merged later. Standardisation of hardware and software, identification of reliable sources of supply with backups, and the need to commence careful tests on all imported electronic equipment for hidden computer virus, malicious software, etc, should be included in our doctrine.

An effective organisation of the armed forces is very important in order to derive the maximum benefit of the RMA. In the information age, the dominant organisational model is the network. Traditional military hierarchies and the network forms have very different strengths and vulnerabilities. Reports of the death of military hierarchies are premature, but the military must consider ways to respond and adapt to this organisational challenge.22 Just as computers have flattened the organisational charts of corporations, the military may have to restructure its ranks with fewer layers of staff officers needed to process orders between a General and his men on the ground. The distinction between civilian and soldier may blur with more private contractors needed to operate complex equipment on the battlefield. There will, no doubt, be bureaucratic and even cultural opposition within the military to this new form of fighting.23 Chinese defence analyst Xu Chuangjie writes in Military Revolution Gives Impetus to Evolution in Command: "The revolution in information technology has increasingly changed with each passing day the battleground structure, operational modes, and concepts of time and space while dealing blows to the traditional 'centralised' and 'tier-by-tier' command structure". He recommends that a traditional vertical and tiered command structure be converted into a networked command structure and the centralised command system be converted into a dispersed type command.24 The US Quadrennial Review talks about reduction in personnel, restructuring the reserve component of the Army, reducing the size of the fleet of the Navy, etc. It will also accelerate its Force XXI modernisation plan, which will revolutionise combat capability by enhancing battlefield awareness through modern information technology.25 While it is not necessary to copy all that is being done, we do need to innovate and develop our "own way" of restructuring.

The third issue is training. Most current generation cyber warriors are self taught. In June 1995 the National Defence University in Washington D.C. graduated its first class of 16 infowar officers, specially trained in everything from defending against computer attacks to using virtual reality in planning battle manoeuvres.26 The Indian armed forces need to conduct customised courses covering all aspects of the Revolution in Military Affairs. Converting Information Operations (IO) into a separate specialisation, distinct from the "Signals" and "Communication" branches of the Army and Navy respectively, is long overdue. Training in Information Operations should be introduced at the National Defence Academy (NDA) and other training academies. It is this reality that is at the heart of the recent modifications in the military-academic programme at the NDA. Computer education is now compulsory for all 1,800 cadets at the NDA. The academy has approached its affiliate, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for approval for a full-fledged BCS (a Bachelor in Computer Science) degree programme.27 More officers from the fighting arms of the armed forces should be made to do BEs/BTechs and officers from the engineering branches need to pay more attention to Information Operations.

At present, there is no national posture on the RMA. The three services, bureaucrats and other agencies in charge of national security are, therefore, trying to solve the jigsaw puzzle on their own. We are currently at the awareness and office automation stage of the IT revolution. In a way, this is a blessing in disguise. We are not susceptible to crippling attacks of IW, elaborate security systems can be designed and tested before we go in for networking in a big way, mindsets can be changed prior to implementation and joint architectures can be worked out to cut costs and mass effects. But we should not carry our luck too far. IT, networking and integrated Command and Control have tremendous benefits. Information superiority, enhanced combat power, flexibility, surprise and many other elements that win wars are available in the RMA. The simultaneous Revolution in Business Affairs (RBA) affords us an opportunity to remain common with industry, use their research and development infrastructure, and in the bargain, save time, money and effort.

Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) Technology

The four aims of the RMA spelt out by the US and other Western nations were focussed logistics, dominant battlespace awareness, good command and control and precision weaponry. This was made possible because of the availability of commercial-off-the-shelf technology (COTS) from the civilian IT industry. Information technology is a dual use technology, that is, it can be used for both military and civil purposes.

Former US Chief of Staff General Colin Powell in an article in the Juy 1992 edition of the Byte magazine had underlined the fact that "increasingly military requirements are being met by off-the-shelf hardware and software". This is a remarkable paradigm shift. Traditionally, militaries sustained whole industries and civilian/commercial spin-offs came up as a consequence of that. In the cyber-age, where infotech industry works on smart ideas and massive volumes that create the necessary economies of scale, the militaries will no longer be the prime consumers. They will have to look at the shop shelves, pick and choose and have the ability to employ essentially civilian technologies for military use. From militaries driving the market to market driven militaries—this is the impact of the RMA.28 The Quadrennial Defence Review by the US Department of Defence (DoD) emphasises the need to take advantage of the Revolution in Business Affairs. "Over the past decade, the American commercial sector has reorganised, restructured, and adopted revolutionary new business and management practices in order to ensure its competitive edge in the rapidly changing global marketplace. DoD is examining the best opportunities to outsource and privatise non-core activities.We need to deregulate defense just as we have deregulated many other American industries so we can reap the cost and creativity benefits of wide-open private competition."29


In the last decade, there has been a proliferation of articles , books and references on the information revolution and the RMA. Futurists like Alvin and Heidi Toffler, John Naisbitt and others gave early indications of this revolution. The Gulf War, fall of the erstwhile Soviet Union, war in Yugoslavia and technological developments in the civilian IT industry have increased the interest in the topic. This article has attempted to take stock of the developments in this field and highlight the implications of this revolution. India today stands at the threshold of the information revolution. The formation of the National Security Council, IT Task Force and Information Warfare cells of the Army, Navy and Air Force are steps in the right direction. These institutions now need to take a holistic view of the revolution and devise a "National Information Strategy". This strategy should be jointly formulated by representatives of the armed forces, bureaucrats, police, paramilitary, intelligence, IT industry and scientists under the National Security Council. This strategy should establish a National Information Infrastructure (NII) in tune with the Global Information Infrastructure (GII).

Special emphasis needs to be given to security overlays, checks on all electronic equipment at national boundaries, identification of reliable and diverse sources of supply and training of manpower. Some recommendations, for immediate implementation by the Indian armed forces, to help cope with the RMA are summarised below :

l   Defensive IW needs to be given utmost priority.

l   A joint armed forces computer emergency response team should be formed to deal with computer hacking, cyber-terrorism, etc. on military installations by non-state actors. The Indian Navy has envisaged an Indian Naval Computer Emergency Response Team (INCERT).

l   Media should be used as a force multiplier and media management awareness should be brought about in the armed forces. The "CNN factor" needs to be studied by the military.

l   Networking using COTS hardware and software needs to be started. The method of networking (through cables or satellites?) needs to be decided.

l   Interaction with IITs, NIIT, IISc (Bangalore), IIIT (Bangalore) and other professional institutions dealing with IT should increase. Officers need to be trained in offensive IW in these institutions.

l   IW needs to be made a separate specialisation in all three services. Special incentives for IW specialists merit consideration to attract the whiz kids.

l   Interaction with private management firms, international banks and stock exchanges needs to be undertaken to learn how they manage computer security, information overload and other information related issues.

l   A task force to formulate joint doctrine and joint information technology architectures for the armed forces needs to be set up.

l   Building military satellites/connectivity to existing Indian remote sensing-cum-communication satellites needs to be explored.

l   The Navy and Air Force should join the Army's tactical C3I project, the CIDSS. It should be developed into a joint C4ISR system by providing it with up and down links from remote-sensing-cum-communication satellites.

l   Training issues like more IT awareness at the military training academies, more BEs/BTechs in the officer cadres, refresher courses in IW at the junior, mid and senior levels need to be implemented.

l   Developments in China in the RMA need to be studied more closely.

l   A joint IW laboratory needs to be formed. Personnel from the armed forces, intelligence agencies and civil bureaucracy could be trained here.

l   All this information infrastructure finally has to use munitions. We need to identify what IW munitions we are going to use in the future.

For policy makers in India, the situation in the information sphere is similar to the dilemma faced by policy makers in the economic sector. The benefits of joining these revolutions are many, and integration in the long run is inevitable. In both cases, however, there is an uncertainty about what will be the fallouts of integration. Therefore, necessary safeguards and security measures need to be taken to ensure that we derive maximum benefits and don't fall prey to the malevolence of the microchip. We need not ape the West, but it is high time we innovate and devise a strategy to cope with the information revolution. The stakes and the costs are high and we must get it right the first time!



1.   John Naisbitt, "Megatrends", 1982.

2.   AVM K. Kak, "Impact of Information Technology on Warfare", paper presented at a seminar on Command and Staff Challenges in the 21st Century at Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, April 15, 1998.

3.   Shekhar Gupta, "And the War is led by the Mouse," Indian Express, November 18, 1998.

4.   Indian Navy's Information Warfare bulletin, Infowar Navy, March 1998.

5.   Martin C. Labicki, What is Information Warfare?, (Washington D.C: Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1996).

6.   For details on the types of IW, see Ajay Singh, "Information Warfare: Reshaping Traditional Perceptions", Strategic Analysis, March 1998.

7.   For details of IW weapons, see Maj Gen Yashwant Deva, "National Perspective on Info War", USI Journal, January-March 1998, pp. 60-62.

8.   Indian Navy's Information Warfare bulletin, Infowar Navy, December 1998.

9.   Douglas Waller, "Onward Cyber Soldiers", Time, August 21, 1995, p. 33.

10.   Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski and John J. Garstka, "Network Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future," US Naval Proceedings, January 1998, p. 29.

11.   Ibid., p. 30.

12.   Ajay Singh, "RMA: 4-Dimensional Warfare," Strategic Analysis, April 1998, p. 3.

13.   See "The Emerging Joint Strategy for Information Superiority", Joint Staff, J-6 at

14.   n. 10, pp 33-34.

15.   Ajay Singh, "Time: The New Dimension in War", Joint Forces Quarterly, (Washington D.C: National Defense University, Winter 1995-96), p. 59.

16.   See

17.   Damon Bristow, "Information Warfare Grips China," Pointer, November 1998. (

18.   Eliot A. Cohen, "American View of the Revolution in Military Affairs," Advanced Technology and Future Warfare, November 28, 1996, p 3.

19.   n. 12, p. 1.

20.   M. Ehsan Ahrari, "Chinese Prove to be Attentive Students of Information Warfare," Jane's Intelligence Review, October 1997, p 472.

21.   Bharat Karnad, "Cost Effective Defence: Getting the Priorities Right," Indian Defence Review, vol. 13(1), January-March 1998, p. 19.

22.   Commander William E. Rhode, US Navy, "What is Information Warfare," US Naval Proceedings, February 1998.

23.   n. 9, p. 33.

24.   n. 20, p. 472.

25.   See Executive Summary of Quadrennial Defence Review on electronic mail.

26.   n. 9, p. 32.

27.   Abhay Vaidya, "The Commando and the Computer Nerd," Times of India, December 20, 1998.

28.   n. 3.

29.   n. 25.

Offline Effie Trinket

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Important document from before the 911 false flag:

***RMA: Humans are no more than pieces of a larger military-industrial machine

Offline Satyagraha

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And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40