Lucrare dizertatie | Napoleon | Battle Of The Bulge

NATIONAL DEFENCE UNIVERSITY “CAROL I” CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND MULTINATIONAL OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT Advanced Joint Operations Staff Officer

Course AJOSOC

COMMAND AND CONTROL IN THE NETWORK ENVIRONMENT

by Lt. col. Daniel PIRVU,

Monograph Director, Col. Stan Anton

BUCHAREST DECEMBER 2012

TABLE OF CONTENT

ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................................3 1. INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW...............................................................4 2 CASE STUDY..........................................................................................................................6 2.1 FREDERICK THE GREAT..................................................................................................6 2.1.1 THE ESSENCE OF COMMAND .....................................................................................6 2.2 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE ...............................................................................................8 2.2.1 THE ESSENCE OF COMMAND......................................................................................9 2.3 DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER.............................................................................................12 2.3.1 THE ESSENCE OF COMMAND ...................................................................................13 3. NETWORK ENVIRONMENT.............................................................................................. 15 3.1 NETWORK-CENTRIC WARFARE...................................................................................15 3.2 INFORMATION SUPERIORITY......................................................................................16 4. ANALYSIS .............................................................................................................................. 18 5. CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................ 21 BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................................22

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command will always be limited by human attributes and capabilities. Case studies of Frederick the Great. presentation. This study paper asks how contemporary military theorists account for the essence of command in information age theories of warfare. These imperatives include context. coherence and the individual. Command is in essence a mission-oriented human undertaking. the theorists recommend changes to the structure of information age military organizations and changes to the methods for command and control of military forces. The concept of Network-Centric Warfare seeks to utilize information technology and significantly develop the functions of command and control on the battlefield. action. courage. In spite of advances in technology. This paper will argue that a network-centric environment will not determine the spirit of command in war. 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. and will rely on a commander’s creativity and intuition. intellect. Napoleon Bonaparte and Dwight D Eisenhower demonstrate that the essence of command is the dynamic relationship among nine imperatives. performed within the limits of a commander’s personal attributes and guided by a framework of fundamental principles.ABSTRACT Military theorists argue that information technologies will allow for wider and more rapid sharing of information. In order to take advantage of the emerging possibilities offered by information technologies. expertise. 3 . design.

a concept known as ‘Network-Centric Warfare’ has been advanced as a means of transforming information superiority into an advantage on the physical battlefield. and stands as an indirect challenge to the claims of the NCW theorists. p. and sustainable speed of command. describe NCW “as an information superiority-enabled concept of operations that generates increased combat power by networking sensors. 1 2 Albert’s. to blunder about. and how is it likely to affect the operational commander? The following assessment of this concept begins with an explanation of what is meant by ‘information superiority’.1. Other indisputable characteristics of war. In their book. NCW translates information superiority into combat power by effectively connecting informed entities in the battle space. increased speed of command. In the United States. not thinking’’2 and the information advantage in war is not necessarily decisive. and is followed by a description of the essential characteristics of an NCW environment. The concept has been fully approved by the United States Navy. p. self-synchronization. Keegan reveals that while information in war is important. decision makers. INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW Enormous advances in information technology have in recent years enabled the development of increasingly more capable and sophisticated military command and control systems. such as human will and chance tend to have a much greater influence over events and outcomes. John Keegan’s Intelligence in War is also useful in setting the relationship between information.26 3 Ibid. launching blows that do not connect with the target altogether”3. the NCW theorists ’claim that a networked force improves information sharing.55 4 . is Network-Centric Warfare (NCW). Network Centric Warfare p. p. greater lethality. Network Centric Warfare. He disproves the generally deterministic assumptions that the more extended commander’s knowledge are of the situation. On the other hand.33 John Keegan’s Intelligence in War. He concedes that “to make war without the guidance intelligence can give is to strike in the dark. ‘intelligence factors will rarely determine victory’4.302 5 Clausewitz quoted in ‘Clausewitz-A very short introduction’ p. higher tempo of operations. What. Keegan reveals that war is “ultimately about doing. Alberts et al. shared situational awareness enables collaboration. Keegan’s argument is the antithesis of the argument supported by the NCW theorists. increased survivability. and a degree of self synchronization”1 In its fundamental nature. information sharing enhances the quality of information and shared situational awareness. Based on a limited interpretation of command. and shooters to achieve shared awareness. and recognized as a capability that must be achieved. the better his decisions are. and these in turn dramatically increase mission effectiveness’5. then. decision-making and success in battle into perspective. The impact of this highly automated environment is then analyzed by means of its effects on the basic principles and functions of command.277 4 Ibid.

In this view. He wrote that ‘any complex activity. 6 Ibid. friction and danger. The second attribute of military genius is a sensitive and discerning judgment. which includes a ‘skillful intelligence to figure out the truth’ and pertains to the natural uncertainty in war. The analysis of each of the commanders begins with an exploration of the context in their respective times in order to filter out superficial conclusions. p. and to develop those features of command that appear to go beyond any change. By analyzing NCW theory through the lens of command. The sixth is the will to endure prolonged resistance. Heifetz. These features form the essence of command. Clausewitz’s On War discusses command mainly in Chapter Three of Book One titled ‘On Military Genius’.Critics of NCW such as Kott and Watts make strong cases against the theory through the lens of the unchangeable nature of command. if it is to be carried out with any degree of virtuosity calls for appropriate gifts of intellect and temperament’. van Creveld and Keegan all suggest that there is more to command than the simple definitions used by the theorists. The fourth is the presence of mind to deal with the unexpected. Clausewitz. but none may be in conflict with the rest’6. The fifth is the will to overcome the resistance from his organization as the demands of war. but more importantly. this study paper should provide a new approach to the debate on the influence of new information based technologies and the conduct of war. mostly violence and death affecting his soldiers. Clausewitz refers to genius as ‘a very highly developed mental aptitude for a particular occupation’. which he argues exists in two forms .64 5 . and van Creveld and Keegan argue that a superior information position rarely provides a decisive advantage in war. In the next sections the study paper analyze the nature of the commands of Frederick the Great. Clausewitz exemplifies several behaviors and traits that encompass military genius. to help identify subtle similarities and differences that would not have been otherwise evident. the study paper begins with the analysis of Frederick the Great. Last is self-control. in which one or the other ability may predominate. not necessarily a brilliant one. The first is courage. The third is the quality that allows the mind to come out unmarked from the demands placed on it by uncertainty. Clausewitz argues that this combination derives from a special type of mind. Clausewitz refers to this as the combination of an inner light that even in the darkest hour leads to truth (coup d’oeil) and the courage to follow this light (determination). Napoleon Bonaparte and Dwight D Eisenhower in order to expose how the means and character of command changed due to revolution in military affairs. suggesting that the theorists’ narrow interpretation of command might constitute a major defect in NCW theory. ‘Genius consists in a harmonious combination of elements.courage in the face of danger and the courage to accept responsibility for the effects of a commander’s actions on his men.

social and technological constraints of the time.1 FREDERICK THE GREAT “What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?” . combined with a rigid education regime. the son of the Prussian king FrederickWilliam I and Sophia. the German emperor Charles VI died and was succeeded by his daughter Maria Theresa. his reputation as a military leader was known across Europe. the nature of its training. and so much more. and Austria as well as other smaller territories on their borders. When the war ended with the Peace of Hubertushof (15 February 1763). which Prussia had long ruled. he joined with Russia and Austria in the first partition of Poland. a brief campaign won him more territory around Nuremburg. by which he acquired Polish Prussia. He defeated the Austrians at Mollwitz (10 April 1741) and at Chotusitz (17 May 1742). the command system.1 THE ESSENCE OF COMMAND The combination of Frederick’s intellect and a scrupulous education in the art of war.1. enabled him to produce a consistent solution to the strategic problems facing Prussia at the time. Finally. lying between Prussia and Austria. Frederick revived an old claim on Silesia. 2. and marched his army over its borders in December 1740. and the Treaty of Teschen gave him the Franconian principalities. forcing Maria Theresa to cede Upper and Lower Silesia to him by the Peace of Breslau (11 June 1742). Following his father’s death. he acceded to the throne of Prussia on 31 May 1740.Dorothea. This enabled him to join Brandenburg and Pomerania. It was consistent with Frederick’s character and with the political. who inherited Hungary. Frederick acquired more of Silesia and then spent 11 years of peace in introducing radical reforms of the Prussian government’s administration and improving its finances. 6 . which won him more territory from the weakened Austrians.Frederick The Great. in which Frederick took the opportunity to fight the Third Silesian War. His childhood was unhappy since his father insisted on his undergoing strict military training from his earliest years.2 CASE STUDY 2. incorporating a range of factors from the organisation of the army. In 1772. into one territory with Prussia itself. but a comprehensive design. in 1778. In the Second Silesian War (1744–45). In October 1740. (Frederick II) Frederick was born in Berlin on 24 January 1712. The year 1756 saw the start of the Seven Years War in Europe. Bohemia. north of Bavaria. along with his particular position as both monarch and commander in chief. daughter of George I of England. This solution was not simply strategy in the sense of deciding what actions to take.

and maintaining high levels of discipline and training. domestic political circumstances. and commander’s personal desires and ambitions are inseparable from the function of command.Frederick was also a man of action. While it is clear that thought preceded action and decision. but also establishing and projecting an inspirational personality. These insights form a hypothesis as to the essence of command. action was the dominant element of Frederick’s command. culture. In Frederick’s case action was a continuum. commander’s personality. An analysis of Napoleon – a very different commander in his own unique circumstances – should strengthen. Frederick reveals the imperative of context. All these things existed primarily in the realm of action rather than thought. acting against an enemy before and during battle. motivating and inspiring soldiers. the nature of international relations. refine or disprove this hypothesis or clarify aspects of Frederick that might not seem to be significant in isolation. 7 . they provide a questioning foundation for making any strong conclusions about the essence of command. Given that the basis of these insights is the analysis of just one commander. Factors such as the causes of war. technology. Frederick possessed extraordinary daring in order to act in light of the uncertainty and risk intrinsic to war.

where future great generals would be shaped by his influence and legacy. Napoleon led eleven campaigns and sixty battles. Napoleon had a humble start in life given that his family originated in provincial Corsica. he made himself emperor of France (1804). In a few short years. He took Enlightenment military ideas such as concentrating artillery. his military abilities and accomplishments were studied widely at West Point. universal conscription. At one time or another. I did not learn anything from any one of them that I did not already know at the beginning” -Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) is considered the first modern military general for many reasons. His subsequent expeditions to Italy and Egypt made him famous and loved throughout France. Even Arthur. and innovative organization (including the use of divisions and corps) and ingeniously combined them to produce one of the most formidable military machines of all time. Historians still debate whether he represented the culmination of the French Revolution or whether he ended up perverting the ideals of the Revolution. After getting an elite military education in France. First. Invasions of Spain (1807) and Russia (1812) overextended the empire and led directly to Napoleon’s defeat in 1814. but his attempt failed when he lost the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon wisely took advantage of the earlier revolutions in military affairs that had taken place under the old regime and the French Revolution. Third. Napoleon’s tactical and operational wisdom on the field of battle was superb. conceded that Napoleon as a leader was worth forty thousand men on the battlefield. Victories at Austerlitz (1805) and Jena-Auerstedt (1806) gave him mastery over central Europe and Germany. In particular. The French Revolution opened up careers to ambitious young men such as Napoleon based on merit. 8 . The use of divisions.2 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE "I have fought 60 battles in my life. Duke of Wellington. Second. Napoleon was a great synthesizer. Militarily. He would attempt to return to power in 1815. meritocracy in promotions. Napoleon made his name by helping to retake Toulon from the British. massed artillery attacks. his military campaigns inspired von Clausewitz’s seminal treatise On War. and nationalism to motivate soldiers had all been done before in some fashion. we will see how Napoleon became the model and inspiration for successive generations of American and European generals. which has influenced great generals and warfare ever since. Napoleon defeated all his enemies at least once except for Great Britain.2. His attempt to defeat the British by excluding English trade with continental Europe ended in failure. he came of age at the very dawn of modern military history (marked by the French Revolution and industrial revolutions).

and others will be studied for good reason at military academies for years to come. for example. Napoleon’s primary means were the sub-division of his organization. These tactics brought him many immortal battlefield successes. A typical Napoleonic battle would start with skirmishers disorganizing the opponent. cavalry would sweep the field to deliver the coup de grace and pursue the vanquished army. Maintaining coherence is in large measure a function of mitigating the effects of friction. and the greater freedom he granted to his subordinates to use their initiative. nor the emphasis given to mass and battles of annihilation. Then. What seems to matter is that all the decisions are internally logical. Napoleon’s problems and their solutions incorporated so many variables that neither the problems nor the solutions could be broken down into sub-elements and analysed disjointedly. Napoleon would then ideally concentrate his artillery on the opponent’s perceived weak point.Napoleon’s military genius was to synthesize the best military thinking of the day to create the superb Grand Armee. and therefore. and is perhaps as much a part of any strategic or operational problem as it is a solution. to diminish its effects. tactics. for instance. yet this decentralized execution meant that Napoleon was unable to exercise the same degree of control over his army as Frederick was able to do. The importance of coherence suggests that context is also in some way related to the essence of command. military organizations and other features of their command were in large measure designed to be compatible with friction. the choice to decentralize the execution of operations was a means of addressing the problems presented by friction (among others). Wagram. nor was the use of the assault column. Napoleon developed a coherent solution. and in turn influences. and while not optimal. for example. Napoleon’s inimitably personalised command system. they did so in very different ways. and nor were Napoleon’s decisions made in the heat of battle. Napoleon was both oligarch and military commander.2. Like Frederick. Similarly. Napoleon’s problems were ill defined and resembling Frederick. Friedland. As a result. a multitude of factors. but they also provide constraints. and are relevant to the variable conditions presented at the time. Both Napoleon’s and Frederick’s command systems.1 THE ESSENCE OF COMMAND Napoleon confronted very different constraints than Frederick and a unique strategic problem. stratagems. Finally. 9 . was not a deliberate choice to address a specific problem. Austerlitz. infantry attacks would be focused on this same weak point. However. 2. create their own unique set of advantages and solutions. command is influenced by. sub-divide his force and expect it to function as Napoleon’s did. the essence of command is about establishing and maintaining internal and external coherence in the face of the unique and dynamic conditions of campaigns and battles. nor was the levee en masse. Therefore. In Napoleon’s case. were at least applicable to their particular context. Borodino. Auerstedt. Command systems. Jena. These differences do not really matter because the choices were relevant to the problems confronting the two commanders. Frederick could not.

Napoleon’s genius lay in the realm of action. Both Frederick and Napoleon had powerful minds. command system. Consequently. It is difficult to disregard the apparent linkage between intelligence and effective command. political and strategic factors. maintained the internal unity and consistency of his forces when control had largely been lost. as they are to the judgment of the commander in battle. Processing information. the analysis reveals that personal example often speaks more than words. whereas Napoleon’s was superior during battle. discipline. a strong courage and action somehow relate to the essence of command. The implication is that command in battle is not separate from command before battle. and to give their possible sacrifice meaning. and coordinating and controlling forces must therefore be a lesser function. but command is above all a practical rather than a theoretical. Perhaps the key aspect of this particular genius was Napoleon’s ability to grasp rapidly the essentials of a highly fluid situation. To this end. character and strategy required a powerful mind. Therefore. making decisions. Perhaps. He was able to hold in his mind an extraordinary array of information on many things both civil and military. culture and technology. inspiring to action. 10 . and then design a sound solution comprising among other things organization. Napoleon’s military organization and command system. judgment and decision-making are therefore necessary. as well as the way he exercised control of his forces in battle. the essence of command must have something to do with intellect. despite the fact his military instrument changed little during his time. his genius was able to carry him on to meet with continued success even during the years of decline.Napoleon understood the nature of friction and developed solutions that were congruent with it and other social. explaining to soldiers why they are risking their lives. The command system is therefore most useful to a commander if it allows him to fulfill the very practical functions of persuading. Frederick did this too. The ability to understand the multitude of factors that confronted both Frederick and Napoleon. The command system’s ability to support the commander in acquiring. it is a particular sort of intellect that might be different for each commander. training. the art of providing some structure to something that is in reality without structure. Therefore. conceptual or philosophical thing. command is. the imperatives of personal example. psychology. his circumstances led him to emphasize training. Given the analysis so far suggests that command is essentially an exercise in design. Both Frederick and Napoleon seem to have developed unique but coherent approaches to warfare that alleviated the requirement for perfect understanding of events and detailed control of one’s own forces. Frederick’s coup d’oeil was apparent prior to battle. Napoleon in particular had an extraordinary capacity to hold and manipulate a complex range of things in his mind all at once. cultural. Design and coherence might therefore be elements of the essence of command. however. drill and positional advantage in order to mitigate the effects of friction. The things that provide structure and coherence in the most chaotic of circumstances are as much related to organization. morale. processing and disseminating information. in many ways.

In the next section. therefore. intellect together with expertise might be two of the factors that constitute the essence of command. The analysis of Eisenhower will limit off the search for an essence of command and provide the vehicle for synthesis of the analysis of all three commanders.For that reason. Eisenhower’s circumstances are again unique. the analysis may disprove some of the hypotheses formed so far. 11 . an analysis of Eisenhower should provide further amplification and refinement of what is developing into a clearer picture of the essence of command.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Eisenhower was prepared to take full responsibility for the action. The ultimate goal was to cross the Ruhr River and encircle remaining German forces in the climactic battle for Germany. Eisenhower had to use his diplomatic skills to keep the Allied coalition together. Eisenhower entered West Point as an alternate candidate in 1911.2. however. Eisenhower believed in the need to focus on Germany first even though public opinion was focused with anger on Japan. He followed up this successful operation with the invasion of Sicily and the Italian peninsula in 1943. Marshall named Eisenhower chief of plans and operations and then. Had the invasion failed. Eisenhower envisaged a broad-front strategy in France against the German armies. Eisenhower said of his service with MacArthur: ‘I studied dramatics under him for five years in D. Eisenhower led an important expedition across the United States to test American military mobility to show the nation that good roads were a military as well as civilian necessity in the age of the automobile. Eisenhower America’s success in World War II depended to a great extent upon Allied coordination and cooperation. and four years in the Philippines.3 DWIGHT D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) provided the leadership that ensured the Allied powers cooperated better than did the counterparts in the Axis powers. Dwight D. commander of the European Theater of Operations. and soon Allied armies were racing to Germany until stopped by changing weather and supply problems.’ His able leadership role in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941 brought him to the attention of Army Chief of Staff. In February 1944. His diplomatic and political skills were honed to a fine edge during his early military career and were instrumental in keeping the grand alliance together. Roosevelt appointed Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion” -Dwight D. After growing up in humble circumstances on the Kansas prairie. After the war in 1919. General George Marshall (1880–1959).C. EISENHOWER “The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first. General Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) noticed the talents of Eisenhower and employed him as a special assistant in the Philippines. Eisenhower faced one of his greatest challenges when Hitler launched his Ardennes offensive codenamed ‘Watch on the Rhine’ (later known as the Battle of the Bulge) on 12 . Eisenhower oversaw American forces as they invaded the north African territory of the Vichy French. The invasion succeeded. His greatest challenge lay in preparing for the D-Day invasion of German-controlled France in June 1944. In addition to grand strategy. in June of 1942. President Franklin D.

it also changed warfare such that Eisenhower’s capacity to be seen and heard by his soldiers was diminished. In 1953. Determination and resilience were imperative for Eisenhower. During his presidency. Matthews . as too were a superior intellect and expertise. While technology provided new efficient means of communication. The Germans lost 100. 1944. Using surprise. a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. Therefore. Despite Eisenhower’s unavoidable disconnection from his armies because of their scale and complexity. and bad weather that kept Allied air power grounded. When the weather cleared on December 22. deception.000 men and gravely weakened their defenses before the coming Allied offensives in the spring of 1945. His problems were manifold. he stated. Churchill. Eisenhower maintained his calm and ordered Patton’s Third Army to swing north into the southern portion of the bulge. Patton would require Eisenhower’s personal attention on more than one occasion. 7 Harry S.1 THE ESSENCE OF COMMAND Despite major changes to the conduct of war in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He was mature enough as a soldier to understand the horror of war and the need to avoid another world war in the nuclear age. Three German armies were tasked to divide the British and American armies and deny Antwerp as a source of supply for the Allied armies.116 13 . he oversaw the beginnings of the American interstate highway system (an undertaking inspired in part by his participation in the first Transcontinental Motor Convoy in 1919). the Germans made significant initial gains in the offensive. in the final sense. Eisenhower’s leadership style was to delegate to qualified commanders and allow them to do their job without micromanaging. every rocket fired signifies. 2. and Stalin had stipulated at the Yalta Conference (February 1945) that Berlin would be turned over to the Russians at the end of the war anyway. ‘.The Art of Command. volatile generals such as British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and United States General George S. p. every gun that is made. Laver and Jeffrey J. Allied air power began to wear down the Wehrmacht.December 16. He even warned of the dangers that a permanent ‘military industrial complex’ posed to democracy in America at the close of his presidency in 1961.3. However. the design of a sophisticated solution that was congruent with his unique context was fundamental. which was Eisenhower as already suffering because of bad logistics. His combination of military and diplomatic skill carried Eisenhower to the presidency of the United States in 1952. . every warship launched. since Roosevelt. Eisenhower was determined to focus on military objectives even when being pressured to focus on political objectives by Winston Churchill. Eisenhower’s command challenges were of the same kind experienced by Frederick and Napoleon. those who are cold and are not clothed’7. the same things mattered. . One example of this was that he thought it pointless to pursue capturing Berlin.

and therefore. Moreover. In the previous section. design is of the essence and requires a superior and specific sort of intellect.Realizing the imperative of presentation. there is an imperative for resilience or nerve. as well as the steady improvement of Eisenhower and his armies. taking the three case studies together. These efforts. there is an imperative for study or expertise. this study paper tentatively put forward eight themes as a hypothesis for an essence of command. there is an imperative for presentation and theatre. the centrality and critical importance of the commander in each context suggests that there is a ninth imperative: command is inherently of the individual. These themes are: context is key. and eliciting and maintaining the coherence of the force in relation to its context is fundamental. 14 . Eisenhower invested considerable energy to working around the limitations of his command system. Eisenhower seems to confirm that these eight themes do constitute the essence of command. there is an imperative for action. were largely products of trial and error. action.

81 Re-conceptualizing command and control. In particular. 3-6 15 . It's commander centric.’9 They persuasively claim that the human attributes essential for command consist of three principal dimensions: competency. -Gen Petraeus Evaluating the impact of network environment on command is difficult because. Command in War. this paper will then turn to an analysis of the impact of NCW on his ability to exercise command. Canadian Military Journal Spring 2002. authority. 3. Ross Pigeau and Carol McCann on the concepts of command and control. correct a term that I have never felt was accurate. where he argues that advances in information technology are causing military operations to shift from platform-centric warfare to network-centric warfare. as observed by Martin Van Creveld. The emerging concept of NCW was supposed to lead to the development of a doctrine that describes how the military should organize itself to take advantage of provided information superiority in order to conduct operations in the physical space. Vice-Admiral Arthur Cebrowski from the US Navy described the NCW concept in his seminal article. They recommend that all new command and control systems should be assessed for effects on these components. and responsibility. Accepting this model as a valid point of departure. this paper begins with an assessment of the effects of a network environment on the commander by analyzing its impact on these three human attributes. NETWORK ENVIRONMENT “First. command is ‘so intimately bound up with numerous other factors that shape war. just with respect. McCann and Pigeau define command as ‘the creative expression of human will necessary to accomplish a mission. Warfare is not network centric. this paper attempts to gain insight of the impact of network environment on command drawing from the work of the Canadian analysts Dr.’8 While accepting the complexity of command as noted by Van Creveld.3. p. 8 9 Maritn Van Creveld. after the examination of the impact of Network Centric Warfare (NCW) on a commander’s attributes. the pronunciation of one or more ‘master principles’ that should govern its structure and the way it operates is impossible. And that commander is enabled by networks”. ‘Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future’. if I could. p.1 NETWORK-CENTRIC WARFARE Network-Centric Warfare represents the next step in the evolution of military thinking about Information Technology (IT) and its impact on the conduct of operations. Information Operations doctrine has been limited to a depiction of how to conduct offensive and defensive action in cyberspace to gain information superiority.

Both are a means to an end.2 INFORMATION SUPERIORITY In the industrialized world. Sophisticated computer and communication systems are now at the center of every aspect of traditional military operations. The relatively low cost of computers and software makes it possible to extend the capabilities to users at all levels of the organization. One seeks to control airspace. intelligence. Determined by a progression of amazing advances in the civilian sector. All of this can be achieved only by realizing the full potential of the information revolution.’10 This capability is therefore similar to air superiority. p. sensor and engagement grids. 8 16 . the rate of development and integration of IT systems into military affairs is not likely to reduce. Sensor grids collect data from dispersed sensors and rapidly generate battle-space awareness that is shared at all levels of operation. defense agencies and the information security industry have studied the impact of IW on military and civilian organizations with a view to determining how best to protect critical infrastructure. the second half of the 20th century saw exponential growth in reliance on IT. focused logistics. transport and logistics. Engagement grids link together lethal and nonlethal weapon systems and capitalize on this situational awareness to optimize the employment of firepower. 3.In his article. The term ‘Information Warfare’ was first used in the 1970s. Admiral Cebrowski describes the structural model required to carry out NCW. with the result that all functions. and full dimensional protection’. 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. regardless of significance. consisting of information. as ‘the capability to collect. all elements 10 Joint Vision 2020. Since that time. especially command and control. resulting in a focus on the massing of effects rather than the massing of forces. and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary’s ability to do the same. Without air superiority. can be supported by this technology. Joint Vision 2020 defines Information superiority. but it was not until the 1990s that the US Department of Defense revealed the existence of command and control warfare concepts as a subset of the broader field of IW. and both are appreciated for their ability to affect the achievement of military objectives. The result of this profound dependence on IT by military and civilian organizations creates new vulnerabilities that may be exploited in conflict and naturally leads to the concept of ‘Information Warfare’ (IW). while the other aims to dominate cyberspace. process. precision engagement. The role of IT as the catalyst of the transformation is expressed by the idea of ‘full spectrum dominance’– which will be achieved during the application of ‘dominant maneuver.

Similarly. 17 . Finally. all elements of a joint force are subject to interference and vulnerable by the fact that the theatre of operation in cyberspace is not geographically constrained. from peace to war. attacks in cyberspace will be able to reach civilian and military targets across the globe at the speed of light. In this. Similarly. view ‘Information operations’ has been defined as actions taken across the full spectrum. to affect adversary information and information systems while defending one’s own information systems. ‘Information superiority’ is the outcome of successful information operations where the flow of information is enabled for friendly forces and denied to the enemy. If the global information grid is penetrated.of a joint force are vulnerable to air attack. without information superiority. ‘Information warfare’ is information operations conducted during time of crisis or conflict.

and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary‘s ability to do the same. The case studies conclude that there is more to command than the narrow take of the theorists. Network Centric Warfare. The analysis of the literature of NCW theory and command suggests that the NCW theorists built their theory from a narrow concept of command. p. and reduced risk. improved speed of command. which they anticipate will deliver an enormous improvement in understanding and planning12. Self-synchronization – is perhaps the ultimate in achieving increased tempo and responsiveness. perceptions or concepts when they are working together toward a common purpose and how they might achieve that purpose efficiently and effectively. and collaboration made possible by new information age technologies represent a reduction in the fog and friction of war. Synchronization is the ‘meaningful arrangement of things or effects in time and space’13. NCW theorists argue that the shared awareness. 145 18 . we will examine these four primary suppositions of NCW theory through the lens of the essence of command. In the next pages. It is the operational advantage derived from the ability to collect. process.112 14 Ibid. p. ANALYSIS This section evaluates the core elements of NCW theory through the lens of the essence of command in order to reveal the flaws in NCW theory and ascertain the strength of the theorists claims. 65 13 Ibid. Operations no longer have to rely on top-down. Collaboration – involves actors actively sharing data. Alberts. knowledge. Shared awareness is the idea of all relevant actors having a common understanding of a particular circumstance. Information superiority– is the achievement of a superior information position. information superiority. Self-synchronization is a mode of interaction between two or more entities. they set the conditions for the attainment of selfsynchronization. understanding of the commander‘s intent. Self-synchronization is made possible because of the ability to establish and maintain a high degree of situational awareness at all levels of command. p. NCW is based upon the experiences of organizations that have successfully adapted to the changing nature of their competitive spaces in the Information Age. Shared awareness – is a state that exists in the cognitive domain when two or more entities are able to develop a similar awareness of a situation. better decisions. information. 57-68 Ibid. p.4. command-directed synchronization. Self-synchronization is synchronization achieved by lower-level decision makers ‘guided only by their training. Alberts argue that information superiority is a comparative or relative concept analogous to air superiority in that its value lies in its potential to enable military outcomes11. Each element of the force can ensure that their unique operating rhythm is in tune with the 11 12 David S. Together. and their awareness of the situation in relevant portions of the battle space’14. Alberts contend that information systems will allow for greater collaboration.

less equipment. or Eisenhower. the NCW environment will not change the fact that command is a mission-oriented human endeavor performed within the limits of a commander’s personal attributes. NCW promises the ability to have greater effect with fewer troops. NCW provides a clear tactical advantage. According to political scientist Colin Gray. a failure to design network systems in this manner will seriously 19 . and managerial approaches to warfare often displace creativity. As previously argued. translating this tactical advantage and tactical success into strategic success appears to be no easier for contemporary commanders than it was for Frederick. Partially networked forces appear to possess an overwhelming tactical advantage over their enemies in most engagements and battles. success is secured by the nation that wins the final combat in a conflict. foreknowledge. but any attempt to optimize a force to maximize this advantage is likely to create a highly adapted organization that is difficult to command effectively and vulnerable to being made irrelevant by a change in context. the processing and assimilation of large amounts of data can overstress the intellectual competency of commanders. two features of NCW have the potential of significantly affecting the attributes of competency and authority. the main danger in the years ahead is that an armed force – will be so committed to their own network-centric transformation that they fail to recognize the true character of potentially effective offsetting revolutionary change elsewhere. so the enemy is thus denied any operational pause and is continuously kept off balance. and less sacrifice. Any significant adaptation to NCW (particularly a flattening of the organization‘s hierarchy) can only lead to greater centralized control and a greater dependence on information for effective execution of operations. or command speed can guarantee success. in which highly methodical. not the opening round. Arguably. This promise is particularly attractive to contemporary armies. eliminates the need for a force-wide friendly decision cycle. The translation of strategic objectives into tactical actions is an art that lies in the realm of action for which no amount of information. This. This paper assumes that system designers will be successful in their goal of filtering the data and providing commanders with adequate decisionsupport tools. tactical-minded. However. David Petreaus‘achievements in Iraq seem to point to the continued importance of the commander and the transcendence of the essence of command.commander’s intent and battle rhythm. Napoleon. recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan seems to confirm the conclusions above. The recent tendencies to view war in terms of cause and effect relationships (eg. in theory. While an initial advantage is enormous. First. collaboration.EBAO) to use the highly methodical and pseudo-scientific targeting process for setting the course for future operations and the predominance of staff driven decision-making processes exemplifies these approaches. Although it is too early to draw any firm conclusions. even in the many cases where their enemies hold the initiative. However.

the essence of command is unchanged. while the new technology may alter the environment to the point that personal attributes are affected. The technology will indeed bring a new set of variables to the command equation that must be solved by commanders. However. Command in War.’15 The technological component of war can never fully account for the dynamic interaction of human beings and ‘war will remain predominantly an art. and judgment’16 Finally. p. the effectiveness of commanders can be diminished through a loss in personal authority in situations where a commander’s questionable judgment is quickly disseminated across the information grid for all to see. ‘Far from determining the essence of command. the central fact remains that command potential and effectiveness are limited by the personal attributes of the commander. and will continue to be dependant on a commander’s experience and intuition. communication and information processing technology merely constitutes one part of the general environment in which command operates. Second. decision making will continue to be the province of commanders. In the words of Martin van Creveld.constrain any potential advantage of a NCW environment. p. 222 20 . creativity. infused with human will. 15 16 Martin Van Creveld. In this respect at least. then.126 Ibid. as any increase in awareness will be limited by the human ability to process information. The NCW environment will not determine the essence of command in war.

It does not. the potential falls far short of the promise. CONCLUSION There is a correlation between command systems and warfare. it is a flawed theory of warfare. However. armies would accumulate a better return on investment by giving new and greater emphasis to the selection and education of future operational and strategic level commanders founded in an understanding of the imperatives of command. which is okay as long as the theory also accounts for the essence of command. NCW theory derives from a very narrow view of command based on transient command systems to the virtual exclusion of the enduring essence of command. Finally.5. 21 . Therefore. Emerging technologies facilitate better cooperation between widely distributed units with loosely defined command and control relationships. The nature of warfare changes and evolves. By anchoring their theories to a narrow definition of command. The recommendation has no grounding in the essence of command. Similarly. the theorists are able to promise revolutionary changes and decisive advantages in warfare. Emerging technologies allow a soldier to acquire a target more rapidly and enable him to employ a capability beyond his primary weapon system to destroy it. rather than optimizing a force for NCW. Therefore. and between the essence of command and the nature of war. yet there is little to suggest that the emerging technologies have changed operational art or the formulation of strategy in any significant way. whereas the nature of war does not. whereas the essence of command does not. when viewed through the lens of a more robust model of command. NCW is certainly an emerging theory of warfare. it is not surprising that emerging information technologies have already changed the tactics of many armies. Western military professionals should take caution when heeding the contemporary military theorist’s recommendation that militaries should undergo radical change in order to exploit the opportunities provided by emerging information technologies. command systems change and evolve.

2004. Polelle. and the Nature of War. 11. 2000. Eighth Impression edition. Harvard University Press.BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Connecticut . Command. Matthews. The changing face of the Batle. University press. David S. Oxford University Press. Command in War. Washington University Press. Harry S. The University Press of Kentucky. 2010. John Keegan. Legacy of Arthur Cebrowski and network centric warfare. Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future. Martin Van Creveld. Christopher R Smith. 2004. Cassel & Co. Command and Control . 2008. James R.London. 3. Blaker. 2009 22 . Transforming Military Force. 2004 10. In Proceedings. 7. 1987. SAMS. The Art of Command. Network Centric Warfare. Mark R.Great Military Leaders from Washington to the Twenty-First Century. Network Centric Warfare: Command and the nature of war. Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda . 2007. 8. 2. Alberts. Westport. Vice Admiral Arthur K. 6. 9. Cebrowski. 5. 2008 4. Clausewitz-A very short introduction. Laver and Jeffrey J. 2008. Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority. Bryan Perrett.

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