Finding 4-4. A gap exists between currently available knowledge about networks and the knowledge required to characterize, design, and operate the complex global physical, information, biological, and social networks on which the well-being of our citizens has come to depend.
Closing this gap is an urgent matter, because society has become dependent on the reliable, robust operation of complex global communication, information, transportation, power, and business networks. The disruption or exploitation of these networks by adversarial social networks of terrorists or criminals is a demonstrated threat, making an investment in network science not only strategically sound but also politically urgent.
Finding 4-5. Advances in network science can address the threats of greatest importance to the nation’s security.
In summary, the committee finds that although there is not universal agreement on what network science is today, there is an emerging consensus on what it can become tomorrow. Moreover, there is a pressing demand for the fundamental knowledge that can be expected to emanate from such a science. Thus, network science is positioned as an emerging new field of investigation at the beginning of its growth curve and of compelling national interest and one that the Army has a unique opportunity to nucleate. In Chapters 5 and 6, the committee turns to an exposition of the results of its research on the content, status, and challenges of this emerging field. Then, in Chapter 7, it articulates how the Army can create value by nucleating the new field and supporting its growth.
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