and demonstration of technological innovations that will enable continuous development of NCW capabilities.
NCW capabilities are highly dependent on information and communications network technologies and are most often associated with conventional warfighting operations. However, the nature of likely future U.S. adversaries has changed. In the next decade, it is unlikely that any other existing military force would take on the U.S. military in a force-on-force conventional war. Although the Army must be prepared for traditional conventional war, the greater likelihood is that potential enemies are going to resort to asymmetrical or irregular approaches so they do not have to directly counter U.S. military technology.
To be fully relevant in the future, NCW capabilities that traditionally have been viewed in terms of large force-on-force operations will need to apply to the activities of small Army units and to interface with small groups of friendly foreign military, paramilitary, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civilian government forces. Future networks must be described not only in terms of military operations, but also in terms of how they can integrate the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of human performance, including understanding the adversary in irregular warfare. In recognition of this, while the traditional focus of Army NSTE on physical networks must continue, it must also support research activities that are on the cutting edge of applying network science to the challenges of asymmetric warfare. In this context, an Army NSTEC may well become the key organization setting the course for S&T in network-centric warfare.
Technologies for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and associated concepts such as situational awareness, are currently the main focus for development of the “network” in NCW. However, these technologies and concepts are only part of the overall picture. The contribution of the human dimension must be properly integrated within the spectrum of C4ISR technologies for the potential of NCW to be fully realized. This necessitates an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that an NSTEC addresses human-intensive issues associated with the function of social and other non-physical networks.
A challenge for the Army is to expand the present emphasis on C4ISR networks to incorporate the full scope of the emerging field of network science. The impending base realignment and closure (BRAC) relocations of research, development, and engineering resources to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland, provides a prime opportunity to do so.
The committee grappled with what functions should be included within the construct for an NSTEC. Clearly, basic and advanced Army research S&T activities are essential,1 but an NSTEC could also support acquisition program