the fundamental role that information superiority will play in the forces’ ability to prevail over adversaries.4

Focusing on achieving dominance across the range of military operations through the application of new operational concepts, Joint Vision 2010 provides a joint framework of doctrine and programs within which the Services can develop their unique capabilities as they prepare to meet an uncertain and challenging future. The scope and complexity of the challenges and the capabilities required to meet them were projected in a recent Naval Studies Board report (the TFNF—Technology for Future Naval Forces—study;5 see Box 1.1), an effort from which this current study follows naturally.

1.1.2 Network-Centric Operations

The implications of Joint Vision 2010, future naval operational concepts, and the spread of advanced technology and commercial information systems worldwide make it inevitable that joint forces, and particularly forward-deployed naval forces, must move toward network-centric operations. The committee defines such operations as follows: Network-centric operations (NCO) are military operations that exploit state-of-the-art information and networking technology to integrate widely dispersed human decision makers, situational and targeting sensors, and forces and weapons into a highly adaptive, comprehensive system to achieve unprecedented mission effectiveness.

Forward deployment of naval forces that may be widely dispersed geographically, the use of fire and forces massed rapidly from great distances at decisive locations and times, and the dispersed, highly mobile operations of Marine Corps units are examples of future tasks that will place significant demands on networked forces and information superiority. Future naval forces must be supported by a shared, consolidated picture of the situation, distributed collaborative planning, and battle-space control capabilities. In addition, the forces must be capable of coordinating and massing for land attacks and of employing multisensor networking and targeting for undersea warfare and missile defense.

In network-centric operations, the supporting information infrastructure, ideally, will deliver the right information to the right place at the right time to achieve the force objectives. Also, although rules of engagement (ROEs) are


Joint Vision 2010 (p. 16) defines information superiority 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.” Information superiority will therefore require “both offensive and defensive information warfare” capabilities.


Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force, 9 volumes. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement