as viewed by the integrated warfare architecture (IWAR) assessment process, are maritime dominance, deterrence, air dominance, and power projection—see Figure 1.2 in Chapter 1.) Further, it focused on the naval forces’ assets that interact over significant distances within rapid tactical time lines: the system of commanders and decision aids (tactical information processing); sensors and navigation; and forces and weapons. The committee believes that one or more coherent system designs are needed for NCO in each of these areas, although some systems may share components. Because distribution of components over space is central to NCO, the committee did not examine integration of assets located on a single platform.
It is probably fair to say that the current broad interest in NCO was stimulated initially by the cooperative engagement capability (CEC) in air defense. The CEC (Figure 3.1) provides a robust information infrastructure, the data distribution system, that interconnects sensors at the radar return level. This information sharing permits a level of detection and tracking that can provide detailed engagement control. Weapons can be launched at targets the launcher cannot see, on the basis of shared tracking and target/weapon assignment algorithms. Because its embodiment is dispersed assets fighting as a coherent whole, the CEC network has been called a virtual capital ship by some.