Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / New in the military / Articles
On the intensification of work in the United States on the application of the concept of "network war"
Material posted: -Publication date: 16-11-2002

Operation to combat international terrorism in the United States are largely a test site for a radically new operational concept for the conduct of warfare, known as "network war" (network-centric warfare).

The revitalization of the work of the Ministry of defense in this direction is the fact that in recent years sharply increased interest in the implementation of the project of creating a global information network of the Ministry of defense, known as project Defense Information Grid, which koordiniruyutsya Agency information systems of the Ministry of defense (DISA). The global information network of the Ministry of defence – the basis of the reference of "network war".

August 27, 2001, the new assistant Secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence John. Stenbit in one of the interviews again focused attention on the urgent need for the development of the concept of "network war". The promotion of this concept he called the key priority activities at his post.

From September to October 2001, the theme of "network war" one way or another was discussed at almost all conferences and seminars held by experts of the Ministry of defense.

Along with this only in the last few years the analysis of the various aspects of this operational concept is dedicated to a number of reports of RAND Corporation. Among them we should particularly note the following: MR-789, The Advent of Netwar; MR-880, In Athena's Camp Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age; MR-989, Countering the New Terrorism; MR-994, The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico; MR-1016, Strategic Appraisal: The Changing Role of Information in Warfare; MR-1025, Future Warfare Scenarios and Asymmetric Threats; MR-1382, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy; MR-1405, Trends in Outside Support for Insurgent Movements.

This direction in the development of operational art was the basis of the concept of building the armed forces of the United States "joint vision 2010" ("Joint Vision 2010") and linked to the transformation of views on the nature of the threats in the new century.

According to several American military experts, a new look at the threats of the XXI century is that in the future the main threat will come not from regular armies of different countries, and from various terrorist, criminal and other organizations, including non-state parties which United in certain network structures. Such organizations do not have a clear hierarchical structure of authority, often do not have a unified leadership, coordinate their activities with use of global communications. The distinctive feature of such structures is the presence of a single strategic goal and the lack of clear planning at the tactical level. Examples of such structures is most of the existing terrorist organizations (e.g. al Qaeda), drug cartels and organizations the "anti-globalists". To designate such structures appeared a special term "segmented, polycentric, ideologically integrated network" (Segmented, Polycentric, Ideologically integrated Network, SPIN).

In terms of the impact of such threats change the role and place of armed forces. Increasingly the emphasis is on conducting non-military operations (Operation Other Then War), which requires close interaction with non-state organizations and structures.

For the organization of the armed forces in terms of exposure to new threats and developed the operational concept of network war. According to its authors, network warfare, or net war (Network Centric Warfare) is the best term proposed to date to describe the way the organization and conduct of warfare in the information age. As noted by one of the senior officers of the U.S. Navy, is "fundamentally different from the traditional war-focused on certain weapons (tanks, planes, etc.), the concept of affecting the very essence of operational art".

The authors define NCW as an operational concept based on information superiority and allowing you to achieve increased combat power of the troops by focusing on a network of sensors, headquarters and Executive offices. This gives the opportunity to achieve widespread awareness, to increase the speed of bringing orders, higher tempo of operations, greater damaging effect, greater survivability and a degree of mode self-locking. In essence, NCW translates information superiority into combat power, effectively linking smart objects in a common information space of the theater of operations.

The main task of the developers of this concept is to offer military leadership theoretical and operational basis for the organization of counter in the new environment.

The basis of the concept comes from the experience of fighting received by the U.S. army during participation in the conflict. First and foremost is the war against guerrillas in Vietnam, in Somalia, in Bosnia, and also generalization of experience of fighting Soviet and Russian army in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

A key feature is the transformation of the concept of the battlefield (battlefield) to the concept of space combat (battlespace) in which in addition to traditional goals to defeat conventional weapons are also included and the objectives behind the virtual sphere: emotions, perception and psyche of the enemy.

Exposure to new classes of targets is achieved by closely integrating network structures of the Ministry of defence and network structures of civil society.

There are a few key concepts defining the differences between the "network war" from war traditional. The first key concept is to use a geographically distributed force. As experts point out previously due to various kinds of restrictions it was necessary that the units and elements of logistics are from the same area in close proximity to the enemy or to defend the object. The new concept removes these limitations.

The second key concept is that the forces involved in the "network war" vysokoselektivnye. Using the knowledge gained from comprehensive monitoring of the battle space and an expanded understanding of the intentions of command, these forces will be capable of mode self-locking activities to be more effective with Autonomous actions.

The third key concept is the existence of effective communication among the objects in the battle space. This gives the possibility of geographically distributed objects holds a joint action, as well as dynamically allocate responsibility and all the work to adapt to the situation.

As noted above, the basis of the new concept is an information network (The Grid). Furthermore, this network consists of three subnets: the subnet of sensors), the subnet nodes, the decision-maker and the Executive of subnet nodes.

All three subnets include the units working both with real and with virtual objects. So the subnet in the touch sensors themselves can be passive and active, and can be located in both real and virtual combat space. The same applies to the subnet of the Executive nodes. It includes both the traditional means of destruction (tanks, planes, ships, etc.) and means of influencing the target in the virtual space: the media, computer viruses etc.

Tags: threat

RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security