Military leaders and scholars alike debate the existence of a revolution in military affairs (RMA) based on information technology. This thesis will show that the Information RMA not only exists, but will also reshape how we plan, operate, educate, organize, train, and equip forces for the 21st century.
This thesis introduces the Communication Technology (CommTech) Model to explain how communication technologies affect organizations, leadership styles, and decision-making processes. Due to the growth in networking enterprises, leaders will have to relinquish their tight, centralized control over subordinates. Instead, they will have to perfect their use of softer power skills such as influence and trust as they embrace decentralized decision-making.
Network Centric Warfare, Self-Synchronization, and Network Enabled Operations are concepts that provide the framework for integrating information technology into the battlespace. The debate that drives centralized versus decentralized control in network operations is analyzed with respect to the CommTech Model. A new term called Operational Trust is introduced and developed, identifying ways to make it easier to build trust among network entities.
Finally, the thesis focuses on what leaders need to do to shape network culture for effective operations.
KEY LEARNING: To maintain control of subordinates, some commanders may be tempted to control the flow of information. However, information denial is unrealistic when redundant multi-path networks are formed, especially when the Sailor depends on the network to accomplish his mission. There will always be ways around roadblocks on the information superhighway. With access to information, subordinates will be better informed than past generations were. This leads to better decisions and ideas from younger people. When they want their ideas heard, they can disseminate them in many more directions than just the chain of command. With the internet, everybody has access to a soapbox.
NETWORK CENTRIC WARFARE
Nicole Ilene Blatt