Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Value of Information Superiority To The Decision Maker Is Not Uniform

The importance of information superiority has been emphasized as a critical capability that future joint forces must be able to achieve. No longer simply a future concept, it is being officially defined and incorporated in doctrinal publications like Joint Publication 3-13, "Information Operations." Unfortunately, our ability to effectively measure its contribution relative to other battlefield systems remains limited. This research focuses on exploring the limits of the contributions that information superiority can make, examining the sensitivity of information superiority to varying information quality, and comparing those contributions with other contributing factors to battlefield results. Furthermore, an effort is made to identify some of the risks associated with using information superiority as a force multiplier.

The value of information superiority is not uniform, but is strongly influenced by force ratio and force size. This does not suggest that information superiority has no value; on the contrary, we measured the added value in this study. However, it does suggest the possibility that our zeal for information superiority should be tempered by the fact that force size plays a significant role as well.

There are “knees in the curve” at both ends of the force size spectrum.

First, force size must be increased to a certain level before information superiority can be utilized to its maximum extent. Second, once a certain force level is reached, information superiority begins to decrease in value. This is another reminder of the importance of striking the balance between sensor and shooter and why this area of research is so important.

Additionally, this relationship suggests that information capabilities should not be viewed as a simple add-on to force capability, but that the values of force size and information are dependent on one another. Thus, force development must incorporate and evaluate the combined capabilities of information systems and combat equipment, and not assess these capabilities individually.


John B. Jackson, III

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