Document Created: 23 August 2007
Air & Space Power Journal Fall 2007
Battle-Wise: Seeking Time-Information Superiority in Networked Warfare by David C. Gompert, Irving Lachow, and Justin Perkins. Center for Technology and National Security Policy (http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/contact.html), National Defense University, 300 5th Avenue SW, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC 20319, 2006, 174 pages, $15.00 (softcover). Available online at http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/pubs/B-W _BOOK.pdf.
Just as the airplane dramatically changed warfare, so now will information technology. The ability to integrate forces and provide limitless information to the war fighter will forever change how we think and how we fight. But according to Linton Wells II, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integrations, “To realize the revolutionary potential of the network, several factors need to evolve together. These include doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership, personnel, and facilities” (p. 165). Although most of the current focus is on the technology of network-centric warfare, an aspect that will improve as technology evolves, Battle-Wise concentrates on the integral foundations of network-centric warfare, doctrine, training, and people, which will revolutionize the way we fight.
Because all of our current potential adversaries already use networking information, the authors make the novel assertion that, to stay ahead, we must realize that the key is not technology but the cognitive capabilities of the people who use it: “Improving decisionmaking—creating battle-wise superiority—deserves attention not as a peripheral detail or afterthought of networked warfare but as its ultimate differentiator” (p. 85). From this premise, the core of the book clearly communicates innovative ways for recruiting, training, and retaining these battlewise individuals while also defining their use in combat. Some of the authors’ original ideas include recruiting proven, battlewise civilian professionals in such critical areas as security forces and allowing them to enter at higher ranks; developing new training methods to improve critical decision-making skills under fire; and increasing the retention of battlewise personnel by increasing incentives to more closely match those of civilian corporations. Finally, the authors break new ground by placing lower-level leadership rather than higher-level leaders, such as members of a joint air operations center, at the center of the networked battlespace. Upper-echelon leadership still has access to the information and can provide guidance, but lower-level leaders have responsibility for “pulling” information from the network and making decisions when the time arises—they too must be battlewise.
Authors David Gompert, Irving Lachow, and Justin Perkins bring great credibility to the subject. Mr. Gompert, distinguished research professor at National Defense University (NDU), has held several senior policy positions at the State Department, National Security Council, and the RAND Corporation. Dr. Lachow, senior research professor at NDU, has extensive experience in both technology and defense issues. Mr. Perkins, research associate at NDU, previously served as chief operating officer for World Blu, Inc., a national consulting firm. A foreword by Rear Adm Raymond C. Smith, USN, retired, and an afterword by Linton Wells II provide perspective from senior leaders and put power behind the landmark ideas described in this book.
An outstanding, well-written study that will set a new standard for how we look at networked combat, Battle-Wise offers a carefully considered framework for preparing ourselves for this next revolution in combat. We should consider adopting the authors’ innovative, timely ideas as we further define the concept of operations and implementation strategies of network-centric warfare.
Maj David Benson, USAF
Air Force Fellow
Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois
conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the
author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of
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