Implementing Net-Centric Tactical Warfare Systems

The tactical battlefield has long been characterized by the use of many different data collection and analysis systems that present information on small and discrete areas of the conflict to separate command and control stations. The operators of these stations attempt to use that data to estimate enemy intentions and actions, and counter with manual direction of the equipment and personnel in a simulacrum of coordinated response.

The result is a disjointed and often extremely dynamic environment of forces operating across the battlefield; a variety of aircraft with different weaponry, performance, and flight characteristics, fixed and mobile artillery, shipboard combat and weapon systems, and dismounted soldiers all with unique pieces of data when aggregated represent the complete strategic picture of the battlefield operations. When these disparate systems are integrated, it is often with a particular mix and mission in mind.

A much discussed way to dramatically improve the speed-of-command on the battlefield is to create a net-centric battlefield operation. Each individual element of a tactical system performs its narrow mission, but shares data as needed with others in a way that provides a more complete and accurate representation of the battlefield environment and the role of that system in the environment.

The purpose of net-centric warfare is to translate an information advantage into a battlefield advantage through the comprehensive networking and dynamic data-sharing between geographically dispersed forces. The shared situational awareness enables better strategic coordination of forces and enhances speed-of-command, which dramatically increases mission effectiveness.