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[] Net-centric next step: warfighters,

Net-centric next step: warfighters 

 BY Matthew French 
 March 14, 2003

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, director of the Defense
Department's Force Transformation Office, this morning told the Senate
Armed Services Committee that not enough technology that drives
network-centric warfare is finding its way into the hands of those who
need it most: the warfighters.

Cebrowski said that although network-centric warfare is about culture as
much as technology, the technology is what provides the advantage to
those in combat. A change in culture is needed to adopt that technology.

"During the past year, we've seen each of the [armed service]
departments begin implementation of network-centric warfare, primarily
at the operational level of war," he said. "However, what we're seeing
is essentially network-centric warfare for the joint task force
commander. The next step is network-centric warfare for the warfighter ?
reflecting increased jointness at the tactical level of war."

Cebrowski said that transformation and network-centric warfare will
first and foremost equip the military with speed, something that has
been lacking. Past conflicts, which often called for massive numbers of
troops exercising tremendous firepower, will most likely bear little
resemblance to the regional conflicts American forces will face in the
coming decades.

"In the Information Age, warfare is increasingly path dependent ? small
changes in the initial conditions result in enormous changes in
outcome," he said. "Thus, speed becomes a more valuable characteristic
of the entire force because we want to be able to define or alter the
initial conditions on terms favorable to our interests.

"The goal is to develop high rates of change that an adversary cannot
outpace, while sharply narrowing that adversary's strategic options," he

Transformation is a process without an end. There will never be a time
when DOD is transformed, according to Cebrowski. The increasing ability
to capture, process and act on information will be the driving force
behind transformation and will determine the success or failure of the
transformed department.

"Increasingly, power tends to come from information, access and speed,"
he said. "Network-centric warfare will enable the merging of our
warfighting capabilities into a seamless, joint warfighting force."

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