Network Centric Warfare: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress [March 18, 2005] [open pdf - 185KB]
"Network Centric Warfare (NCW) is a key component of DoD planning for transformation of the military. NCW relies on computer processing power and networked communications technology to provide a shared awareness of the battle space for U.S. forces. Proponents say that a shared awareness increases synergy for command and control, resulting in superior decision-making, and the ability to coordinate complex military operations over long distances for an overwhelming war-fighting advantage...The background section of this report describes technologies that support NCW, and includes (1) questions about possible vulnerabilities associated with NCW; (2) a description of directed energy weapons, and other technologies that could be used as asymmetric countermeasures against NCW systems; (3) descriptions of some key military programs for implementing NCW; (4) a list of other nations with NCW capabilities; and, (5) a description of experiences using NCW systems in recent operations involving joint and coalition forces. The final section raises policy issues for NCW that involve planning, budget, network, interoperability, acquisition strategies, offshore outsourcing, technology transfer, asymmetric threats, coalition operations, and U.S. military doctrine."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32411