Network Centric Operation: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress [Updated March 15, 2007] [open pdf - 283KB]
"Network Centric Operations (also known as Network Centric Warfare) is a key component of DOD planning for transformation of the military. Network Centric Operations (NCO) relies on computer equipment 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. NCO technology saw limited deployment in Afghanistan and, more recently, increased deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Several DOD key programs are now underway for deployment throughout all services. This report describes technologies that support NCO, and includes (1) questions about possible vulnerabilities associated with NCO; (2) a description of electronic weapons, and other technologies that could be used as asymmetric countermeasures against NCO systems; (3) descriptions of several key military programs for implementing NCO; (4) a list of other nations with NCO capabilities; and, (5) a description of experiences using NCO systems in recent operations involving joint and coalition forces. The final section raises policy issues for NCO that involve planning, network interoperability, acquisition strategies, offshore outsourcing, technology transfer, asymmetric threats, coalition operations, and U.S. military doctrine."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32411