Self-Inflicted Vulnerabilities   [open pdf - 71KB]

"One of the most prominent, if sometimes controversial, figures in software engineering resigned in 1985 from the Panel on Computing in Support of Battle Management of the Strategic Defense Initiative [SDI] Office, publishing a series of essays declaring it unlikely that the program would meet the goals implicitly set forth by President Ronald Reagan for the SDI program. Two decades later, this assessment has gained in pertinence as transformation technologies become reality and reliance increases on network-centric operations and C4ISR [Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] assets to achieve critical operational objectives. Concern has spread even to the level of individual tactical units, while the potential persists for damage or at least costly friction and lost options at the strategic level. While information technology has become a highly efficient force multiplier in a large number of roles--from producing transparency in logistics flows to providing target data for strike packages in near real time to guiding munitions themselves--there are differences between information systems and other engineering artifacts that are dangerous to ignore. As information system components suffuse what had previously been the domain of mechanical engineering, as well as similar disciplines, these engineering artifacts frequently come to rely on information technology for their core functionality and hence take on the properties previously associated only with pure information systems."

2004 Naval War College Review. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
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Naval War College Review: http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx
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Naval War College Review (Summer/Autumn 2004), v. 57 no. 3/4, p. 102-113
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