Not long ago, network-centric warfare (NCW) theologians stated that the information advantage generated by information technology could provide a new competitive warfighting advantage on tomorrow’s battlefield. For the first time in the history of warfare, geographically dispersed forces would be completely networked and thus much more effective. Other terms soon followed to operationalize the theory, such as information/knowledge superiority and information dominance. These terms were operationally refreshing, philosophically mesmerizing and intellectually seductive.
It is not often that government leadership discusses the importance of system engineering or complex system management, but major setbacks for the U.S. Coast Guard’s $24 billion Deepwater program are casting a shadow over the use of lead system integrators on other U.S. Defense Department acquisitions. These setbacks also are highlighting the lack of government system engineering knowledge.
A few years ago, the U.S. Defense Department stated that transformation is “a process that shapes the changing nature of military competition … through new combinations of concepts, capabilities, people and organizations.” It was a good enough start, but if this description is to hold, then what defines the shape of both current and future transformational success? A process without successful execution or quantitative feedback is of little value. Transformation requires more than change for change’s sake.
The rise of an industrial threat has its equivalent in the military.
Information architectures are needed for all platforms.
There was never a technology they didn’t like … at a cost they could afford.
Enabling collaboration and interoperability depends on complex social issues.
Research and education are the foundation for the unknown challenges of tomorrow.
Our disabled veterans should know that their sacrifice brings opportunity and their efforts today will be rewarded with lifelong personal growth tomorrow through continued service to their government. We must seek to replenish the science and technology labor force in government with wounded veterans, not only for their sake but for our own continued survival.