Improving Our Net-Centricity

May 19, 2009
By H. Mosher

Command and control (C2) still hasn't evolved with the times, according to an afternoon plenary session at AFCEA SOLUTIONS today. Dr. David S. Alberts, director of research for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, networks and information integration, spoke on the maturity and agility of C2. Alberts explained missions are increasingly complex, with implications on command and control:

  • There will not be a unified chain of command.
  • Each entity involved will have its own interest and intent.
  • The situation will be in part unfamiliar to each entity.
  • There will be multiple planning processes.
  • Critical information and expertise necessary to understand the situation will be non-organic.
  • To be effective, actions will require developing synergies between and among entities.

Addressing this complexity requires a spectrum of C2 maturity, Alberts continued, that starts out with conflicted, progresses to deconflicted, then to cooperative, then to collaborative, and lastly, at the "top," what he calls "Edge C2. It isn't so much that each level is better than the other so much as it is qualitatively different and more difficult to achieve. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution," Alberts said. "There is a level of maturity that is appropriate to every situation."

Moving on to agility, Alberts noted that agility is more than just flexibility--it also includes adaptability, responsiveness, robustness, resilience and innovativeness. "C2 agility is the ability to maintain effective command and control as a function of changing circumstances and stresses," he said.

This agility and understanding how to best apply it and the C2 spectrum will help us better understand how to prevail in complex mission environments, and will help us shift from entity command and control to collective command and control, Alberts said, and ultimately help us improve our net-centricity.

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