Structural issues in network enabled defence
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Structural issues in Network Enabled Defence. Matie du Toit (SISPA) Hugo Lotriet (University of Pretoria). Network Enabled Defence defined. For the purpose of this paper we adopt the following definition by Alberts et al. (1999):

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Structural issues in Network Enabled Defence

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Structural issues in network enabled defence

Structural issues in Network Enabled Defence

Matie du Toit (SISPA)

Hugo Lotriet (University of Pretoria)


Network enabled defence defined

Network Enabled Defence defined

For the purpose of this paper we adopt the following definition by Alberts et al. (1999):

“NCW is about human and organizational behavior. NCW is based on adopting a new way of thinking— network-centric thinking—and applying it to military operations. NCW focuses on the combat power that can be generated from the effective linking or networking of the warfighting enterprise. It is characterized by the ability of geographically dispersed forces (consisting of entities) to create a high level of shared battlespace awareness that can be exploited via self-synchronization and other network-centric operations to achieve commanders’ intent.”

(Alberts et al., 1999)


Important issues in ned

Important issues in NED

  • NED ultimately relates to human and organizational behaviour

  • Understanding the impact on humans and organizations is essential in order for the concept to enable improved defensive operations through increased awareness and collaboration


Technology as support and enabler

Technology as support and enabler

  • NED is firmly rooted in the (commercial) growth of ICT

  • Technology serves as enabler of human activity within the military context

  • Therefore NED strategies and architectures have to be aligned to overall military strategy and organization


The importance of context

The importance of context

  • NED takes place within a particular social (human and organizational) context, which serves as a NED enabler .

  • This context can be shaped through structural arrangements needed to ensure collaboration and alignment of strategic intent and NED-related ICT strategy and management.

  • Establishing and aligning military and technology strategies in a NED environment is of paramount importance to ensure achievement of strategic goals.

  • Establishment and alignment should happen prior to conflict

  • Due consideration have to be given to the complexities of collaboration and alignment between networked diversified autonomous and semi-autonomous entities.


Structure of this paper

Structure of this paper

  • We briefly identify characteristics of NED from literature that could be considered to have structural implications;

  • We propose a set of guiding principles for the structuring of collaboration and alignment of NED;

  • We suggest a series of cyclical processes needed in order to structure collaboration and alignment in a NED environment.


Issues in ned that could have structural implications

Issues in NED that could have structural implications

  • Ideal vs. reality (Gorbachev, 2006)

  • Relation between information strategy and overall military strategy (Alberts et al., 1999)

  • Complexity and diversity (Gorbachev, 2006)

  • Structuring of collaboration and alignment

  • NED implied organizational changes (Babcock, 2004)

  • Time implications (Alberts et al., 1999)


Ideal vs reality

Ideal vs. reality

  • The question of ‘how’ the benefits of NED have to be achieved has not been adequately explored (Gorbachev, 2006), with criticism that the implications of use of the concept in terms of changes to principles, process and structures of armed operations have not yet been clarified.


Relation between military strategy and information strategy

Relation between military strategy and information strategy

Alberts et al. (1999) emphasize that the value that information-based operations add should still be measured in terms of the contribution to overall military objectives. This implies both (1) that the information strategy plays a supporting role in terms of overall strategy; (2) there should be alignment between overall strategy and information strategy.


Complexity and diversity

Complexity and diversity

  • Command and control is ‘of a complicated, multi-faceted and multi-echelon nature’ (Gorbachev, 2006). This implies that the structures of collaboration and alignment must be able to handle this complexity and diversity.

  • Networked operations involve a variety of actors, including governmental departments, organizations (military and non-military), allies and partners (Babcock, 2004). Interactions take place at various levels (tactical operational strategic) (Gorbachev, 2006).

  • Ideally networked information would enable a ‘common understanding among commanders at all levels’ (Alston, 2003).


Structuring of collaboration and alignment

Structuring of collaboration and alignment

  • Structure of collaboration and alignment?

  • Alignment of goals and interests at all levels?

  • Need for collaborative decision-making and the creation of shared meaning and understanding amongst participants as key to the success of NED (Holt, 2003)

  • Holt (op. cit.) and Babcock (2004) indicate that organizational structure (and culture) will have to be significantly adapted in order to ensure that these needs are met.


Implied organizational changes

Implied organizational changes

  • NED technologies and the informational foundation for weaponry would require novel organizations and processes (Alberts et al., 1999).

  • The need for change is not a ‘once-off’ need: Ferbrache (2003) indicates that amongst other things there should be capacity for ‘flexibility to reconfigure and restructure’ when circumstances dictate the need.

  • Processes have to be considered to be ‘dynamic’, with the implications that structural arrangements will also have to be continuously adaptable.


Time implications

Time implications

  • NED benefits (collaboration and alignment) are expected to be reaped in real-time during times of conflict or emergency.

  • However, Alberts et al. (1999) stress the importance of preparation for the ultimate success of the concept and speaks of an ‘entry fee’.

  • We argue that the processes and structures has to be established prior to conflict as part of the ‘entry fee’ that enables effective NED.

  • The time scale could potentially take years.


Proposed guiding principles for structuring collaboration and alignment

Proposed guiding principles for structuring collaboration and alignment

  • Principle 1:

    There is a need for negotiation of shared objectives.

  • Principle 2:

    There is a need for structures of collaboration and joint decision making amongst autonomous and semi-autonomous units.

  • Principle 3:

    There is a need for flexibility and the structural ability to learn and renegotiate in order to ensure continuous competitive advantage;

  • Principle 4:

    There is a need for continuous alignment as part of all strategic management activity within a diversified networked organisation.


Guiding principles cont

Guiding principles (cont.)

  • Principle 5:

    Change objectives needed to support the overall strategic objectives of NED should be institutionalised as part of the organizational culture in order to ensure participation at all nodes in the network;

  • Principle 6:

    The strategic processes should be undertaken in a manner that minimizes uncertainty and conflict amongst participants. This implies explicit clarification of roles, responsibilities and expectations;


Guiding principles cont1

Guiding principles (cont.)

  • Principle 7:

    All processes should be both scientifically well-founded and practical;

  • Principle 8:

    There is a need for an integrated Networked Enabled Defence Information Systems architecture that supports both the overall strategic objectives and requirements and those of every organisational unit involved in the network.


Guiding principles cont2

Guiding principles (cont.)

  • Principle 9:

    There is a need to ensure that the NED context (Institutional, inter-organisational, social, technical) is as well understood as possible by as many participants as possible.

  • Principle 10:

    There is also a need that all role-players understand the organisational complexity of NED.

  • Principle 11:

    Standardization will ensure optimal integrated functioning.

  • Principle 12:

    Time is needed in order to achieve this.


Suggested processes

Suggested processes

  • Cycle 1:

    Formulation of an overarching defence strategy for NED.

  • Cycle 2:

    Formulation of NED strategy for all autonomous and semi-autonomous units taking care to align these with the overarching strategy.

  • Cycle 3:

    Formulate an overarching technology strategy that would support strategic business intent.

  • Cycle 4:

    Formulate technology strategies for each autonomous and semi-autonomous networked entity.

  • Cycle 5:

    Formally confirm alignment of all strategies at all levels as realised in practice.


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • The NED environment is complex

  • Appropriate structures should be established through which an NED strategy can be aligned with overall defence strategy and through which an integrated NED enterprise architecture can be established that meets the needs of all units involved in NED and at all levels.

  • High-level principles as well as cyclical processes to establish these have been proposed.

  • Establishment of such structures should happen in advance of conflict

  • Structures should be flexible and agile to allow ongoing transformation.

  • Ultimately these will contribute to realising the potential real-time benefits of NED.


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