In the digital age, information is critical to decision making. This is the case in the board room as well as on the battle field.
Information superiority is critical to our warfighters ability to intelligently and efficiently defeat our enemies. Many of the Department of Defense‘s modernization initiatives are aimed at getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, there are still some information gaps.
National Defense Magazine, December 2007, reports “troops in digital age, disconnected.”
Apparently, not everyone in the military is getting all the information they need (at least, not yet).
“The problem often is described as a ‘digital divide’ between the technology haves—the upper echelons of command—and the have-nots---the platoons and squads that are deployed in remote areas. These small units for the most part are disconnected from the Army’s main tactical networks and only are able to communicate with short-range voice radios…[however,] at the top echelons, commanders can tap into loads of data—maps, satellite images, video feeds, and reams of intelligence reports.”
Often though it is the small units on the front lines that need to send and receive critical information on combatants or other situational updates that can have life and death implications. This is why the net-centric strategy for virtually connecting all units is so important to achieving the vision of true information dominance.
Here are just a few important ways that information can help our warfighting capabilities:
- Providing information to soldiers to locate enemy combatants (such as from “live video from unmanned aircraft)
- Enabling location tracking of soldiers to save lives when they are endangered (such as from GPS locators)
- Sending information updates back to command for coordination and enhancing decision capabilities (such as from streaming voice and video, instant messaging, etc.)
The good news is that there are a lot of new information technologies coming online to aid our military, including the Future Combat Systems (FCS) and Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS).
To ensure the success of these technologies, we need to manage the solutions using enterprise architecture to validate requirements, reengineer the processes, and effectively plan and govern the change.
- Requirements management—“how to identify essential needs for information as opposed to providing information indiscriminately”
- Business process reengineering—according to Marine Corps. CAPT Christopher Tsirlis “it’s not just about the latest and greatest technology but also changing the organization to use new technology.”
- Planning/governance—we need link resources to results;“the technology exists, the question is how we resource it, and what is the right amount for each level.”
With a solid enterprise architecture and innovative technologies, we can and will enable the best information warriors in the world.