Defence outlines 'network-centric' vision

Defence outlines "network-centric" vision

Australian Defence Force officials have issued a roadmap for the network-centric warfare (NCW) vision that will link its command and control, sensor and engagement grid networks by 2020.

Part of a plan to improve coordination between air force, army and navy operations, Defence will develop a single information network that will connect the three grids.

In the roadmap, Defence said many of its key systems, particularly in the air and on land, relied on manual transfer of information across "gaps" between systems.

A networked force would improve situational awareness, collaboration and offensive potential.

"Personnel within the networked force [would] rely on secure and responsive linkages [network connectivity] that allow the right information to be accessed at the right time by the right force elements.

"Synchronisation is improved, permitting the ADF to deliver more controlled and precise military effects. In the future this could include rapid and reliable direct sensor-shooter configurations," according to the roadmap.

The new information network would better share detection (sensor grid) and precision engagement (engagement grid) intelligence with Defence decision makers (command and control grid).

Defence is running scoping projects to quantify the information sharing requirements of the network. It outlined a number of target states it aims to achieve from NCW by 2020. These include "continuous information connectivity" to link fighting units, sensors and decision makers.

Another target state included a command and control system that promoted collaboration. Under this model, commanders would have a virtual presence with senior decision-makers, according to the roadmap.

Development on the key network is already underway, with "a degree of connectivity [having] already been established", according to the roadmap. While some technologies have been put to the test in Afghanistan and Iraq, much remains to be done. This is particularly the case for personnel, with much training ahead, according to the roadmap.