Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert’s 2011 statement that “Control of information . . . is already growing more important than the control of territory in modern warfare” seems prescient in a number of areas—including that of battlespace awareness, the second pillar of information dominance. As Rear Admirals Jonathan White and Sean Filipowski delineate, there are multiple aspects to that awareness. From knowing the environment to knowing the enemy to knowing the target, the Navy is deploying a diverse and dynamic arsenal of manned and unmanned sensors, data-collecting systems, and emerging technologies to give U.S. forces the crucial informational edge.
The third pillar, integrated fires (kinetic and non-kinetic), is key to providing the Navy with an asymmetric advantage in any fight. According to Margaret Palmieri, Director of Integrated Fires, the inclusion of this capability “represents a shift in Navy thinking from platforms to payloads, networks, and information.” She believes it will ultimately lead to a new way of operating in which commanders can “visualize the entire battlespace, understand enemy intent, select the best kinetic or non-kinetic weapon . . . and be assured that the desired effect is achieved as intended without collateral damage.”
The other branches of the armed forces also play a role in the joint information environment but the lines of authority aren’t always clear. The Navy has a strength in this arena that the other services don’t, however: It can often go where other branches can’t. But if a single entity, such as the Defense Information Systems Agency, were to define how the service operates in this environment, the Navy could lose its ability to shape the battlespace. With this in mind, the 2014 Information Dominance Essay Contest winner, Navy Lieutenant Peyton Price, argues for tailored participation by each branch in the joint information environment. “We must be able to give and receive the necessary information to support each combatant command without being tied to a product or policy that hinders our ability to bring all of our naval capabilities to bear against any target,” he warns.
Just as the steel warship, submarine, airplane, and aircraft carrier each marked a new age of naval warfare, so too does information dominance. We offer you here an in-depth look at this vital and growing field, and we’re confident you’ll be reading more about it in the pages of the open forum in the months and years to come.