Over the past decade, the United States has moved toward a new style of warfare, called network centric, that uses an almost real-time, shared picture of a military situation as the basis for operations. To explain what network-centric warfare is and how it works, defense analyst Norman Friedman uses specific historical examples of actual combat rather than the abstractions common to other books on the subject. He argues that navies invented this style of warfare and that twentieth-century wars, culminating in the Cold War, show how networked warfare worked—and did not work—and illustrate what net-on-net warfare means. The book builds on Friedman's personal experience in an early application of network-centric warfare that developed the method of targeting the Tomahawk anti-ship missile.
To give readers a realistic feeling for what the new style of warfare offers and what is needed to make it work, the book concentrates on the tactical picture, not the communications network itself. Friedman's focus on what the warriors really want and need makes it possible to evaluate the various contributions to a network-centric system. Without such a focus, Friedman notes, the needs of networked warfare reduce simply to the desire for more and more information, delivered at greater and greater speeds. The information he provides is valuable to all the services, and students of history will appreciate the light it sheds on new ways of understanding old conflicts.
Norman Friedman is a defense analyst and historian specializing in the intersection of technology and national strategy. He was Deputy Director of National Security Studies at the Hudson Institute in New York under Herman Kahn, and later was personal consultant to the Secretary of the Navy for a decade. He is the author of 33 books, including Naval Firepower, Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems, and The Fifty-Year War. He has conducted or co-authored numerous studies, and served as a futurologist for the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002-2004. He was awarded the Westminster Prize in 2001 for the best military history book of the previous year, from the British Royal United Services Institute. His Seapower as Strategy won the Samuel Eliot Morison prize awarded by the Naval Order of the United States in 2002. He writes a monthly column for Proceedings magazine, lectures widely, and regularly testifies before Congress on U.S. Navy programs.
Praise for NETWORK-CENTRIC WARFARE
“Norman Friedman’s Network-Centric Warfare offers a welcome break from [the] ‘hulls and heroes’ historiography, providing the first comprehensive account of twentieth-century naval command and control at the operational level…War colleges will find it a useful complement to theoretical approaches to networked operations, and scholars will benefit from the fresh perspective Friedman brings to the history of naval technology.”
— Technology and Culture, July 2011
"Friedman is that very rare naval historian who has a thorough grasp of the technical heart of naval systems and strategy. As a fine storyteller he recounts the evolution of command and control and ocean surveillance as they have evolved from semaphore flags to advanced digital networks of networks, in a way that reads like an adventure story." —John F. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and member of the 9/11 Commission
"Norman Friedman's Network-Centric Warfare is the most thoughtful and best written discussion of net-centric principles and insights in print. If you have been interested in net-centric warfare but have also been put off by the abstruse terminology used by many of its advocates, then you must read this book. It is eye-opening and thought-provoking. The footnotes alone are worth the price of the book."—Thomas C. Hone, formerly Transformation Chair, U.S. Naval War College, and author of Battle Line: The United States Navy, 1919-1939
"Mr. Friedman has sublimely and masterfully captured the heritage and pedigree of Network-Centric Warfare in an eloquent and pellucid manner. His book is the single most comprehensive and authoritative source on this extraordinarily important capability that will change the way we fight wars. His journey through the birth and growth of the vital ingredients of Network-Centric Warfare and how they combined to make a powerful war fighting alloy, is a voyage into a glorious past and an exciting future. His book is a vast and valuable repository of Network-Centric content." —VADM Jerry O. Tuttle, USN (Ret.), President and CEO, J.O.T. Enterprises
"This study is a vital first step in a long overdue reassessment of the dramatic changes in the command and control of naval operations in the twentieth century. Dr Friedman's work shows how fundamental communications networks and information systems were to commanders afloat and ashore in fighting the war at sea and that victory went to the possessor of the more comprehensive picture of the maritime battlespace. The increasing complexity of the issues that navies faced in their continual struggle to exploit new developments is very thoroughly conveyed in a book whose author consistently demonstrates an understanding of both the theoretical science and the practical technology which underpinned that revolution." —RADM James Goldrick, Royal Australian Navy