Network-centric warfare has been the Navy's evolutionary effort to incorporate multiple information systems into the fleet to improve situational awareness and facilitate the exchange of tactical information.
Fundamental elements of network-centric warfare (NCW)—the U.S. Navy concept of exploiting technology to create a well-netted force and thus increase combat effectiveness—were apparent as early as World War II. Use of the concept was evident in the Battle of Midway in 1942, and in an improved fashion with devastating effect during the Battle of the Philippine Sea two years later.
The key to network-centric warfare is to manage information and network the force so that any member of the net can access directly any other participant to exchange information or coordinate activity. Ultimately, the success of NCW depends not on technology, but on the ability of the war fighter to exploit the increasing quality and quantity of information that will be available in the next century.