The war in Afghanistan has interesting implications for the ongoing development of network-centric warfare. The long-range U.S. air strikes, many of them prosecuted from carriers, exemplified the precision strike or long-range attack elements of net-centric warfare. Yet it was always clear that, in themselves, they could not be decisive. That understanding was sometimes encapsulated in the observation that there were no targets of intrinsic value in the country. The attacks were enormously important, however, because they contributed to the success of our coalition partners, the groups opposing the governing Taliban. By itself, net-centric warfare was hardly enough. With a non-net-centric coalition partner, it achieved very impressive results. Anyone reading the newspapers printed a month ago, in which so many experts predicted a massive U.S. ground presence, can sense the extent of that success. The bombing functioned partly as the long-range artillery of the opposition, and partly as a way of undermining any Taliban attempt to withdraw in good order.
World Naval Developments: The Revolution Arrives
By Norman Friedman