Information at Sea: Shipboard Command and Control in the U.S. Navy, from Mobile Bay to Okinawa
Timothy S. Wolters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2013. 317 pp. Notes. Index. Illus. $54.95.
Reviewed by Norman Friedman
This is an excellent and important book. The author, a U.S. Navy Reserve officer, is well qualified to point to the distinction between the visible side of sea power, as reflected in ships and in naval weapons, and the much less visible but absolutely essential side involving the use of information. Without essential information, the most spectacular weapons are impotent. That has long been obvious to professionals, and one might imagine that it would be more widely obvious in an “information age,” but that is hardly the case. One has only to look at the publicity attending the Chinese “carrier-killing” ballistic missile, which seems never to be balanced by any analysis of how well the Chinese can track its targets—or how well they can collect and use key information.