Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert has described the U.S. Navy as America’s away team. The sports reference reflects one of the CNO’s main tenets: “Operate forward.” The goal is to ensure that our nation’s conflicts are conducted in the backyards of our adversaries, not ours. We take the fight to them.
But any sports enthusiast knows about the home-field advantage, the benefits that accrue to the local team when playing in its own environment, which it knows better than the visiting team does. This applies in warfare as well. Taking the fight to the enemy risks giving him the home-field advantage.
The only way around it is to know the enemy’s battlespace better than he does. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu famously said: “Know the enemy, know yourself; your victory will never be endangered. Know the ground, know the weather; your victory will then be total.” In a very real sense, that approximates the military concept of battlespace awareness, one of the fundamental capabilities of information dominance.