[section_title title=The Shift to Network Centricity]
Indian defence forces have described themselves to be Network Centric by specific dates in future. Given the ingrained structures and inherent doctrines, we need to explore whether the NCW doctrine will enmesh and create change opportunities in a phased manner or will it be better to have a big-bang approach in changing Indian defence forces to the NCW doctrine?
Military Doctrine is defined as a comprehensive system of views and procedures for conduct of future wars including various military operations, established by military experts, technologists and armed forces, in the likely threat environment, and within the purview of present force structures. This doctrine is subject to periodic reviews and analysis and is evolved taking into account the dynamic geo-political, economic and technological trends in the world scenarios. Also such a doctrine should be freely available as a comprehensive document, so as to give a common basis for decision making at all level of military and defense hierarchy of the nation.
The Shift to Network Centricity
The shift to network form of organizations has become so prevalent that even the historically most hierarchical form of human organization, i.e., military structures, are now beginning to explore the network form of organizations to take care of increasingly complex situations and foes that these forces are asked to tackle. The Network Centric Warfare as the field is now called is a new form of military strategy, technologies, organization and doctrines that requires more holistic explorations and understanding. The trend towards network form is clearly evident. Network Centric Warfare is projected as a radically different way to prosecute wars compared to the existing ways which are considered as extrapolation of past wars. The Network Centricity in warfare is enabled by advances made in technologies for what are called the C4ISR (Command Control Communication Computers Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Systems. Combat systems based force or platform centric combat forces of the previous eras need to transform to Network centric combat forces to take care of fundamental shifts in the way networks are replacing hierarchies in various domains – Defence, Business, Governance or even in society at large.
Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) has been defined to take place when one of the participants in a conflict incorporates new technology, organization and doctrine, to the extent that victory is attained in the immediate instance, but more importantly, that any other actors who might wish to deal with that participant or activity must match, or counter the new combination of technology, organization and doctrine in order to prevail.
NCW is an RMA? Or is it really an RMA? One thing is definite – world-view is rapidly shifting towards “Networks” from existing “Hierarchies” and “fixed Command and Control” structures. “Network Centricity” is a revolution that already is engulfing the whole world in multiple dimensions. It is indeed a revolution in search of a doctrine.
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