Information Age Transformation: Getting to a 21st Century Military

By Medlin, Darren D. | Air & Space Power Journal, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Information Age Transformation: Getting to a 21st Century Military


Medlin, Darren D., Air & Space Power Journal


Information Age Transformation: Getting to a 21st Century Military by David S. Alberts. Department of Defense Command and Control Research Program (http://www.dodccrp.org), Washington, DC, 2002,145 pages. Free download available from http://www.dodccrp.org/files/Alberts_IAT.pdf.

Information Age Transformation offers a thoughtful look at challenges to the Department of Defense (DOD) as it incorporates the ongoing revolution in information technology. The book's author, Dr. David Alberts, director of research for the assistant secretary of defense, has published or coauthored multiple books on command and control (C2) and technology topics. This book is a rewritten and updated version of his study Unintended Consequences of Information Age Technologies (1996). In that National Defense University publication, Alberts argues for an effective DOD technology-insertion strategy to maximize the positive contributions of the information revolution and the evolution to an "Information Age organization" (p. 2). Information Age Transformation updates terminology and combines the themes of network-centric warfare (NCW) with recommendations on how to think about and accommodate change, specifically changes brought on by improved information flows.

Dr. Alberts expresses his concern that we have not given enough consideration to all aspects of incorporating new information capabilities. In his opinion, factors such as organization and training often receive short shrift while the material aspect of the technology itself receives the lion's share of attention. Identifying the military's concept of C2 as one of the greatest roadblocks to fully exploiting new capabilities, he suggests a process of consultation, collaboration, and convergence as an optimum C2 model for fully exploiting the information age, particularly in a joint and combined environment.

Information Age Transformation contains a brief recap of the DOD's publications and some stillunanswered questions about the information revolution, followed by a collection of the author's thoughts on the best way for the department to exploit opportunities yet avoid adverse consequences.

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