Magazine article National Defense

Information Dominance Key to U.S. Security

Magazine article National Defense

Information Dominance Key to U.S. Security

Article excerpt

National defense, homeland security and even electronic government are all dependent on information systems and technology. The Acquisition Reform Act of 1994 mandated the use of information technology in the transformation of both war fighting and business practices, with the intent of increasing efficiency in every functional area.

The nation's industrial base, represented by the members of the National Defense Industrial Association INDIA) and the Association for Enterprise Integration (AFEI), recognizes the critical value of information assets in both business and operational systems of defense agencies. These companies are committed to developing integrated data systems that deliver information in secure, timely and accurate ways.

Within the Pentagon, the policies, regulations and organization structures that impede speedy implementation of available technology and render information and communication technology inefficient are ripe for change. The department already has initiated improvements in policies, plans and procedures to make better use of secure, accurate and timely data integration that enables superior decision making at all levels.

Also, the department recently has initiated efforts to increase collaboration and information sharing across programs, and to modernize business systems, based on commercial best practices and technology. Pilot projects now underway, implementing enterprise resource planning systems, are examples of an application of commercial products to unique defense processes. Moreover, the department is involved deeply in many of the Office of Management and Budget's e-Government initiatives.

While e-Government is not central to the defense mission, these are further indications of the department's migration to network-centric processes that enable collaboration within the department and across other federal agencies.

These efforts should increase the department's efficiency and effectiveness in performing its core functions and managing information across the defense enterprise. Furthermore, while there have been numerous programs aimed at electronically connecting the Pentagon's business activity with its industry partners, a more unified approach to modernization of business-system strategies and processes will serve to strengthen the industrial base and improve its capability to provide value to the department.

Information dominance is most often associated with military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) operations.

Superiority in the generation, manipulation and use ofinformation affords a dominant strategic and tactical military position. However, several factors are converging that indicate a broader scope of information dominance may be necessary. The most compelling of these factors are:

* Homeland Security. There is an urgent need for agencies at all levels of government, corporations and institutions to collect, process and share accurate and timely information securely to enable detection, prevention, protection and response to the terrorist threat. Information systems are being examined for their ability to meet this need.

* Network-Centric Planning and Execution. The adoption of network-centric C3I systems provides interesting intersects with support and logistics systems. Leveraging common technology improves information flow in the value chain-factory to foxhole-and could reduce errors and response time for critical items. …

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