Information Technologies and the Future of Land Warfare
By Brian Nichi-Poruk and Carl H. Builder
Rand, 1995, 87 pp
These two brief works take different but useful looks from the think tank world at the impact of the information revolution on warfare. The Rand volume is heavier on civilian technology than on its military applications, but it raises at least one central issue: the "de- layering" of structured, hierarchical organizations. The National Defense University book is introduced by Admiral William A. Owens, formerly vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is a visionary proponent of what is here called "dominant battlespace knowledge" -- that is, vastly increased quantities of accurate, timely information about the area in which battle takes place. One's heart sinks at the reduction of this notion to the acronym DBK, however. The military analytical community's penchant for redefining an interesting concept -- the first step toward rendering it a cliché‚ which is itself but a short distance from terminal irrelevance -- is manifest. The short conceptual essays offer some interesting ideas about war in an age of vastly improved information. One wonders, however, what will be the nature of the gap between theory and practice in this field and how quickly, if ever, it will be closed.