Surface Forces: November 21, 1999


The US Navy's Pacific Fleet has set up a new Network Centric Innovation Center to develop new battle tactics and doctrine for the information age. Network Centric Warfare is the Navy version of the Army's digital warfare system. The general idea is to link all platforms in a theater into a common network, where every ship and plane can see everything that anyone knows about potential threats and targets. Rather than filtering such data through staff officers and voice communications channels, each platform would input its observations into the network, and everyone could see the results. The NCIC will work first to get the carrier Stennis to sea with the most advanced information exchange system in the US fleet. After a six-month deployment by the Stennis group, the NCIC should have compiled a list of lessons learned about what the technology can and cannot do, along with what it should do and need not do. This information will be used to design and modify systems for another carrier group. The NCIC has invited the Atlantic Fleet to participate, but that organization has shown little interest, having drafted its own somewhat different plans for Network Centric warfare. --Stephen V Cole


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