Battle Space Awareness in the Information Age

Battle space awareness is defined by the Department of Defense (DoD) as, Knowledge and understanding of the operational area’s environment, factors, and conditions, to include the status of friendly and adversary forces, neutrals and noncombatants, weather and terrain, that enables timely, relevant, comprehensive, and accurate assessments, in order to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, and/or complete the mission. (JP 2-01)  This is important because some experts are starting to see the battle space evolve. This cause for this evolution appears to be the Information Age.

The Information Age is an age that is measurable on the scale of technological eras. New ages come into eras when a revolution has taken place and has transformed the way in which society engages itself on all levels. The Foreword in John Arquilla’s and David Ronfeldt’s book, In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in The Information Age says it best.

“A true revolution occurs when the entire structure of a society changes, not just when the palace and the local television station are captured by “coup plotters.”  In a real revolution, civil institutions fall into crisis.  Family and role structures change.  Other changes shake the culture and the value system.  Technological breakthroughs (or breakdowns) create an economic upheaval.  Taken together, all these produce something far more profound than “revolution” in the customarily narrow sense of the word.  And this revolution in the larger sense causes a revolution in military affairs as well.Today’s Third Wave transformation is as deep in its way as the Neolithic and industrial revolutions that, respectively, launched the great First and Second Waves of change in history.  Moreover, it is faster and more global in character.”

Looking at this explanation of a “real” revolution we can see that revolutions by themselves can be measured based upon the size of the change it brings. If the Information Age is to compared to the Industrial Age it must first become a revolution to earn the “Age” status. If there is revolution on such a scale it will impact everything. How we deal with these changes is of great importance. We cannot be afraid to make changes in this revolution because this is where our technological evolution has led us to. If we ignore it, our global competitors will envelop us and we will become subject to their “self-determination” which does not have room for unalienable rights.

The battles pace in the Information Age is being thought to move towards a network and netwar phase in the evolution of conflicts.  Check out these videos from the Hoover Institute’s Youtube Channel on the advent of netwars:

Hoover Institute video discription: “The Hoover Institute’s description: Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and John Arquilla discuss the challenges of waging war in the modern globalized world with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge.”

New rules of war with Hanson and Arquilla: Chapter 1 of 5

New rules of war with Hanson and Arquilla: Chapter 2 of 5

New rules of war with Hanson and Arquilla: Chapter 3 of 5

New rules of war with Hanson and Arquilla: Chapter 4 of 5

New rules of war with Hanson and Arquilla: Chapter 5 of 5

I find it interesting that networks seem to form around ideas and that a major strength multiplier for a network is determined on the effectiveness of communication within the network and amongst other networks. This poses a question. If one wanted to take down a hostile network should the goals be to destroy the cohesive elements of the idea (which would be equated to the narrative) and disrupt/ destroy the target network’s communication capabilities to prevent attacks and recruitment?


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