The Implications of Complex Adaptive Systems Theory for C2
DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ORGANISATION EDINBURGH (AUSTRALIA) LAND OPERATIONS DIV
Pagination or Media Count:
The study of Complex Adaptive Systems CAS has developed within a wide range of subject domains over the last couple of decades, spanning the biological sciences, economics, organisational science, public policy, environmental sciences, computer science, cognitive and social sciences, and lately, defence sciences. We have been researching how application of a CAS perspective to the most pressing and complex problems that defence faces can provide more effective tools and techniques to enable higher levels of success in dealing with these challenging problems. This approach has proved very fruitful and has generated insights that could lead to implementable and testable strategy options in a wide range of defence areas from strategic policy, the capability development process, and defence enterprise management to the design and evolution of complex defence systems and the command and control of tactical to strategic levels of operations. In this paper we will focus on the implications of CAS theory for C2, drawing on the understanding we have developed of what it is possible to do in the face of complexity, how adaptive mechanisms arise spontaneously in complex systems, how we may recognise them and influence their operation to better align with our purposes, and how we may develop additional adaptive mechanisms to foster more effective outcomes. The CAS we will address includes not just the complex networked systems within our own forces, but also those of our allies and adversaries, and those existing in the overall environment in which we operate. All these systems influence both what we are expected to do and what we are able to do, therefore understanding how the adaptive mechanisms already operating in them shape their behaviour and how to harness those mechanisms to our purposes is potentially a very valuable and powerful strategy.
- Command, Control and Communications Systems