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Implications for Network-Centric Warfare

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As U.S. Special Operations Command USSOCOM develops strategic concepts for synchronizing the military dimensions of the Global War on Terrorism it will need to address a full range of factors that describe the strategic environment, centers of gravity, and operational approaches for pressing the counterterrorism fight. One key factor is the construct of a global terrorist network and what that implies for the ways in which U.S. joint forces must organize and operate. In this paper, Dr. Jessica Glicken Turnley helps the planner to consider the challenge of how a bureaucratically organized force might assess a network-centric enemy and develop appropriate strategies. The implications drawn here by Dr. Turnley relate to USSOCOM strategic priorities for winning the war on terrorism and ensuring a competitive advantage in the future. These priorities include leading the planning for the DoD Global War on Terrorism as well as command-specific counterterrorism operations. The paper also implies considerations for force readiness and developing USSOCOMs next-generation capabilities. Dr. Turnley advises that we are facing the challenge of responding with force structures appropriate for geographically based adversaries and network-based adversaries. The U.S. military must develop the ability to quickly change and redefine force structure, force development, and force management. This is essential for success because the threats confronting SOF in the mid-term will be transnational and asymmetric in nature, including terrorism, institutional dysfunction and instability, drug and arms trafficking, and information warfare. In addition, SOF are concerned with operational issues concerning the military potential of regional state actors opposed to U.S. interests. Our ability to identify the kind of threat we are facing, communicate rapidly, and respond to threat elements with the appropriate force structure will define strategic success.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

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