The Fog of War: A Necessary Component of Modern Warfare
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The fog of war is inherent in the nature of war. In whatever form it may take - friction, ambiguity, chaos, uncertainty, or combinations thereof - the fog of war is a central and prevailing characteristic of war. This is well known, as it has been continually espoused, initially by Clausewitz in On War, and subsequently in the U.S. Armed Forces doctrine and each services war colleges. Students and participants of war are schooled and readily aware of its nature. The proponents of network-centric warfare, however, purport the fog of war can be eliminated by gaining total information dominance over an enemy, and by networking information technologies throughout the joint battlespace. The hypothetical transformation of war through technological advances is a prevalent thought in the U.S. military this type of thinking is wrong and potentially dangerous. This paper argues it is not enough to simply study and recognize the concept and implications of the fog of war, or to incorporate them into doctrine. The ambiguity and uncertainty characterized by the fog of war must be institutionalized and become a central tenet of operational art as well as a driving influence in the U.S. military8223s preparation and training for war. Nowhere does the associated implications of the fog of war have greater impact and effect than on information processing and decision-making. Therefore, leaders at all levels must be aware of the human aspects of information and be trained to develop an adaptive, flexible, intuitive mind in order to deal with and make decisions in an uncertain, chaotic, dangerous, and fast-moving environment.
- Information Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics