Network centrics

Improving Interactions among the Domain Entities

Underlying connectivity among the entities which are spatially or temporally separated from other entities is severely inefficient, thus limiting the network effect for the associated interactions. The network effect can be improved by using an automated information infrastructure as a substratum for bridging geographical and temporal distances in a fast, reliable, and secure fashion. Networking infrastructures have evolved from smoke and light signals, telegraphs, telephones, mobile telephony, to Internet applications leveraging key advances in electro-mechanical transducers, semiconductor, magnetic data storage, software programmed computers, wireless communication, and algorithms. Although technologies such as computer hardware and software have been critical in the growth of digital data and telephony networks, the two broad fields of networking and computing have evolved independently, thus limiting their potential in certain domains. Network Centrics consolidates the principles, tools, and technologies of the networking and computing fields for a unified approach towards improving domain interactions.

The meteoric rise of social networking web sites such as My Space and Facebook has demonstrated the power of networking (fast connections for large number of users) and computing technologies (databases, search algorithms, matching algorithms, user interface). Such an infrastructure serves as a potent catalyst which can improve connectivity and improve associated interactions with several orders of magnitude. Another application of the Network Centrics concepts is exemplified by a mature and scalable trading platform provided by Internet auction sites such as eBay that efficiently interconnects the buyers and sellers across geographical and temporal boundaries. This Network Centric platform requires efficient implementation of auction algorithms, databases for storing goods and current bids and email software for automatic notifications used to improve the auction process all working over a large area data network. An extensive use of both computing and networking technologies enables a reliable, transparent, secure and well defined way of millions of interactions on a daily basis for a large number of participants interested in finding and buying specific physical goods on the one hand and sellers on the other who have profit making objectives. This is in stark contrast with the local bazaars of yesteryears with at most hundreds of people participating in handful of auctions in a session.

Besides these recent Internet phenomena, now part of the day-to-day life in all continents and most countries, there is also a profound change in the role of networking for national defense. Many large countries, led by United States, have unequivocally stipulated that the current defense strategy should be radically transformed with information networking being the central substratum for command, control, intelligence, sensing, and reconnaissance. The scope of such network-centric warfare goes far beyond policy, directives, training, and logistics to actual remote real-time sensing and shooting. This involves a robust, secure and comprehensive integration among all sensor integration, data collection, data storage, information analysis, decision making, and weapon system activation tasks across large geographical distances and multiple services and coalition partners. In fact, the term Network Centricity itself has emerged from the set of many policy documents, starting with Adm. William Owens introduction of the term “system of systems” followed by Network Centric Warfare as discussed by Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski and John Gartska, and detailed in the book “Network Centric Warfare”). Netcentric approach is a now a key facet of the strategic transformation of US defense forces with information superiority.

Extending Basic Networking Concepts

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