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The Unintended Cosequences Of Information Age Technologies

1550 words - 6 pages

IntroductionThe Unintended Cosequences of Information Age TechnologiesMilitary organizations are, by their very nature, resistant to change. This is, in no small part, due to the fact that the cost of error is exceedingly high. Change, particularly change that may affect the relationships among organizations and between commanders and their subordinates, presents significant risks and generates considerable concern.The explosion of information technologies has set in motion a virtual tidal wave of change that is in the process of profoundly affecting organizations and individuals in multiple dimensions. The military is no exception. At the very beginning of the information age, technological advances made it possible to provide more complete, more accurate, and more timely information to decision makers. As the costs of processing and communications power tumbled, it became cost-effective for organizations to adopt and utilize information technologies in more and more situations.Military organizations have traditionally provided information to forces in three ways: commands, intelligence, and doctrine. Commands serve to define the specific task at hand. Intelligence provides information about the environment in which the task is to be carried out. Doctrineprovides the "rules of the game" or standard operating procedures. Doctrine, unlike commands and intelligence, is not provided in real time, but serves to shape the culture and mind sets of the individuals involved. Thus, information has, until recently, been inseparable from commanders, command structures, and command systems. Each of these three ways of communicating information about what is expected of subordinate organizations and individuals has evolved over time to be mutually supportive of an overall command concept or approach matched to the nature of the conflict and the capabilities of the forces. The success of military operations depends to a large extent upon the ability to coordinate activities to achieve synchronized operations. Ensuring that individuals behave as intended or as expected in the face of uncertainty ("the fog of war") and under stress is a key to achieving coordinated activities. The selective dissemination of information has been used as a tool to define and shape the environment in which soldiers operate to ensure conforming behavior.The military is now on the road to becoming an information age organization. The transformation involved is fraught with both risks and opportunities because it will affect the nature of the information provided as well as the manner in which it is provided.Background and PurposeThe C4I for the Warrior (C4IFTW) concept that currently guides the military's adoption of information technologies involves the provision of vastly increased access to information at all echelons. The full implications and consequences of achieving the stated goals and objectives of C4IFTW will, of course, not be clear for years to come. The analysis reported...

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