Tag Archives: nco

Barnett and Vader Criticize NCW Arrogance

The Seven Deadly Sins of Network-Centric Warfare,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Proceedings, pg 36-39, January 1999, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/7d.htm.

It’s Christmas on Hoth,” by Darth Vader, The Darth Side, 27 April 2005, http://darthside.blogspot.com/2005/04/its-christmas-on-hoth.html (from Slashdot).

Net-Centric Warfare is an attempt to use technology to win “conventional” (maneuver-based or Third Generation) wars more easily. It is often criticized by proponents of Fourth Generation Warfare, though both NCW and 4GW are partially right. Nonetheless, it is important to realize that NCW is not perfect. Grand Strategist Tom Barnett lists the following as the “seven deadly sins” of NCW

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Dr. Barnett, whose mentor founded NCW,
criticizes the doctrine’s arrogance
  1. Lust -NCW Longs for an Enemy Worthy of Its Technological Prowess
  2. Sloth -NCW Slows the U.S. Military’s Adaptation to a MOOTW World
  3. Avarice -NCW Favors the Many and Cheap; the U.S. Military Prefers the Few and Costly
  4. Pride -NCW’s Lock-Out Strategies Resurrect Old Myths about Strategic Bombing
  5. Anger -NCW’s Speed-of-Command Philosophy Can Push Us into Shooting First and Asking Questions Later
  6. Envy – NCW Covets the Business World’s Self-Synchronization
  7. Gluttony – NCW’s Common Operating Picture Could Lead to Information Overload

The full article is available here.

More succinctly, Barnett’s thoughts are seconded by Darth Vader, dread lord of the Galactic Empire in his new blog, The Darth Side

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Lord Vader Criticizes Admiral Ozzol For NCW Arrogance

Admiral Ozzol took the fleet out of hyerspace too close to Hoth, and the Rebel Alliance were — you guessed it — alerted to our approach. The cornerstone of Ozzel’s arrogance is his insistence that rebel technology is so vastly inferior to Imperial technology that we need broker no caution.

This attitude is typical of a man who could not rephase his own fusion orb if his life depended on it. He cannot fathom what rebel engineers may accomplish out of desperation. People who are good with things, people like me, can appreciate the infinite diversity of possible tools buried in artful combinations of even the humblest technologies. Give me an hour to reconfigure an industrial grade repulsolift and I will give you an ion cannon and enough parts left over to build a droid to run it.

Besides running a hyper-advanced NCW space fleet, Darth Vader is proving himself to be an adept Fourth Generation Warrior. With the full might of the Galatic Empire behind him, his only problem is finding an heir to continue his House down the generations.

Update: Zen Pundit compares Barnett’s criticisms with Cebrowski’s original.

NCO v. 4GW

The Pentagon’s Debate Over What Iraq Means,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, The Command Post, http://www.command-post.org/oped/2_archives/018611.html, 24 January 2005.

With no comment other than “I need to learn more about this,” I present Dr. Barnett’s latest article:

The current fight between NCO and 4GW, over who “lost” the war in Iraq, is basically a repeat of the Rumsfeld-Shinseki argument. The 4GWers accuse NCOers of blindly stumbling from a 3GW victory over Saddam into a 4GW stalemate with the insurgency. But again, this accusation tends to conflate two very different situations: one the war, the other the subsequently botched peace. But the 4GW crowd’s answer can’t be simply, “Let’s get ready for counter-insurgencies because NCO is powerless to deal with them.”

In short, our choice isn’t between Network-Centric Operations or Fourth Generation Warfare, it’s how we focus each effectively on the logically-defined tasks of effective regime change, a list that covers both war and peace. A Pentagon debate that pits these two visions of war against one another is self-defeating and a waste of time. We must take advantage of the force-structure savings allowed by NCO (e.g., the smaller footprint) to build up our 4GW capabilities and marry those with the larger force requirements entailed in successful SysAdmin work.