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Net-centric or netcentric refers to participating as a part of a continuously-evolving, complex community of people, devices, information and services interconnected by a communications network to achieve optimal benefit of resources and better synchronization of events and their consequences.
In military connotation frequently associated with terms "Net-centric Operations (NCO)" and "Net-centric Warfare (NCW)". Many people use the terms "net-centric" and "network-centric" interchangeably. Some consider "network-centric" to refer to activities within a particular network and "net-centric" to refer to activities that cross networks.
Many experts believe the terms "information-centric" or "knowledge-centric" would capture the concepts more aptly because the objective is to find and exploit information, the network itself is only one of several enabling factors.
Netcentric, or "network-centric", refers to participating as a part of a continuously-evolving, complex community of people, devices, information and services interconnected by a communications network to optimize resource management and provide superior information on events and conditions needed to empower decision makers. Many experts believe the terms "information-centric" or "knowledge-centric" would capture the concepts more aptly because the objective is to find and exploit information, the network itself is only one of several enabling factors along with sensors, data processing and storage, expert analysis systems and intelligent agents, and information distribution. The best commercial practitioners of globally distributed supply chain management and customer relationship management employ net-centric methods. Network Centric Product Support (NCPS) is a specific example of the netcentric architecture that is being applied to a range of applications including the NextGen airtraffic control as well as other transportation applications. Netcentric warfare is also a tenet of modern information warfare concepts.
A Net-centric Enterprise Architecture is defined in lay terms as a: "massively distributed architecture with components and/or services available across and throughout an enterprise's entire lines-of-business."
The formal definition of a "NetCentric Enterprise Architecture" is: "A NetCentric Enterprise Architecture is a light-weight, massively distributed, horizontally-applied architecture, that distributes components and/or services across an enterprise's information value chain using Internet Technologies and other Network Protocols as the principal mechanism for supporting the distribution and processing of information services."
Net-centricity in the U.S. Department of Defense
The concept of network centric warfare was introduced to the U.S. Department of Defense by David Alberts, Vice Admiral Art Cebrowski, and John Gartska in a series of publications beginning in the late 1990s. Alberts listed four tenets of network-centric warfare: (1) A robustly networked force improves information sharing; (2) Information sharing and collaboration enhance the quality of information and shared situational awareness; (3) Shared situational awareness enables self-synchronization; and, (4) The above dramatically increase mission effectiveness. Net-centric warfare is compatible with mission command doctrine and more decentralized models of command and control.
The United States Department of Defense established the net-centric model as the architectural foundation for its Global Information Grid (GIG) concept for integrating all DoD information systems with Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 8500.1 and Department of Defense Instruction 8500.2. Compliance with DoD Architectural Framework is required by Net-Centric Operations and Warfare policy and intends to provide for a consistent architectural model that will enable information sharing and component re-use across the Department of Defense. The DoD vision of net-centric warfare targets a Service-Oriented Architecture model and associated extensive use of XML and other web service standards.
More recently strategy papers have outlined the military advantage gained by integrated, networked and internetworked information flow. Specifically, "NCW (Network Centric Warfare) is a new approach to how we might conduct future warfare that consists of networking the warfighting enterprise – shooters, decision makers, and sensors – to translate information superiority into combat power by 'effectively linking knowledgeable entities in the battlespace.'... Its purpose is to 'achieve shared awareness, increased speed of command, higher tempo of operations, greater lethality, increased survivability, and a degree of self-synchronization.”
- Cebrowski, Arthur K., and John J. Gartska (1998). "Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origins and Future. U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan. 1998.
- Alberts, David S., John J. Gartska, and Frederick Stein (2000). Netwwor-Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority, and Ed. Washington, D.C.: CCRP Press.
- Alberts, David S. (2002). Information Age Transformation: Getting to a 21st Century Military. Washington, D.C.: CCRP Press.)
- Stewart, Keith (2009). “Command Approach: Problem Solving in Mission Command.” Proc. 14th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium, (15–17 June, Washington, D.C.).
- Alberts, David S., and Richard E. Hayes (2006). Understanding Command and Control. Washington, D.C.: CCRP Press.
- Strategy and position paper by Lieutenant Colonel Bobbie L. Randall USAF
- Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority