Power to the edge

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Power to the edge refers to the ability of an organization to dynamically synchronize its actions; achieve command and control (C2) agility; and increase the speed of command over a robust, networked grid. The term is most commonly used in relation to military organizations, but it can equally be used in a civilian context.

"Power to the edge" is an information and organization management philosophy first articulated by the U.S. Department of Defense in a publication by Dr. David S. Alberts and Richard E. Hayes in 2003 titled: "Power to the Edge: Command...Control...in the Information Age." This book was published by the Command and Control Research Program and can be downloaded from the Program's website.


Power to the edge advocates the following:

  • Achieving situational awareness rather than creating a single operational picture
  • Self-synchronizing operations instead of autonomous operations
  • Information "pull" rather than broadcast information "push"
  • Collaborative efforts rather than individual efforts
  • Communities of Interest (COIs) rather than stovepipes
  • "Task, post, process, use" rather than "task, process, exploit, disseminate"
  • Handling information once rather than handling multiple data calls
  • Sharing data rather than maintaining private data
  • Persistent, continuous information assurance rather than perimeter, one-time security
  • Bandwidth on demand rather than bandwidth limitations
  • IP-based transport rather than circuit-based transport
  • Net-Ready KPP rather than interoperability KPP
  • Enterprise services rather than separate infrastructures
  • COTS based, net-centric capabilities rather than customized, platform-centric IT


The philosophy of power to the edge is aimed at achieving organizational agility. Such agility has six attributes:

  • Robustness: the ability to maintain effectiveness across a range of tasks, situations, and conditions
  • Resilience: the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune, damage, or a destabilizing perturbation in the environment
  • Responsiveness: the ability to react to a change in the environment in a timely manner
  • Flexibility: the ability to employ multiple ways to succeed and the capacity to move seamlessly between them
  • Innovation: the ability to do new things and the ability to do old things in new ways
  • Adaptation: the ability to change work processes and the ability to change the organization

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