Mission command in the information age: a normal accidents perspective on networked military operations

B.J.A. van Bezooijen, E.H. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Theory on the use of information technology in military operations assumes that bringing together units in an information network helps units to work together. Decentralized command systems such as mission command have been proposed for these networks, so that units can adapt to changes in their turbulent working environments. Others have proposed centralized command systems that permit higher organizational levels to closely direct military operations. This article uses Perrow’s (1984, 1999) Normal Accidents Theory to propose that increasing interdependencies between units in information networks places incompatible demands on the design of networked military operations. It is concluded that networked military operations require decentralized command approaches, but only under the condition that interdependencies between modules of networked units are weak rather than tight. This precondition is essential for retaining control over networked military operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-466
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Military Innovation
  • Military Transformation
  • Mission Command (Auftragstaktik)
  • Network-Centric Warfare

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