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User-Oriented Netcentric Warfare

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By David Perera March 30, 2007

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This week in updated military netcentric terminology: "Common operating picture" is out. "User-oriented picture" is in.

“The user is the one who knows what they need,” said Cheryl Roby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for resources. Roby spoke Thursday at the annual Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems industry day in Bethesda, Md.

Getting all four services to pool their tactical information so warfighters can have a single identical display of relevant data has been a longstanding goal of netcentric warfare -- the concept that the military should be faster, lighter and even more lethal, thanks to an information edge allowing troops to find and shoot enemies before they attack.

But missing from a common information picture is the notion that users should have access to the information that’s most relevant to them, Roby said. “They want to be able to tailor the information to their culture, their experience, their situation, and dictating by saying ‘Here’s the picture’ is not the way we want to operate in this netcentric culture,” she added.

Also on the outs should be the word "joint", Roby said. Once upon a time, “jointness” between the four services was quite the buzzword around the Pentagon, but it fails to encapsulate the breadth of U.S. military operations, Roby said. For one thing, there’s the rest of the federal government. Then there’s the allies we would work with on military or humanitarian missions. “Then we finally realized there’s a whole world out there,” Roby said. The word that sums it up? "Enterprise."

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