Beware of Putting the Cart Before the Horse – Network Enabled Operations as a Canadian Approach to Transformation

Attention de ne pas Mettre la Charrue devant les Bœufs – Les Opérations Réseaucentriques comme Façon d’Aborder la Transformation au canada


  1. English, A.
  2. Gimblett, R.
  3. Coombs, H.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);KMG Associates, Kingston ONT (CAN)
Network Enabled Operations (NEOps) seems poised to become the driving concept behind CF transformation for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Canada’s tendency to follow the American lead in new concepts related to war and other operations. This paper examines NEOps and its progenitor, Network-Centric Warfare (NCW), and concludes that Canada and the CF should be cautious about using NCW as the foundation for NEOps, because the context and needs that are the basis for NCW may not be congruent with Canadian requirements. The paper examined the historical and theoretical roots of NEOps and NCW and found that NCW in particular is not really a theory of war, as its proponents claim, but a series of largely untested hypotheses or assumptions that require validation before they should be accepted as a basis for transformation. Recent Canadian Forces’ (CF) operations were examined and they reinforced the belief that the human network, not the technical network, should be the basis for future approaches to CF transformation. However, these operations also showed that a “one size fits all” approach to command and control, as proposed by many NCW advocates, may not be the best approach for networked operations, even in an increasingly integrated joint and combined operating environment. Perhaps most importantly, from a Canadian point of view and based on recent Canadian experience, using NEOps in the Joint, Interagency, Multinational, and Public (JIMP) or integrated

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network enabled operations;Canadian Forces;network-centric warfare;operating environments
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2005-212 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
19 Jul 2005
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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