Who Runs What in the Global Information Grid

Ways to Share Local and Global Responsibility

by Martin C. Libicki


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Traditionally, information provided to warfighters only gave them broad situational awareness. Today, information from sensors and databases can help warfighters target past what they can see. This has prompted the Department of Defense (DoD) to build a military analog to the Internet, to be a font of warfighting information (and system services). But how should responsibility for providing information and services be shared between global external sources and organic local sources? Both will be necessary, and sensor characteristics matter. But sometimes the need for integrated battlespace pictures (e.g., the Recognized Air Picture) pushes responsibility higher. Thus, tools are needed to let commanders use whatever information from whatever sources fits their needs at a given time. A strong bias toward interoperability would foster universal access to information. Liberal distribution of unit-level sensors and connectivity should help warfighters develop and share operational information. And better technology is needed to marry local and global information sources more easily. Finally, some entity within DoD should review current information services and lay out a road map for filling in the blanks.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Centralize or Decentralize?

  • Chapter Three

    Who Provides the Data?

  • Chapter Four

    Who Provides Which Services?

  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix A

    Global Provisioning of Local Equipment

  • Appendix B

    Twenty-One Missions Analyzed

Research conducted by

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