Cover: Exploring Information Superiority

Exploring Information Superiority

A Methodology for Measuring the Quality of Information and Its Impact on Shared Awareness

Published 2004

by Walter L. Perry, David Signori, John E. Boon, Jr.


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As information and commmunications technologies continue to evolve, the U.S. military is constantly seeking ways to capitalize on all these developments. The goals are to maintain information superiority and ensure decision dominance. Assessing the resulting real-world effectiveness is a major challenge, in part because these have historically been considered qualitative concepts. But there are measureable elements--such as the accuracy of information about an enemy's location and strength--and it is possible to see, for example, how individuals and groups develop understandings about this "ground truth." Developing quantitative ways to flesh out these concepts requires concepts, metrics, hypotheses, and analytical methodologies that can be used to focus research efforts, identify and compare alternatives, and measure progress. This report describes a mathematical framework that decisionmakers might use to quantify a series of underlying concepts, such as situation awareness and group interactions. Much remains to be done in the cognitive domain, and such techniques as data fitting, experimentation, linking decisions and actions, historical analysis, and gaming will further advance knowledge in this area.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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