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The authors of this report seek to understand how network-centric operations (NCO) capabilities are a source of combat power for the Army’s Stryker brigade and to determine the extent to which the tenets of NCO are realized by the unit. Using a broad range of measures of effectiveness, the authors compared the performance of a Stryker brigade with that of a nondigitized light infantry brigade in certification exercises at the Joint Readiness Training Center and found that the Stryker brigade’s superior networking capabilities, superior shared situational awareness, speed of command, and ability to control the speed of command vastly improved the brigade’s performance in these exercises. Using NCO measures of effectiveness, this analysis shed light on the NCO capabilities that made the Stryker brigade a more agile and effective combat force. The authors conclude by discussing the potential implications of future NCO capabilities for future Army forces.

The research described in this report was prepared for 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.

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