Information Sharing in Contemporary Operations: Lessons from Special Operation Forces

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 50
Oral Presentation
Delphine RESTEIGNE , Chair of Sociology, Royal Military Academy, Brussels, Belgium
Steven VAN DEN BOGAERT , Ministry of Defense, Belgium
Due to the complexity of contemporary operations, efficient information sharing has been identified as one of the main challenges of multinational coalitions. Today’s operations are conducted by military personnel from a diverse background often operating in a foreign environment alongside host nation military and police forces. Drawing on the experiences of the special operations community in “counter-network operations” in Iraq and Afghanistan, some western military organizations are capturing the lessons of these units. By flattening their command structures, levering state-of –the art technology and adopting a mindset of “need to share” instead of “need to know”, these organizations strive for a shorter “sensor to decision time”. Military organizations, while experimenting with the new possibilities of information technology such as Secure Video Tele Conference (SVTC) and collaborative chat rooms, at the same time are re-learning the importance of the human dimension. The age-old lessons of mission command still apply. The commander giving broad guidance and trusting the judgment of his subordinates seems to be the only alternative. This paper examines these trends in information management in modern military command centers and puts them in a broader societal and cultural context.