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Toward information superiority the contribution of operational net assessment.

Editorial Abstract: Dr. Wielhouwer notes that achieving decision superiority hinges on information superiority. He introduces the concept of operational net assessment, as well as its process and product, identifying them as enablers of effects-based planning and effects-based operations. The synergy of these tools provides joint force commanders extensive information in advance of a crisis, leading to actionable knowledge and decision superiority that facilitate the effective application of diplomatic, economic, informational, and military power.

During the short part of summer which remained, Caesar ... resolved to proceed into Britain.... He thought it would be of great service to him if he only entered the island, and saw into the character of the people, and got knowledge of their localities, harbors, and landing-places, all which were for the most part unknown to the Gauls.... After having called up to him the merchants from all parts, he could learn neither what was the size of the island, nor what or how numerous were the nations which inhabited it, nor what system of war they followed, nor what customs they used, nor what harbors were convenient for a great number of large ships.

He [sent] before him Caius Volusenus with a ship of war, to acquire a knowledge of these particulars before he in person should make a descent into the island, as he was convinced that this was a judicious measure.

--Gaius Julius Caesar The Gallic Wars, Book 4


IN LATE SUMMER of 55 BC, Julius Caesar needed actionable knowledge. He knew that the quality of intelligence at his disposal was inadequate as he prepared for invading the British Isles, and he understood that he should judiciously gather as much information as he could. He identified what he needed prior to planning for action--information about the people, their war-fighting system, their character and customs, their military assets (such as harbors and the geography of the island), and ways of using those assets for his intended efforts. To acquire this information, Caesar tapped into multiple sources--some not helpful (a multinational corporate contingent) and others more fruitful (military intelligence).

Times have changed, but they haven't changed that much. As Caesar and generations of military leaders have understood, knowledge is central to effective war fighting. Joint force commanders require timely, relevant, and actionable knowledge in advance of military operations, and the scope of information required today boggles the mind. As a consequence, the needs of contemporary data processing challenge the effective synthesis of information.

For that reason, Joint Vision 2020 identified information superiority as a key enabler of the US military's full-spectrum dominance. Defined as the capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to do the same, (1) information superiority is facilitated by continued advances and proliferation of communications and information technology. (2) Still, the concept "provides the joint force a competitive advantage only when it is effectively translated into superior knowledge and decisions. The joint force must be able to take advantage of superior information converted to superior knowledge to achieve 'decision superiority.'" (3)

The services' doctrines and transformation plans have further developed the vision of information superiority articulated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force doctrine, for example, identifies information superiority as one of that service's distinctive capabilities. (4) The U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan specifies information superiority as a key enabler of joint and service transformation, supporting such concepts as effects-based operations (EBO), parallel warfare, and decision-cycle dominance. (5) United States Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has developed operational net assessment (ONA) as an advanced, coherent knowledge environment and integrated tool that serves the information needs of combatant commanders and leaves intact their discretion in the operational arts.

With roots in traditional military theory, the concept makes substantial advances in the broader context of Pentagon transformation and the demands of twenty-first-century warfare. Integral to effects-based planning and operations, ONA enhances awareness of the complexity of an adversary's internal dynamics and provides insights into likely responses to military and nonmilitary actions. It thus affords commanders a more fully integrated knowledge base for planning and facilitates more effective application of all the instruments of national power. Although plans called for original implementation of the concept in about 2015, experimentation has shown that many of ONA's ideas and constructs have near-term utility.

An examination of the term operational net assessment itself should prove helpful in introducing the concept. Operational refers to the concept's focus on the operational level of war, including military operations, planning, and intelligence functions. Net conveys ONA's comprehensive character, integrating a wide range of information relevant to a particular problem. Assessment alludes to the systematic collation, analysis, and review of pertinent information to develop a decision maker's knowledge base. Thus, it is a knowledge-centered process for leveraging information and expert analysis for the operational needs of commanders and decision makers, yielding a product that enables more effective planning.

Roots and Development

ONA's development occurs in the broader context of the revolution in military affairs and Pentagon transformation. As noted by the director of the Office of Force Transformation, "Movement of societies from the industrial age to the information age is altering the efficacy of the methods and means that have defined our military capabilities for the better part of a century. Many well-developed concepts, tools, and capabilities of the industrial age are simply inadequate to the pace, rules and relationships of the age of information." (6) Exploring new joint war-fighting concepts and capabilities is JFCOM's tasking. (7) Responsibility for concept development, experimentation, and prototyping resides in the Joint Experimentation Directorate (J9), which develops capabilities and concepts that, through vigorous debate, collaboration, refinement, and prototyping, will increase the effectiveness of joint force commanders in the field. (8)

Intellectual Roots

As a tool facilitating information superiority, ONA has its conceptual roots in military theories, both ancient and modern. Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of knowing one's adversary, oneself, and the respective strengths and weaknesses of both. ONA's information-collation and synthesis capability places it clearly in the Chinese general's tradition. It expands the relevant areas of knowledge, however, integrating a wider range of nonmilitary information in its knowledge base. In this sense, ONA draws on Clausewitz's premise that war, as a policy instrument, is not limited to military actors. ONA facilitates the application of diplomatic, information, military, and economic national capabilities in pursuing the national interest.

Another Clausewitzian notion reflected in ONA and EBO is centers of gravity, defined in joint doctrine as those "characteristics, capabilities, or localities from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight." (9) Col John Boyd argued that Clausewitz "failed to develop the idea of generating many noncooperative centers of gravity by striking at those vulnerable yet critical tendons, connections, and activities that permit a larger center of gravity to exist ... paralyz[ing] the adversary by denying him the opportunity to operate in a directed fashion." (10) Col John A. Warden III also responded to the original center-of-gravity concept by conceiving the adversary as a system of interrelated systems, with strategic centers that influence other centers and systems: "The concept of centers of gravity is simple in concept but difficult in execution because of the likelihood that more than one center will exist at any time and that each center will have an effect of some kind on the others." (11) ONA and EBO explicitly analyze the linkages (tendons, connections, and activities) among multiple centers of gravity and among multiple systems.

Finally, Boyd also introduced the concept of the observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop for decision making and emphasized becoming oriented to an adversary and the dynamics of a competitive situation. (12) ONA and its use in effects-based planning provide a commander the historical, cultural, social, and political background necessary for "getting inside" the opponent's mind and decision cycle. Numerous experiments show that advance knowledge and organization speed up the orientation and planning needed for effective joint war fighting in the future.

Experimentation and War Gaming

In addition to the joint concept development, experimentation, and prototyping in JFCOM J9, the services maintain their own concept-development and experimentation processes. As noted by Maj Gen Michael Gould, USAF, "Let's face it. Joint warfighting is the key to winning our nation's wars. If we expect our combat forces to effectively plan campaigns and interoperate on the battlefield, it's imperative that we lay the right foundation by working together in joint concept development, experimentation, [and] by crafting joint functional and operational concepts." (13) One finds numerous examples of Air Force participation in Department of Defense and joint experiments and war games.

Since its origination in the Rapid Decisive Operations war game of 2000, ONA's elements have undergone assessment and refinement in major and limited-objective experiments. (14) Millennium Challenge 02 (MC 02), a congressionally mandated, operational-level joint experiment, combined live forces with virtual and constructive ones. (The Air Force first experimented with its Global Strike concept in this experiment.) MC 02 had the overall purpose of assessing the ability of a joint task force to execute rapid, decisive operations, given a set of enabling and supporting concepts. In the experiment, ONA demonstrated the potential to contribute to EBO by providing a more thorough understanding of the adversary. Pinnacle Impact 03, to which the Air Force contributed its Decisive Coercive Operations concept, also generated several important findings related to future information operations and superiority.

In July 2004, the Air Force's Concept Development and Strategy Division and JFCOM cosponsored the Unified Engagement 04 (UE 04) war game, their first such partnership. Set in 2015, the war game emphasized assessing the Air Force's distinctive capabilities of air and space superiority, global attack, precision engagement, information superiority, rapid mobility, and agile combat support, along with other joint war-fighting concepts. The game included the US services, governmental agencies, and international coalition partners. Although application of EBO faced major challenges in the game, the subsequent UE 04 Senior Leadership Seminar noted the importance of ONA:
 At the strategic and operational level the Combined
 Forces Commander needs to have ready
 access to, or at least to fully understand, the range
 of national instruments of power available, in
 order to allow the broader selection of methods
 to achieve the desired effects.... Effects-Based
 Operations hinges on a uniformly understood,
 thorough, accurate and up-to-date operational
 assessment of the enemy. This net assessment
 should not be solely limited to military considerations
 but must cover all facets of the enemy
 which can be affected by our own elements of
 national power. (15)

Applications of Operational Net Assessment

In conjunction with intelligence-planning tools, ONA enables effects-based planning and operations. (16) EBO stresses a more comprehensive understanding of the enemy, in contrast to traditional approaches that emphasize force ratios and simple attrition. Given the strategic objectives of national security, EBO "focuses on combining and coordinating all elements of national power, military and non-military, to achieve its goals by influencing the will and perception of the adversary's decision-makers." (17) Developing a clearer, more comprehensive situational awareness is a key function of ONA.

In service of EBO, ONA enhances a commander's understanding of the internal complexity of an adversary and provides planning tools for developing actionable recommendations on applying relevant capabilities to achieve desired outcomes. Some early efforts at effects-based war fighting may not have lived up to expectations, but experience and experimentation have yielded improvements in EBO and its related concepts. (18) Early conceptual critiques also served to strengthen and revise the EBO concept and its application, winning over some critics. (19)

One of the environments to which ONA contributes is the Standing Joint Force Headquarters Core Element (SJFHQ[CE]), a joint command-and-control element being established at each combatant command. (20) The SJFHQ(CE) assists a combatant commander, joint force commander, and their staffs in gaining thorough regional situational understanding when operations require an integrated joint response. The element's battlespace awareness is facilitated in concert among ONA; joint-intelligence preparation of the battlespace; predictive battlespace awareness; and crisis-oriented, national-intelligence support teams. As an operational-planning tool, ONA complements these other intelligence initiatives by filling in knowledge gaps on nonmilitary systems and nodes, thus providing deeper situational understanding in advance of joint-force deployments. Area experts in the SJFHQ(CE) Information Superiority Group apply ONA to effects-based planning and component training in the continuum between normal and crisis conditions. (21)

Once a situation emerges that requires response from the joint task force, conditions can change rapidly, and the ONA analysis and update process becomes much more dynamic. Although ONA is most fully developed in terms of precrisis, baseline planning, its functioning during operations and assessment is still formative. By design, ONA's supporting role for EBO requires input to and feedback from effects-based assessment. (22) Both ONA and effects-based assessment will influence intelligence requirements during operations to update the ONA process and knowledge base (discussed below). One then uses the updated knowledge base to adjust planning and operations: "Ideally [the continuous, collaborative ONA process] continues through all phases of a campaign. During crisis response, ... analysts must update and maintain their analysis at a rate at least equal to the adversary's ability to adapt." (23) Whether ONA will meet those expectations in real crises is an empirical question that remains under examination.

Similar collaborative-planning networks and joint war-fighting structures have been emphasized in recent efforts to reengineer the Air Force's command structure in support of an expeditionary Air Force. Air and space expeditionary task forces currently support joint force commanders on a temporary basis in order to perform specific missions requiring a customized set of air, space, and information capabilities. (24) Proactive integration with SJFHQ(CE) is linked with evolution toward a fully joint air and space headquarters. (25) Having provided background on ONA's theoretical and intellectual origins and having described its operational context as a planning tool in the SJFHQ(CE) in support of EBO, let us turn to the process and product that is operational net assessment.

The Operational Net Assessment Process, Knowledge Base, and Planning Tools

The ONA process is a framework for collecting and analyzing information related to the commander's battlespace. It synthesizes a superior knowledge base (compared to earlier information databases) into a coherent understanding about friendly and unfriendly forces, strategic objectives, and capabilities. ONA analysts continually generate and analyze information from many sources. They compile a knowledge base on specific regions as well as national and international actors, accessible through a Web-based knowledge portal.

Data collation and knowledge development are perpetual and collaborative, involving governmental, nongovernmental, and multinational partners. Governmental participants include agencies such as the Departments of State and Treasury and the military services. Nongovernmental actors include subject-matter experts, centers of excellence, industry partners, and other sources in the public domain. Multinational partners include allies' military and intelligence services, and the Multinational Interoperability Council.

System-of-Systems Analysis

The central framework for studying an adversary is known as system-of-systems analysis. (26) A central task in linking political objectives and military strategy entails "analyz[ing] completely our potential opponent's ideology and his political, economic, military, and cultural systems." (27) Extending beyond comprehension of military systems and capabilities, adversaries are understood as multidimensional and comprised of internal political systems, economic systems, transportation and infrastructure systems, formal and informal social structures, and information networks.

This approach to adversary analysis also acknowledges that some foreign systems have external facets (such as the presence of American or multinational corporations). Actions taken against any one of these systems will likely have effects that spill over into the other systems. ONA ascertains the cause-and-effect relationships within and between those systems and identifies leverage points that one might act upon in order to influence the adversary.

The events of 11 September 2001 illustrate the United States' system of systems. Following the attacks, America's air-transportation system shut down for days, and the airline industry has only recently shown signs of recovery. The national government consolidated homeland-security institutions, and significant internal-security latitude has accrued to the Department of Justice. The nation went to war, which became an important issue in the 2004 elections. Even Americans' Internet usage changed. (28) In short, 9/11 had wide-ranging effects on the US economy, politics, infrastructure management, and information systems.

The well-coordinated attack had a profound impact throughout our system of systems. Operational Net Assessment's Knowledge Base The ONA process yields a baseline ONA product--its knowledge base. Accessed by commanders and planners through a dedicated, Web-based knowledge portal, it augments an existing knowledgeable and well-networked staff. This combination of the knowledge base and staff provides the decision maker with summaries and a comprehensive analysis of the adversary's military and nonmilitary characteristics and capacities. The ONA knowledge base is regularly updated, based on emerging strategic and operational objectives, with information and feedback provided by effects-based assessment.

The knowledge base organizes information into one or more categories--political, military, economic, social, information, and infrastructure (PMESII, pronounced pu-mee'-see). (29) Multiple classifications are possible; an airport, for instance, might be economic, military, or both. Items in the knowledge base are thoroughly linked, based on input from subject-matter experts and other sources. Each datum includes information about its significance, both in the context of its PMESII system type and in the system of systems.

In service of EBO, analysts classify each datum as a node, action, or effect. A node is a person, place, or thing against which one takes action in order to produce an effect. An action is a diplomatic, informational, military, or economic activity that one may take against a node. An effect is the physical state or behavior that results from one or more actions. A primary direct effect of an action achieves a commander's chief intent. Secondary direct effects from that action also occur but are not the commander's main objective, while second-order indirect effects are cascading consequences of an action. Finally, suggested resources for producing effects are linked to nodes and actions but are pitched at a very general level, leaving to commanders the operational arts. During the Gulf War of 1991, the planning for attacks on the Iraqi air-defense sector operations centers used an early EBO concept:
 Initially, air planners determined that destruction
 of the facilities [an action] would require
 eight F-117s to deliver four 2,000-pound bombs
 [resources] against each of the hardened underground
 facilities [nodes]. However, planners
 argued that to achieve the effect desired, the facilities
 had only to be rendered inoperative [the
 desired effect]. Therefore, complete destruction
 was not necessary; forcing the operators to
 abandon the facility and cease operations would
 achieve the desired effect. In this case, effects-based
 thinking and operations produced the
 most efficient and effective way to employ force,
 achieve the commander's intent and increase
 flexibility and responsiveness by freeing up scarce
 assets for use elsewhere. (30)

Planning Tools

The ONA knowledge base includes a variety of tools that support a commander's planning process. An effect/node/action/resource (E/N/A/R) sequence begins with identifying the desired effect; relevant nodes, prospective actions, and applicable resources are linked sequentially. Importantly, the planning tool identifies multiple--including unexpected--predictable linkages. This allows decision makers to see in advance an action's expected and unintended first- and second-order effects and to become aware of potential undesired or counterproductive effects.

ONA planning tools export to Microsoft Word or Excel, making it easy to integrate output into message traffic and planning documents. A sample plan exported to Word from the ONA unclassified knowledge base for Indonesia implements strategic and planning guidances to maintain freedom of navigation (FON) in the Singapore Strait by enlisting government support (see table). (31) The "Effect Priorities" section shows the primary effect articulated in terms of the behavior we desire: O/P [Orange and Purple] leadership does not inhibit FON or Orange and Purple leadership takes no actions that restrict FON. (Orange and Purple are experimentation references to countries under analysis, here Indonesia and Malaysia; the effect is numbered E0001P.)

The "Effect/Node/Action (E/N/A)" sequence links the desired effect with two nodes and actions. The node Commander in chief, Indonesian armed forces is linked to the action Influence O/P military (through "direct use of media and intelligence assets to provide direct influence"). The node President of Indonesia is linked to the action Congressional/parliamentary engagement. The "Resources" section links the sequence to Foreign offices, Defense ministries, and Other governmental departments/ministries. Resources associated with a different effect (O/P military does not block straits) and action (Position military force in-theater) are also listed.

Several graphic layouts for E/N/A linkages are being developed at JFCOM J9--for example, the desired effect (O/P leadership does not inhibit FON) and links to nodes, other effects, and selected actions (effects, nodes, and actions vary a bit from those in the table, due to selection of display options and editing) (see fig.). Several nodes are linked to the effect, including domestic politicians, foreign leaders, and international organizations. A selection of possible actions is linked to two of the nodes; small icons on the boxes refer to expandable E/N/A links for optional display.


Both examples clarify that ONA tools are not limited to military actions that one can take in pursuit of desired effects. In fact, most of the nodes and actions are nonmilitary, expanding a commander's awareness of planning options and resources. Moreover, one notes four other effects closely linked to the desired effect, broadening operational and tactical perspectives (see fig.). Decision makers share the ONA knowledge base, yielding a common holistic understanding of the battlespace. By enabling faster planning and better decisions, it becomes central to long-term efforts toward information superiority for joint force commanders.

Future Capabilities

Whether ONA reaches its full potential hinges on some capabilities that may not exist before 2015. Early ONA experimentation led to recommending the development of a knowledge-advantage capability to increase access to the full body of knowledge available to the US government and multinational partners. Other future ONA-related concepts include networks of centers of excellence, subject-matter experts, and communities of interest for collaborating on detailed cause-and-effect analysis of adversary systems. Finally, the instantiation of ONA in commands will permit assessment of its performance in crises.

Hardware and software capabilities, now at an immature stage of development, have yet to fully enable ONA's capacity to synthesize an extraordinary amount of information. Still under development are new analytic and collaborative tools, interoperable databases, and automated security tools to facilitate and protect information sharing and processing. Applications that capture intangible PMESII information (such as social, political, and religious data) are not yet fully formed. The ability to model and simulate adversary responses is currently limited, as is our capacity to forecast behavior accurately. Finally, effective implementation of ONA requires leadership, education, and training, including methodologies for effects-based planning and operations.

Toward Information Superiority for Joint War Fighters

Future joint forces will rely on our capacities to "gather, integrate, and apply more data, information, and knowledge than analysts and policy makers in earlier eras." (32) Still, the need for reliable information dates from ancient times, as one can confirm in the writings of Sun Tzu, Caesar, and others. Effective use of information results when one derives actionable knowledge from a detailed understanding of an adversary's systems, capabilities, and intentions and delivers it in time to make planning and operational decisions for engaging the adversary. (33) ONA facilitates information superiority more effectively than legacy planning in several ways.

First, one must consider ONA in relation to the EBO and SJFHQ(CE) concepts. All three seem poised to make significant contributions at the operational and tactical levels of joint operations planning. As a concept supporting information superiority, ONA permits joint force commanders to "hit the ground running" upon formation of a joint task force. This can occur because ONA's persistent development begins long before one requires its content. When a crisis emerges, the planning process is streamlined because the command's learning curve is essentially eliminated. This simplification permits the command to avert other downstream complications associated with ad hoc establishment of a joint task force.

Second, the ONA knowledge base, grounded in the system-of-systems analytical construct, reflects the reality that adversaries are not monolithic but complex and adaptive. ONA's collaborative acquisition and analysis of PMESII information provide a more fully integrated and holistic picture of the actors with whom a commander must engage. This reduces uncertainty (but does not eliminate it) in the commander's battlespace.

Moreover, because ONA facilitates application of the diplomatic, informational, economic, and military instruments of national power, it can support a variety of operations other than war. These may include law enforcement, humanitarian assistance, homeland security and defense, civil affairs, and infrastructure protection and restoration. Indeed, recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan show that many distinctions between planning for war and planning for operations other than war have dissolved. (34)

Third, the ONA knowledge base and planning tools do more than simply provide additional information to planners. Preanalyzed links among effects, nodes, actions, and resources provide a commander's staff with rapidly actionable knowledge. The commander's resulting information superiority enables effects-based planning and operations. Reports generated by the ONA knowledge base clarify the expected and unanticipated effects of actions taken against key nodes in the battlespace. Ensuring that decision makers have a broad awareness of the range of resources and predictable effects of actions will improve situational awareness and understanding, increasing the likelihood of achieving desired effects in pursuit of strategic objectives.

One can also make the case that ONA's contribution to EBO permits joint war fighting to meet the standards of a "just war," to a degree that far exceeds any military's capacity in history. More effective and efficient planning improves our capacity for meeting the jus in bello standard of proportionality, so that we do not apply tactics excessive in proportion to war-fighting objectives: "Underlying and shaping these military accomplishments [of the Iraq War] is the Western moral tradition. Perhaps more than any other single factor, the Christian 'just war' tradition has defined the scope and style of Coalition engagement. At the heart of that tradition is the obligation to use all reasonable means to protect innocent lives from the ravages of war." (35)

A related concept--effects-based targeting--is useful for discriminating targets of military necessity from targets with a high risk of unnecessary collateral damage, meeting the just-war principle of discrimination. For example, analysis of Operation Allied Force (Serbia, 1999) "suggests that joint planners should never have sent many of the targets forward because of a lack of military significance to the stated objectives and the likelihood of disproportionate collateral damage." (36) By contrast, in the Iraq war of 2003, "new intelligence assets and targeted planning ... allowed the United States and Britain to seek to paralyze and destroy a regime, not bomb a country." (37)

Finally, at the tactical level, the commander's improved battlespace awareness will also profit joint war fighters, as amply demonstrated by EBO execution in Iraq. On 18-19 March 2003, coalition aircraft so effectively targeted Iraqi air traffic control and antiaircraft assets that they obtained near-total air dominance before ground forces arrived in country on 20 March. (38) Joint war fighters clearly benefited from an improved capacity for applying information about enemy forces and the location of weapons systems. Moreover, combining such awareness with other technical advances associated with networkcentric warfare should significantly reduce incidents of fratricide. (39)

Experience and war games, including the recent UE 04, have led to the conclusion that achieving decision superiority hinges on the ability to achieve information superiority, which in turn leads to improved situational awareness and decisive strategic advantage. It is the joint vision for information superiority that stimulated the development of ONA. By providing joint force commanders with extensive information in advance of a crisis, as well as actionable knowledge with planning tools for such a situation, ONA facilitates decision superiority in the heat of the crisis. In the same way that Caesar found it judicious to acquire sufficient information about his opponent in advance of war, we are actively pursuing the modern imperatives of information and decision superiority by fielding the emergent capabilities of operational net assessment.


(1.) Joint Vision 2020 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 2000), 8.

(2.) For example, Paul W. Phister Jr. and Igor G. Plonisch, "Military Applications of Information Technologies," Air and Space Power Journal 18, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 77-90.

(3.) Joint Vision 2020, 8.

(4.) Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 17 November 2003, 76-79.

(5.) The U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan (Washington, DC: Headquarters US Air Force, Future Concepts and Transformation Division, 2004), chap. 7, http://www. USAF_Transformation_Flight_Plan.pdf. (Hereafter Transformation Flight Plan.)

(6.) Arthur K. Cebrowski, "Transformation and the Changing Character of War?" Transformation Trends, Office of Force Transformation, Department of Defense, 17 June 2004, TransformationTrends-17June2004Issue.pdf.

(7.) USCINCACOM, Joint Warfighting Experimentation Charter, 15 May 1998, 1998/b05211998_bt252-98.html.

(8.) Director, Joint Concept Development and Experimentation, "Delivering Innovation: The JCDE Campaign Plan, FY 2004-2011," draft, March 2004.

(9.) Joint Publication (JP) 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, 12 April 2001, 80. For a critique of recent applications of the concept, see Lt Col Antulio J. Echevarria II, " 'Reining in' the Center of Gravity Concept," Air and Space Power Journal 17, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 87-96.

(10.) John Boyd, "Patterns of Conflict," 1986, http:// (accessed 30 August 2004).

(11.) Col John A. Warden III, "The Enemy as a System," Airpower Journal 9, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 49.

(12.) Boyd, "Patterns of Conflict."

(13.) Maj Gen Michael Gould (speech to JFCOM J9, Suffolk, VA, 30 January 2004).

(14.) "A Concept Paper for Operational Net Assessment" (Norfolk, VA: US Joint Forces Command, April 2004), 27-31.

(15.) Unclassified transcript, Unified Engagement 04 Senior Leadership Seminar, Potomac, MD, 10 August 2004, 35.

(16.) Lt Col Mark T. Satterly et al., "Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace--An Airman's Introduction," Air and Space Power Chronicles, July 1999, http://www.airpower.

(17.) Transformation Flight Plan, 7. See also JFCOM, Effects Based Operations Concept Primer (Norfolk, VA: US Joint Forces Command, November 2003); and Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), An Evolving Joint Perspective: US Joint Warfare and Crisis Resolution in the 21st Century (Washington, DC: Joint Vision and Transformation Division, JCS, 28 January 2003),

(18.) For example, Fred Kaplan, "The Flaw in Shock and Awe," Slate, 26 March 2003, id/2080745 (accessed 7 July 2004).

(19.) Antulio J. Echevarria II, "Rapid Decisive Operations: An Assumptions-Based Critique" (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, November 2001), report/2001/rapid.pdf (accessed 7 July 2004). See also James L. Boling, "Rapid Decisive Operations: The Emperor's New Clothes of Modern Warfare," in Essays 2002 (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 2002); and Echevarria, " 'Reining in' the Center of Gravity Concept."

(20.) Chairman, JCS, to commander, USJFCOM, memorandum, 2 November 2001, subject: Joint Experimentation Guidance Letter (CM 56-01).

(21.) Ray Baker, "SJFHQ Information Superiority Group," Joint Center for Lessons Learned Quarterly Bulletin 6 (June 2004): 42-48.

(22.) The term effects-based assessment replaces effects assessment in forthcoming EBO documents. Legacy ONA, EBO, and SJFHQ(CE) publications use the latter term.

(23.) "Concept Paper," 23.

(24.) AFDD 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 63.

(25.) Transformation Flight Plan, 39-40.

(26.) Similarly, "air intelligence evaluates the adversary as a 'system of systems' to predict likely effects on key adversary capabilities when action is taken against them to meet military objectives." AFDD 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 54-55.

(27.) Lt Col John N. T. Shanahan, "Shock-Based Operations: New Wine in an Old Jar," Air and Space Power Chronicles, 15 October 2001, airchronicles/cc/shanahan.html.

(28.) Lee Rainie et al., One Year Later: September 11 and the Internet, Pew Internet and American Life Project, 5 September 2002, 9-11_Report.pdf (accessed 12 July 2004).

(29.) "Concept Paper"; Operational Net Assessment Concept Primer (Norfolk, VA: US Joint Forces Command, October 2003); and Doctrinal Implications of Operational Net Assessment (ONA) (Norfolk, VA: Joint Warfighting Center, US Joint Forces Command, 24 February 2004), http://

(30.) Lt Col Allen W. Batschelet, "Effects-Based Operations for Joint Warfighters," Field Artillery, May-June 2003, 8.

(31.) The sample report and graphic visualization have been edited for presentation purposes, but their format and organization are essentially as produced by ONA.

(32.) Kirk Michealson and Dennis Baer, "Operations Analysis Support to Network Centric Operations," Phalanx 37 (June 2004): 16-17.

(33.) AFDD 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 54-55.

(34.) See also Gen Gordon R. Sullivan and Col James M. Dubik, "War in the Information Age," Military Review 74 (April 1994): 46-62.

(35.) Joseph Loconte, "Fighting a Just War in Iraq," Heritage Foundation WebMemo no. 251, 8 April 2003, (accessed 17 September 2004).

(36.) Maj Jeffrey L. Gingras and Maj Tomislav Z. Ruby, "Morality and Modern Air War," Joint Force Quarterly 25 (Summer 2000): 108.

(37.) Anthony Cordesman, The Iraq War: Strategies, Tactics, and Military Lessons (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2003), 29.

(38.) Ibid., 60-61. Of course, it helped that the paranoid regime ordered its entire fleet of MiG-23s, MiG-25s, and Mirage fighters disassembled and buried in the sand. For example, see David Zucchino, Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004), 138.

(39.) Transformation Flight Plan, 55; and Thomas Hone, "Why Transform?" Transformation Trends, Office of Force Transformation, Department of Defense, 2 July 2004.

DR. PETER W. WIELHOUWER, Portions of this article rely heavily upon several US Joint Forces Command publications, including "A Concept Paper for Operational Net Assessment" (Norfolk, VA: US Joint Forces Command, May 2004); Operational Net Assessment Concept Primer (Norfolk, VA: US Joint Forces Command, October 2003); and Doctrinal Implications of Operational Net Assessment (ONA) (Norfolk, VA: Joint Warfighting Center, US Joint Forces Command, 24 February 2004). I am grateful for careful review from Carl Schone, Gary Atkinson, and Charles Ferguson. Any remaining errors are my own.
Table. Example of an ONA report, exported to Microsoft Word

PLAN: Maintain Freedom of Navigation (FON)

Strategic guidance: Maintain FON.
Commander's intent: Ensure that all commercial shipping
 traffic is allowed to pass freely.
Plannin guidance: Enlist government support to assist in
 maintaining FON.
Measures of effectiveness: No commercial vessel is interdicted.

Effect Priorities:

Phase Task Planning Effect Effect

Influence Joint psychological 0 E0001 P: Orange
 operations task force and Purple (O/P)
 leadership does
 not inhibit FON.
Coerce Joint force land 0 E002M: O/P
 component commander increases military
 Joint force maritime cooperation.
 component commander
Compel Joint Interagency 0 E005P: Benefit of
 Coordination Group FON

Phase Description

Influence O/P leadership takes no actions that restrict
Coerce O/P increases military cooperation with coalition
 members. CJCS 151042Z FEB 03 states
 that every effort will be made by military planners
 to emphasize nonmilitary resources/
 solutions. Do not foresee use of military action
 other than theater engagement.
Compel O/P leadership persuaded of the economic
 and political benefits of ensuring FON.

Effect/Node/Action (E/N/A):

Sequence Effect Node

null E002M: O/P increases NID2100: Commander in chief,
 military cooperation. Indonesian armed forces
1 E0001 P: O/P leadership NID2100: Commander in chief,
 does not inhibit FON. Indonesian armed forces
2 E0001 P: O/P leadership NID1001: President of
 does not inhibit FON. Indonesia
3 E0002M: O/P military does NAF1003: Taliban leader
 not block straits.

Sequence Action

null A090: Engage in combined
 military exercises with O/P
1 A031: Influence O/P military.
2 A006: Congressional/
 parliamentary engagement
3 A004: High-level political-military


Resource: Effect

R029: Foreign offices E0001P: O/P leadership
 does not inhibit FON.
R030: Defense ministries
R031: Other governmental
R006.1: Maritime air E0002M: O/P military
 does not block straits.
R010.2: Subsurface forces
R013.1: Strategic bombers--strike
R014.2: Tactical bombers
R023.2: Special forces
R040.1: Port facilities
R041.1: Air bases
R071: Ability to win hearts and
 minds--great diplomats
R072: Clearance divers

Resource: Node

R029: Foreign offices NID1001: President of
R030: Defense ministries
R031: Other governmental
R006.1: Maritime air NID2106: Future TNIAL (Indonesian
 armed forces (navy) chief
R010.2: Subsurface forces
R013.1: Strategic bombers--strike
R014.2: Tactical bombers
R023.2: Special forces
R040.1: Port facilities
R041.1: Air bases
R071: Ability to win hearts and
 minds--great diplomats
R072: Clearance divers

Resource: Action

R029: Foreign offices A006: Congressional/
 parliamentary engagement
R030: Defense ministries
R031: Other governmental
R006.1: Maritime air A052: Position military
 force in-theater
R010.2: Subsurface forces
R013.1: Strategic bombers--strike
R014.2: Tactical bombers
R023.2: Special forces
R040.1: Port facilities
R041.1: Air bases
R071: Ability to win hearts and
 minds--great diplomats
R072: Clearance divers

Source: Created by the ONA database, JFCOM J9 ONA Team intranet,
19 August 2004 (edited for clarity).
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Author:Wielhouwer, Peter W.
Publication:Air & Space Power Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2005
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