Importing the American way of war? : the adoption of network-centric warfare by the British and German armed forces
Title: Importing the American way of war? : the adoption of network-centric warfare by the British and German armed forces
Author: WIESNER, Ina
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the adoption of network-centric warfare (NCW) by two military organisations – the British and the German Armed Forces – in the first decade of the 21st century. NCW stands for the belief that through the extended application of information technologies and the integration of intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, command and control systems and weapons into one single network, military organisations will be able to better collect crucial military information, thus reduce operational uncertainty and gain a decisive information advantage over their enemies, which thus would translate into superiority over the enemy on the battlefield. NCW was invented by U.S. senior military officers and Pentagon officials and was introduced into the U.S. Armed Forces as part of the U.S. military transformation during the tenure of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (2001-2006). Although NCW had been criticised from the beginning, initial military accomplishments in the Afghanistan war (2001) and the invasion in Iraq (2003) have been widely interpreted as success stories for NCW. Since 2001, a number of U.S. military allies and partners – among them the United Kingdom and Germany – have started to adopt this U.S. innovation. Yet, in a number of cases the adopted national versions of NCW diverged considerably from the original U.S. concept. This study seeks to uncover the reasons for the variation in concept adoption. Building upon an organisational institutionalist framework, I argue that, in the United Kingdom, NCW was adopted to increase the military effectiveness and efficiency of the armed forces, whereas the adoption in Germany was mainly driven by the aim to maintain the armed forces’ institutional legitimacy. Thus, in the case of NCW adoption, the British military was an efficiency maximiser whereas the German military was a legitimacy maximiser.
Defence date: 3 October 2011; Examining Board: Pascal Vennesson (European University Institute/Supervisor) Adrienne Héritier (European University Institute) Theo Farrell (King’s College London) Gerhard Kümmel (Bundeswehr Institute for Social Sciences)
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