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The Rise and Fall of Network Centric Warfare is an account of how an ambitious theory of war emerged at the dawn of the 21st Century, and how it fared on the battlefield (principally in Afghanistan and Iraq).
Simultaneously, it is also an account of how revolutionary military concepts emerge, the difficulties that they face when attempts are made to reinterpret them in specific ways and to apply them in haste in active battlefields, and the insights that they yield into how the problematic of future war is addressed. The work consists of two narrative themes that run simultaneously and which are inextricably bound to each other. The first has a three-fold objective: first, to trace the ontogenetic and phylogenetic processes by means of which Network-centric Warfare (NCW) as a “new” theory of war emerged; second, to highlight the critiques and resistance that this theory of war faced in US and global strategic-military and military-bureaucratic circles and the underlying rationale that fuelled such critiques and resistance; third, to examine how this theory of war – construed in a predominantly techno-instrumentalist sense - was applied in active military operations (principally in Afghanistan and Iraq). The second narrative also has a three-fold objective. First, to examine the impact of information and communication technologies on theorizing war and in the formulation of emergent strategic-military postures; Second, to identify and explicate the performative contradiction that this theory of war inherited from preceding discussions on the Revolution in Military Affairs; third, to posit the concept of NCW (and its subsequent theorization) as a revolutionary military concept that carries with it the potential to not simply impact the conduct of war, but to also influence how the future of war may be imagined.
This book will be of much interest to students of military theory, strategic studies, war and conflict studies, critical security studies, and IR in general.