Network Science for Military Coalition Operations: Information Exchange and Interaction

Network Science for Military Coalition Operations: Information Exchange and Interaction

Dinesh Verma (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, USA)
Indexed In: SCOPUS
Release Date: April, 2010|Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 340
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-855-5
ISBN13: 9781615208555|ISBN10: 1615208550|EISBN13: 9781615208562|ISBN13 Softcover: 9781616922948
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Description & Coverage

Modern military coalition operations rely on the ability of multiple independently developed networks to function cohesively, allowing information collected by different sources to be transmitted, analyzed, processed, and provided to troops involved in tactical operations.

Network Science for Military Coalition Operations: Information Exchange and Interaction presents an advanced view of this delicate and vital operation. However, an understanding of the science behind coalition operations can benefit not just military operations, but any context in the modern world where two independent organizations need to collaborate together for a shared goal. In this age of globalization, the research in this book becomes of unprecedented importance, not only for the military, where most stable and advance techniques are required, but also for society at large, which also demands constant improvement in network science.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Coalition Information Networks
  • Conversation Analysis
  • Culturally Adaptive Policy Management
  • Federation and Interoperation of Coalition Networks
  • Graph Mining Technique
  • Mobile Ad Hoc Networks
  • Network Centric Operations
  • Secure Dynamic Community Establishment
  • Security across Disparate Management Domains
  • The Network-Extended Mind
Reviews and Testimonials

The emphasis in this definition is on the vision of a network of networks comprised of the connections among humans organized and interacting through technology and the transfer of information.

– John Gowens, U.S. Army Research Laboratories, USA
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Editor Biographies
Dinesh Verma is a researcher and senior manager in the Networking technology area at IBM T J Watson Research Center, Hawthorne, New York. He received his doctorate in Computer Networking from University of California Berkeley in 1992, the bachelors' in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India in 1987, and a Masters in Management of Technology from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY in 1998. He holds over twenty-eight US patents related to computer networks, and has authored over fifty papers and six books in the area. He is the program manager for the US/UK International Technology Alliance in Network Sciences. He is a fellow of the IEEE, and has served in various program committees and technical committees. His research interests include topics in wireless networks, network management, distributed computing, and autonomic systems.
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Modern military operations are based around the principle of network-centricity, in which information collected by different sources, both human as well as mechanical, are transmitted over the network, analyzed and processed, and the resulting intelligence provided to the troops involved in tactical operations. The growing importance of network-centric operations has led to interest in the emerging field of network science, which studies the properties and behavior of the different types of networks that arise in military operations. The understanding of networks is important to effectively use the distributed information and processing capability available to different troops involved in any aspect of network centric operations. However, the scope of network science is not limited to that of the military alone. The concepts of network science can be applied successfully to the networks that are encountered in commercial enterprises, telecommunications networks, as well as the general public which is interconnected to an ever-increasing extent due to the global pervasiveness of the Internet. Thus, network science and its advances are likely to benefit not just the domain of modern warfare, but society in general. A large number of military operations in the present age require the collaboration of multiple countries establishing a coalition. If we examine the number of military operations world-wide occurring since the end of the cold war to the present time, we will find that a preponderance of them involve a coalition of armies established in an asymmetric operation against insurgents or a rouge nation. Due to the current geopolitical situation and the increasing importance of using diplomacy and building international consensus before launching any military operation, coalition are likely to increase in importance and significance. As described further in this preface, coalition networks have some characteristics which are unique to the fact that they are composed after-the-fact from two or more networks that have evolved independently. In this book, we look at some of the advances made in the understanding of coalition networks. The chapters deal with issues in different types of networks that are found in the context of coalition operations, and follow the structure of communication networks, information networks, and human networks that are used in the basic field of network sciences. An understanding of the science behind coalition operations can benefit not just military operations, but any context in the modern world where two independent organizations need to collaborate together for a shared goal. In this age of globalization, commercial enterprises frequently outsource operations that are not considered to be within their core competency. Mergers and acquisitions require commercial enterprises to revisit their network and information processing infrastructure architecture and design. Furthermore, in an era of ever-changing technology, new partnerships and alliances frequently emerge with the alliance or partnership drawing upon the skills available among the various members. Most of the chapters that are included in this book describe research that was done within the context of the International Technology Alliance in Network and Information Sciences, a collaborative research program sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratories and the UK Ministry of Defence established to promote the science behind coalition networks. In an interesting application of some of the principles discussed in this book, the alliance itself is a conglomeration of different research labs, universities and government agencies. The authors of the various chapters have come across some of the challenges described in interconnecting and managing different computing elements, information sources and cultural differences while conducting their research in the context of the alliance.

Different Types of Networks

Networks of many types can be found in different organizations, including the military, commercial enterprises, telecommunications and in the daily lives of the public. Thanks to the ubiquitous reach of the Internet, being connected in different types of network is a natural part of modern life. Network science, in its general definition, attempts to understand, characterize and analyze these various types of networks. In order to categorize and understand the properties of the many different types of networks, the field of network science typically classifies networks into three types - communication networks, information networks and human network. Communication networks provide the infrastructure which interconnects different computers, mobile devices and other hardware and software elements available to different personnel involved in an operation. The primary function of communication networks is to provide the ability to carry bits of information between the different elements of the networks, e.g. an email sent on a PDA is delivered to the email program running on a geographically distant laptop. The phone network, the Internet, the satellite systems used for military surveillance, the different flavors of email and instant messaging are all examples of communication networks that are found in the modern technological society. Information networks provide the infrastructure that interconnects different elements of data that is available in a distributed communication network. While communication networks provide the ability to transfer the data among different distributed components, information networks provide the ability to analyze, process, and convert the data to yield useful information to the users of the network. Information networks include software systems that perform data analysis, data mining, knowledge extraction, problem diagnosis and the infrastructure that aims to make the conversion of data into knowledge more efficient. Such infrastructure can include technologies such as content distribution, caching, databases and data warehousing. The human network consists of the relations that exist between the users of the entire network and characterize their interactions with other users, information sources and computing elements that are present in the overall system. Human networks may be aided by some applications, e.g. social networking sites, but the human network is focused more generally on the set of users who are interacting with the information and/or communication networks. Human networking looks at the properties of social interaction among human users, and uses information about these interactions to improve the effectiveness of humans, either individually or as part of a collaborative team. All these different types of networks have some similarities, common characteristics and properties. These common properties that hold across all types of networks, e.g. the small world property of networks, are part of the scope of network science. However, each network has its own set of idiosyncrasies and properties that are valid only for that type of network. The study of properties that are specific to different types of networks also lies within the scope of network science.

Coalition Networks

In a coalition environment, the communication, information, and human networks need to satisfy some additional constraints which may be less pronounced or less prominent within the context of single-organization networks. There are also several scientific challenges that apply equally well to coalition and single-organization networks. Looking at the unique challenges that exist in the domain of communication networks, coalition networks need joint command and control of networks that may have evolved independently, use different technologies, and many not have adequate level of interoperability support between themselves. The different networks in the coalition may want to share some information about themselves to permit a joint view of operations and a joint management, but they may not be able to share full information about themselves to each other due to restrictions on the sharing of some sensitive information. As the different networks evolve over time, the best manner for them to interconnect may also change dynamically. Technologies need to be developed to address these challenges, and new theories are needed to understand the implications of interoperability among the different networks. In the context of information networks, information needs to be disseminated seamlessly across two or more different coalition partners, while complying with any policies or restrictions that may be imposed on the networks. This creates new challenges in understanding how the quality of information coming from different coalition partners can be characterized and understood, how the different assets belonging to the many partners can be brought together in a seamless whole, and how the information can be processed and analyzed efficiently across different organizations. The security attributes associated with the different elements of information and the differences in security practices of different coalition partners make designing and securing coalition information networks a particularly challenging exercise. In the context of human networks, differences in culture, communication patterns and behavior styles of different members coming from two different organizations can have a significant impact on coalition operations. An understanding of these differences and how they can be overcome to obtain effective operations is crucial for any endeavor that spans more than one organization. A big challenge associated with coalition operations that spans all three types of networks is the existence of different policies for different groups that make up the coalition. The differences in policies affect the operations of all aspects of communications, information, and human networks in coalition operations. Some of the recent advances made in improving the knowledge of network science for coalition operations are compiled in this book. The next section explains the structure of the book and the content of the different chapters.

Structure of the Book

Following the division of network science into the understanding of three different types of networks dealing with communication, information, and humans, the book is structured into sections that look at some of the challenges related to coalition operations in these different types of networks. The first section of the book looks at the issues of communications and information network, while the last (third) section looks at the issues in human and cognitive networks. The second section looks at another issue which impacts the operations of coalitions, security and policy management across different organizations. In the communications and information networks section, this book includes four chapters. The first chapter examines the challenges in inter-domain routing. The next chapter discusses approaches that can characterize quality of information in sensor networks. The third chapter provides a comprehensive survey of techniques used for mining of graph patterns in information networks. The final chapter in this section provides a survey of various approaches that address an important of problem in information networks, ensuring that a theater of operations can be covered by means of sensors. The second section of the book deals with the security issues in coalition contexts, with a specific focus on the exploitation of policy technologies to solve the unique security problems arising in coalition contexts. This section consists of four papers, with the first chapter looking at security issues that arise in coalition networks. The second chapter proposes a method for federating multiple coalition networks into a single one while resolving their policy conflicts. The third chapter discusses how dynamic communities of interests can be established rapidly using policy based techniques, The fourth and the final chapter in this section discusses aspects of policy based security management in coalition environments. The third and the final section of the book deals with issues related to the human and cognitive networks. The first chapter in this section provides a bridge between policy technology and human issues. It examines how cultural differences among members can affect security policies and the open research problems in the intersection of culture and policy. The second chapter in this section discusses the concept of the network-extended mind, how the cognitive model one develops in mind depends on the information available in one’s network. The third chapter provides an overview of cultural network analysis, a technique that can be used to effectively analyze differences in behavior of different coalition members. The fourth and final chapter presents some results in analyzing the communication patterns of coalition members, and discusses the insights one can gain by examining the conversations of coalition partners. Taken together, the twelve chapters in this book provide a current snap-shot of network science research looking at interoperability issues in coalition networks.

Who is the Book For?

This book is intended for researchers in the academia, industry, and governments who want to understand the issues in coalition operations, and obtain an overview of the recent advances in the field of network science that are pertinent to network-centric operations for coalitions. This book will introduce some new advances in network science. Researchers in the field of communication networks, information management systems and human/cognitive issues will find the chapters in this book to be of particular relevance. If you are a military or industrial architect or planner looking to reap the benefits of network-centric operations in your operations, either military or commercial, you will find the advances described in this book to be of relevance. The book provides a broad survey of many issues that arise in different types of networks across organizations and an awareness of these issues will benefit you in developing a better plan for the cross-organization network. If you are a graduate student or researcher in the networking area, this book will provide a good snapshot of contemporary research in the field of network science.

Who is the Book Not For?

This book focuses on aspects of network science that are related to coalition operations or issues that span more than one organization communicating together. As a result, the book does not provide a detailed treatment of network science issues which are related to understanding networks in general. Thus, this book is not appropriate for those who are looking for a broad overview of network science, but more suitable for those who want to look at specific areas within network science. This book is a compendium of research papers and surveys. As such, it is not a comprehensive introduction to the subject of network science for coalition operations for someone unfamiliar with the field. It is instead targeted for researchers who already have some understanding of the area and are looking for focused detailed research papers on specific aspects of network science.