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Information Technology and Military PowerInformation Technology and Military Power$
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Jon R. Lindsay

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749568

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749568.001.0001

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Shifting the Fog of War

(p.1) Introduction
Information Technology and Military Power

Jon R. Lindsay

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the relationship between information technology and military power. Digital systems now mediate almost every effort to gather, store, display, analyze, and communicate information. As a result, military personnel now have to struggle with their own information systems as much as with the enemy. Local representations of the world must be coordinated with whatever distant reality they represent. When personnel can perceive things that are relevant to their mission, distinguish friend from foe, predict the effects of their operations, and get reliable feedback on the results, then they can fight more effectively. When they cannot do these things, however, then tragedies like friendly fire, civilian deaths, missed opportunities, and other counterproductive actions become more likely. If military organizations are unable to coordinate their representations with reality, then all of their advantages in weaponry or manpower will count for little. The chapter describes the organizational effort to coordinate knowledge and control as information practice. It argues that the quality of practice, and thus military performance, depends on the interaction between strategic problems and organizational solutions.

Keywords:   information technology, military power, digital systems, military personnel, information systems, military organizations, information practice, military performance

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