The challenge of the seamless force: The role of informal networks in the battlespace

Leoni Warne, Irena Ali, Derek Bopping, Dennis Hart

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


The concept of the Seamless Force envisages a force that is not only Joint, but also incorporates permanent and part-time members of the three Services, and includes Defence civilians, other supporting government agencies, contractors, allies and coalition partners. The Seamless Force is built on the skills and qualities of the individual warfighter and thus its single most valuable element is the well-trained, educated and motivated human being. Inherent in most discussions about the nature of such future forces are some untested assumptions about how humans and organisational elements will behave and function in this new environment. For instance, the assumption that existing organisational structures, procedures and processes will be able to seamlessly incorporate technological advances and harmonious interaction in new configurations of mixed units might be, at least potentially, erroneous. There are many unexplored challenges originating from human capabilities to function in such situations. Clearly, a close examination of the issues that should be considered is required. The authors of this paper are a team of researchers from the Defence Systems Analysis Division of the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) investigating such issues as part of its task on the Human Dimension of Future Warfighting (HDoFW). This research examines broad psychosocial issues that need to be considered to fully exploit NCW (Network Centric Warfare) and other future operating concepts. Moreover, the research is designed to elucidate these issues so they become an integral part of concept development for future warfare. It is envisaged that the development of these concepts will have implications for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO) in terms of organisational structures, and training and education initiatives. The research team is currently in the process of interviewing personnel returning from deployment in the Middle East in an attempt to capture the human lessons learned in operations. While only a small sample of personnel has been interviewed to date, some common issues are already emerging. While all of these issues will be reported on as the research progresses, the focus of this paper is the role of relationship building and informal networks in facilitating information exchange and consequently, decision making within joint and coalition forces in battlespace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium
Editors Fields, Mottram, Tith, Rivera, Hopkins
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherDepartment of Defense Command and Control Research Program
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium - Virginia, United States
Duration: 13 Jun 200516 Jun 2005


Conference10th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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