IWS - The Information Warfare Site
News Watch Make a  donation to IWS - The Information Warfare Site Use it for navigation in case java scripts are disabled


Working Definition 


NEC Themes




Network Enabled Capability

The UK's programme to enhance military capability by better exploitation of information.

NEC Logo

"The ability to gather knowledge; to share it in a common and comprehensible form with our partners; to assess and refine it to turn into knowledge; to pass it to the people who need it in an edited, focussed form; and to do it in a timescale necessary to enable relevant decisions to be made in the most economic and efficient manner"  

                   DCDS(EC) 8 Nov 01



Introduction - The NEC information viewpoint

Source: UK MoD

© Crown Copyright 2003

The aim of NEC is to enhance military capability by the better exploitation of information. Key drivers include UK Effects Based Operations (EBO) research and the US Network Centric Warfare initiative (NCW).

The use of information can be seen in the context of a set of basic, dynamic processes common to all military operations:

Suds Diagram

The direct and indirect sensing of a situation by multiple diverse sensors
(which will include people).

The generation and maintenance of a common perception of the situation,
allowing shared awareness across the battlespace.

Develop Intent
Adynamic, distributed decision making process at all levels of command.

Synchronise Effects
The co-ordination of all forms of effect in the battlespace to achieve a shared objective.

Working definition


Working definition


"Linking sensors, decision makers and weapon systems so that information can be translated into synchronised and overwhelming military effect at optimum tempo"

Network Enabled Capability vs. Network Centric Warfare


NEC shares the same tenets as NCW:

- A robustly networked force improves information sharing.
- Information sharing and collaboration improves Shared Situational Awareness
- SSA improves synchronisation and thereby mission effectiveness.


  • NEC does not seek to place the network at the centre of capability in the same
    doctrinal way as NCW.
  • NEC only has value when set in an operational context... ie it enables the work
    of others.
  • NEC is concerned with evolving capability through pragmatic steps towards a
    coherent framework.


"NCW Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority" is available from the US
  Command and Control Research Program (CCRP) website.

Core NEC Themes

The development of NEC has been arranged under a number of core themes, each capturing a related subset of the overal NEC vision.

Full Information Availability - Enabling a user to search, manipulate and exchange information of different classifications captured by, or available in, all sources internal and external to the battlespace.

Shared Awareness - Providing a shared understanding and interpretation of a situation, the intensions of friendly forces, and the potential courses of action amongst all elements in the battlespace.

Flexible Working - Enabling assets to rapidly reconfigure to meet changing mission needs, allowing them to work together with minimum disruption and confusion.

Agile Mission Groups - Enabling the dynamic creation and configuration of Mission Groups that share awareness and that co-ordinate and employ a wide range of systems for a specific mission.

Synchronised Effects - Achieving overwhelming effects within and between Mission Groups by co-ordinating the most appropriate assets available in the battlespace through dynamic distributed planning and execution.

Effects Based Planning - Taking an approach to planning that focuses on the use of military and non-military effects required against an enemy, and is integrated with other planning processes in the battlespace.

Resilient Information Infrastructure - Ensuring information resources can be managed and that secure and assured access is provided with the flexibility to meet the needs of Agile Mission Groups.

Fully Networked Support - Allowing the ready use of non-frontline government bodies, industry, academia and public service capabilities to support operations.

Inclusive Flexible Acquisition - Co-ordinating process across MOD, OGDs and industry that promotes the rapid insertion of new technologies, facilitates coherence between acquisition programmes and provides an incremental approach to delivering 'net-ready platforms'.

Delivering NEC

The challenges of delivering the UK's aspirations for NEC are considerable, and require co-ordinated action from a wide range of stakeholders and authorities.

Military Research

Dstl and QinetiQ are actively pursuing research into a wide range of issues grouped under the core NEC themes.


NEC will affect the acquistion and development of many equipment programmes. Co-ordinating these activities represents a considerable challenge for both the military customer and procurement organisations. The Integration Authority and DEC CCII, as the core capability DEC, will both play pivotal roles in the implementation of NEC.


Co-ordinated experimentation, involving research demonstrators, fielded systems and industry prototypes will be central to accelerating the development of requirements and delivery of capability.

Concepts and Doctrine

Delivering the full benefits of NEC, will require development of operational concepts and doctrine; this important aspect is being led by the UK's Joint Doctrine and Concepts Centre (JDCC).


Industry partners have a key role to play in many aspects of NEC, including experimentation and delivery of systems.

International Partners

Many nations are currently studying and undertaking similar network related/network centric warfare developments. The UK will forge relationships with these nations to share research, leverage experimentation and build coalition capability.

Perceived Benefits

The advantages of implementing a network enabled force include having precision of control, precision in applying force, rapidity of effect, the force multiplier effect, improved force protection and improved combat effectiveness.

These benefits will mean a shift in the Balance of Investment towards increasing the integration rather than the effect of weapons and sensors.

NEC Aspiration

NEC "encompasses the elements required to deliver controlled and precise military effect rapidly and reliably. At its heart are three elements: sensors (to gather information); a network (to fuse, communicate and exploit information); and strike assets to deliver military effect. The key is the ability to collect, fuse and disseminate accurate, timely and relevant information with much greater rapidity (sometimes only a matter of minutes or even in "real time") to help provide a common understanding among commanders at all levels".

Secretary of State for Defence
Strategic Defence Review New Chapter
July 2002

"NEC allows platforms and C2 capabilities to exploit shared awareness and collaborative planning, to communicate and understand command intent, and to enable seamless battlespace management. It will underpin decision superiority and the delivery of rapid and synchronised effects in the joint and multinational battlespace."

Major General Rob Fulton
Capability Manager (Information Superiority)
30 April 2002

NEC will be a key enabler of:

Tempo matched to need, a highly reactive force, smaller agile units, smaller in theatre forces, better utilisation of resources, truly joint operations at all levels, synchronisation of effects, reduction in fratricide and a fully interoperable coalition.



NEC Outline Concept, Part 1 - Background and Programme of Work

The NEC Outline Concept - Part 1, introduces Network Enabled Capability (NEC). It sets out the origins and purposes of the UK NEC initiative, and contrasts it with the US Network Centric Warfare (NCW) concept. It then summarises the work undertaken to date and charts future research intiatives.

NEC Outline Concept, Part 2 - NEC Conceptual Framework

The NEC Outline Concept - Part 2, details the work done to explain the fundamentals of NEC. It outlines the military aspirations for UK forces and describes the NEC themes required to acheive them.

The NEC flyer v5.0 

The NEC flyer is a distributive pamphlet detailing the main points in this website. To obtain a copy please contact the NEC concept project manager.

Quality of systems map v2.21

The Quality of systems map is a top-level view of the information network that links the key components of our equipment capability.

Quality of Service Map

In order to assist in a common understanding of NEC, MoD sponsers wished to create a model of the information network that links the key components of our equipment capability. This is seen as the top-level view of the network, complementary to the detailed systems and technical components on which work is in progress within MoD.






Source: UK MoD

© Crown Copyright 2003