Linking NCW and coalition interoperability: understanding the role of context, identity and expectations

Gavin Hazel, Derek Bopping

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The rise of NCW as a concept of operations has been accompanied by a significant reshaping of the nature and tasking of the ADF. In particular the link between effective implementation of NCW and coalition interoperability is now becoming apparent. To achieve coalition interoperability the ADF will have to ensure not only technological but organisational and social parity with the military forces of other nations.

At a macro-level, there are many obvious factors capable of shaping coalition interoperability including doctrine, legal frameworks, technology, command philosophy, and rank/skill parity. Less obvious however, are the underlying or micro-level processes that determine whether such factors will enable or inhibit coalition interoperability. This paper investigates these processes by examining the interrelated notions of context, identity and expectations, and how they provide a basis for coalition interoperability in the face of what appear to be intractable organisational differences. By investigating the micro-level processes underlying different modes of national interaction, practical organisational strategies can be developed to mitigate against macro-level constraints on coalition interoperability.

The importance of context, identity and expectations to interoperability is borne out by the different ‘modes’ of national interaction open to coalitions. By analysing the experiences of Australian Defence Force personnel returning from the Middle East, we compare and contrast the effects of two such modes: liaison and embeddedness. Each provides a distinct contextual frame within which multiple and superordinate identities shape expectations about fundamentally important issues including the disclosure of information, trust, and the nature of participant interaction. This exploration of data from personnel returning from the MEAO provides a real world example of Network Centric Warfare in a multinational coalition context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) Symposium
Subtitle of host publicationhuman factors issues in NCW
Place of PublicationSydney
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventThe Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) Symposium - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 1 May 20063 May 2006


ConferenceThe Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) Symposium


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