However, I think though that there are several flaws in the foundation of what he is going for. In short:
Sophisticated modern networks, linked by computer systems and flows of trade goods, have resulted in an enormous increase in world productivity, much of it derived from firms’ greater ability to specialize in a global market. This is the tantalizing promise of NCW—the potential to vastly increase capabilities without a concomitant increase in resources. Unfortunately, networks of specialized units can also be vulnerable to unforeseen or unforeseeable disruptions. Even networks that seem highly resilient can fail abruptly and catastrophically when they suffer unanticipated shocks. Just as the globalized world economy shows the potential benefits of networks and specialization, the worldwide financial crisis demonstrates their dangers.I continue to state that if you rely on a network based especially on satellite communications to execute even the most basic at sea functions in wartime - without a reliable off-line capability to fight through the loss - I will defeat you with little loss to my own forces. It is a fool's love of technology that opens a huge strategic risk factor in war. The human desire to be attracted to the sparkling bits will get you.
There is no evidence at all that the Navy has made any significant effort to field specialized units and leverage NCW to gain more capability through specialization as NCW proponents envisioned. If anything, the more integrated the Navy has become with NCW, the more generalization has become an institutional priority. In fact, despite NCW and its promises, specialization has been shoved in its own box of general capabilities. The ugly reality, based on action, is that in the Navy specializations are neglected and treated with bias primarily because of their specialized skill, and the promotion boards have historically reflected it. Lets examine this in detail.Most of the bias I have seen is simply parochial in nature. Nothing against specialists per se --- just the classic "His career doesn't look like mine." problem.
The great naval surface warfare idea of 2009 is the same great naval surface warfare idea of John Lehman, 20 years ago: build the big multi-mission Arleigh Burkes. The Littoral Combat Ship is rightfully questioned in the way David Axe presented the other day, the hull is specifically a massive generalization of possibilities without having the necessary characteristics to make it a specialization in any specific area of warfare. Indeed, the way the SWOs look at Network-Centric Warfare in their approach to new ships, one will not find specialization anywhere as a future priority.
I must be missing something, because I think sending a 9000 ton destroyer to build maritime security cooperation with a nation that fields 9 little coast guard boats is an embarrassing reflection of the attitude that promotes generalization in the Navy, something of an arrogance that the fleet can meet any obligation regardless of how little the US Navy may have in common with the specific requirements and tasks to be done.
The public face of Navy leadership today suggests the general consensus is that all of this generalization is OK, probably because generalization is all today's Navy officer has ever known. As the Navy has built itself through the 80s and since the end of the cold war, the specialization of generalization has become the requirement and direction resulting in massive, multi-mission capable warships.