War is a complex and chaotic business that persistently confounds the attempts of frontline forces, junior officers, field commanders, campaign commanders, policy elites, and others to understand what is happening amidst the smoke, noise, violence, and confusion.  This has not, however, stopped war’s many participants from trying to discern the ebbs and flows of battle and use whatever information can be gleaned to chart the most propitious path forward.  Information technology has always been a central component of this effort; as the Chief of the Prussian General Staff, Helmuth von Moltke, noted soon after the employment of the telegraph in battle, the goal of reliance on tools ranging from human and animal messengers to the most sophisticated, integrated satellite-based communications networks has been to improve a military’s ability to estimate and respond to the current and likely future combat situation.[1]

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