From The Belmont Club:
Attempts to develop “network-centric” methods of warfare in the service of a nation state are ultimately limited by their subordination to a highly centralized command and control system. They lack the final degree of freedom that terrorist organizations have, which is to take on a life of their own.
John Arquilla wrote the book on netcentric warfare, and I don’t recall that he was so pessimistic about the ability of nation-states to match netted-up terrorists. There must be some sort of advantage that technology available to the hierarchy-bound nation-state provides that provides the decisive advantage over low-tech but much more decentralized terrorists. Which is why the critical task in the GWOT seems to be denying terrorists the base from which they can develop not technological parity, but gap-closing improvements in their capacities, which combined with their greater flexibility, poses the most lethal threats.
Read the whole post, and Arquilla’s book as well.