Changes in the nature of battlespace information services, combined with the drive to digitization, are raising expectations of the ability of network-centric systems to provide information throughput and timeliness. At a level often abstracted from the systems perspective, it becomes necessary to consider the nature of the underlying network and its ability to adapt, recover, and organise in the face of increasing demands and non-optimal environments. Without this consideration, it may be that the capabilities of the underlying network act to restrict the exploitation of Network-Enabled Capability.
Autonomic networks and autonomic computing are being presented as a possible aid to sustaining critical infrastructures of dynamic nodes. Although the focus of much commercial activity, autonomic networks are also believed to have relevance in the military environment and, most importantly, in supporting emerging battlespace information systems and digitization initiatives.
Albeit well understood in biological contexts, autonomic principles have yet to be proven in commercial technological environments and, more importantly, in the context of military demands. Derived from this, key issues relate to the true nature of autonomic networks, the benefits accruing from such networks, and those challenges compounded by increasing demands from the ongoing development of military technology and digitization trends.
This paper presents an examination of the demands made by the evolution of battlespace information services, some of the applicable technologies to address those demands, and examines the state of current and emerging technology to determine the perceived nature of autonomic networks in the context of Network-Enabled Capability.