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This report discusses the new field of cognitive systems engineering (CSE) and explores the applicability of the CSE paradigm to the domain of information warfare (IW). CSE's goal is the application and design integration of information technology (including both human and automated information processing systems) to facilitate work. CSE defines work as effort to move through a problem space to achieve specific objectives. Information warfare represents a work domain where the effective management of information must incorporate the effective utilization of rapid advances in technology (e.g., sensors, communications, and display devices). The report examines IW and Basic Air Force Doctrine within the framework of Rasmussen's abstraction hierarchy, and uses the abstraction/decomposition matrix as a framework to develop an experimental approach in which to explore how emerging command control, communications, computer, and information (C4I) systems may be used to improve tactical decision making. Decision cycle time and robustness of decisions are identified as performance predictors. For further inquiry, the report recommends using naturalistic observation and other inductive methods to explore specific phenomena and to direct subsequent hypothesis generation. The report concludes than design of future C4I automated systems should include CSE analytical techniques to ensure system flexibility as well as increased efficiency.

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