I was introduced to CKO in the class Information Warfare at my university (NTNU). I couldn't gather much information about it online, so I decided to share some notes about what my understanding of it is.

The book Global Information Warfare by Andy Jones, Gerald L. Kovacich and Perry G. Luzwick defines CKO like this:

“Coherent Knowledge-based Operations (CKO) combines the three powerful concepts of KM, information warfare, and network-centric business (NCB) to control IE. This control enables an organization to attain and maintain a competitive advantage while at the same time preventing, or at least complicating, the competition from reducing your advantage and increasing their own.”

and like this:

“CKO brings together finite resources — people, money, and time — to achieve an organization’s goals and objectives.”

Definition Breakdown

Now lets break that down and explain each concept to help us understand the meaning of CKO.


More or less a factual and objective data, notification, transmitted with the use of different forms of communication between humans.

Information Environment (IE)

The composition of humans, organisations and processes that gather, manage and conveys information. The information itself is also included.

Knowledge Management (KM)

KM integrates technologies, processes, and cultural changes to provide a means for well-informed, rapid decision making via collaborative information and knowledge sharing by varied and dispersed organizations and individuals.

Network-centric Business (NCB)

An operation model that departs from a hierarchical structure to a network structure, with an all-to-all communication, which connects resources and different departments within the organisation together, to a more effective entity.

Information Warfare (IW)

Actions intended to protect, exploit, deny or destroy information of information resources to gain advantage or victory over an opponent.

Information Superiority

The capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary’s ability to do the same.

Situation Awareness

The ability to perceive a situation, interpret and understand it. From this awareness you can predict what is going to happen in near future.

Venn Diagram

I made this venn diagram from an image from the same book Global Information Warfare, that shows a visual representation of the parts which together forms CKO.


Information Superiority = Knowledge Management + Information Warfare

Information Warfare denies opponents to gain the same information as you do. With knowledge management you get the whole organisation to work in the same direction under an overall understanding of what the intention of the business is. When all individuals knows the common goal, they will be aware of who needs what information when.

Situation Awareness = Network-Centric Business + Knowledge Management

When information is flowing within the organisation with NCB, and each individual knows the intention of the business, then they may predict the next steps and act upon the information learned.

Tactics, Techniques and Procedures to Seize Market Share = Information Warfare + Network-Centric Business

If you got the ability to controll, exploit or influence customers, bystanders, allies and enemies to your advantage, you got the tactics, techniques and procedures. When combined with the effectiveness and information flow you get from NCB, you can use the information provided to be the promoter for these procedures, to actually have an objective. This way you can seize market shares.

CKO without all concepts

If the organisation have situation awareness and information superiority, but lacks tactics, techniques and procedures to seize market share, then what is the purpose of the existence of the business, unless it can’t gain market shares and earn money?

If the organisation have information superiority and tactics, techniques and procedures to seize market share, but lacks situation awareness, then the organisation may suffer greatly from not predicting what will happen in the future. A good example of this is when Xerox more or less gave away the graphical user interface to Apple, by which Apple gained enormous market shares from. If Xerox could have predicted that GUI would be popular in the near future, these shares could have belonged to Xerox today.

If the organisation have tactics, techniques and procedures to seize market share and situation awareness, but lacks information superiority, other organisations may act on information your business didn’t get, exploit it and gain market shares from it.

References: Global Information Warfare by Andy Jones, Gerald L. Kovacich and Perry G. Luzwick

Daniel Solstad

Information security, life and stuff