During the Iraq War, the military's sensors, weapons, communications, soldiers, and commanders were all linked to a giant computing grid that gave U.S. troops the clearest picture of the battlefield they've ever known. No one person is more responsible for pushing this idea of network-centric war than John Arquilla, a RAND Corp. analyst and professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. Arquilla wields influence through his writing, teaching, and consultations with military officials. And his ideas are changing the face of the defense industry.

To the soft-spoken, 49-year-old Arquilla, the first Gulf War was a revelation. During it, he advised the U.S. military's Central Command. "I came back from that experience with the strong sense that this information advantage was the difference that made the difference," he says. In war, as in business, it appears the future belongs to the nimble and the networked.

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