Knowledge development in the military geospatial system of the Austrian Armed Forces (part 2)

Hermann Häusler/Gerald Gnaser/Friedrich Teichmann

Whereas in the first part of this essay the term military geospatial system was portrayed with its numerous facets, and the IMG – the Austrian Military Geospatial Institute – was described with its development until the present, the second part deals with the introduction of the term knowledge pyramid, the details of the knowledge pyramid concept, as well as the corresponding derivations concerning the MilGeo Expert Staff. The central topic of German-speaking publications on sustainable knowledge management in the corporate context is an explanation of the “knowledge stairs” figure, which is supposed to illustrate the coherences of the terms data, information, knowledge, proficiency, action, competence, and competitiveness. Klaus North and Ronald Maier consider the “digital society” of the 21st century to be the “Knowledge Society 4.0”. Their model of the „Knowledge Stairs 4.0“ symbolizes the knowledge-based net product of enterprises, which leads to an increase of competitiveness. As has been already known from the knowledge stairs, digital technologies for the use for knowledge-based net product are based upon the IT-approaches of data and information processing, and their interconnectedness leads to knowledge. If one understands competence according to Klaus North as the implementation of knowledge into purposeful and appropriate actions, digital knowledge services for increasing business competitiveness are achieved in the Knowledge Stairs 4.0. This competence concept of incremental knowledge generating can also be applied in a slightly altered form to military geoscientific analyses. From 2000 onwards, the militia expert staff of the IMG had been continually established by BrigGen Dr. Reinhard Mang and Col Mag. Gerald Gnaser, a process that has been going on until today. Thus, the methods and technical competence for the benefit of the “Command and Control Support and Cyber Defence Command” as well as for the IMG staff was organizationally enhanced from traditional “military geography” towards military geosciences. Structure and functionality of the IMG expert staff have been standing the test extraordinarily for nearly 20 years now. The experts have been conscripted for five-day special exercises every two years and have had to master both special MilGeo tasks and military training. In the IMG, research and development are presently coordinated by the department of basic sciences. The basis of MilGeo militia advanced education is an internal MilGeo curriculum, coordinating, for instance, occasional plannings for missions abroad, or special MilGeo factor analyses. If one tracks the fast-paced development of sensor-based exploratory and locomotion vehicles, as well as the use of electronically available environmental information all over Europe, as well as the development of applications for civil and military users, one wonders about the development and future use of expert systems in the IMG. Provided one defines an expert system as a computer program which is able to support man with solving complex problems like an expert, as has been the case with automated weapon systems such as those of anti-aircraft or submarine reconnaissance for a long time already, one could also develop the above-mentioned analysis and operationalization of functional MilGeo-relations in the framework of C4I-systems with such a program. Therefore, especially altered forms of interaction between man and intelligent systems demand a new definition of expertise. In any case, already today the IMG expert staff disposes of the capacities of correspondent knowledge management in order to organise professional knowledge and knowledge-based enterprise management. Hence, one can only hope that by further equipping of the IMG – without reference to further reorganisations – the MilGeo expert staff will be able to be fully effective in the course of future challenges in the framework of national crisis and catastrophe management, in the framework of future comprehensive national defence, and in the framework of European security policy.