To achieve the goal of information dominance, the DoD has adopted the doctrine of net-centric operations and warfare (NCOW). The global information grid (GIG), future combat system (FCS), C2 constellation, and FORCEnet are examples of net-centric operations where multiple systems-of-systems integrate thousands of platforms, sensors, decision nodes, weapons, and warfighters through heterogeneous wire-line and wireless networks. NCOW provides superior collection, fusion, analysis, and use of information to help the DoD exploit information superiority and achieve strategic and tactical goals. Standard-based publish/subscribe (pub/sub) middleware, such as the object management group (OMG) 's data distribution service (DDS), is a key enabling technology to build and evolve large-scale and long-lived distributed real-time and embedded NCOW systems. DDS is particularly relevant since it is the only standards-based pub/sub middleware that can satisfy the stringent quality-of service (QoS) requirements for a wide variety of tactical net-centric applications. The current OMG DDS specification, however, does not define services that (1) enable large-scale applications to execute in highly dynamic wide-area network environments, where information producers and consumers join and leave the information exchange and (2) rigorously maintain the necessary QoS required by NCOW systems. This paper provides three contributions to enabling dynamic NCOW applications to utilize standard-based pub/sub middleware effectively. First, it investigates and surveys key challenges in building dynamic NCOW applications, using DDS as an example. Second, it examines existing DDS standards and DDS implementations and identifies their pros and cons in the context of NCOW. Finally, we propose an adaptive discovery service framework that enables the application of DDS in large-scale and highly dynamic data-critical NCOW systems over diverse operating environments.