Academic journal article Military Review

C4ISR in the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams

Academic journal article Military Review

C4ISR in the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams

Article excerpt

What makes the SBCT unique is its combination of enhanced information technology and communications, which increases force effectiveness and agility through a command- and execution-centric approach to decision making.

SBCT Organization & Operations(1)

INFORMATION superiority derives from a mastery of information as an element of combat power. It involves gaining a more complete situational understanding than our adversary and translating this information into an ability to "see first, understand first, act first, and finish decisively."

Information superiority is dynamic and relies on proactive, thinking leaders who maximize all available information while trusting and empowering their subordinates. It also depends on the emerging technologies and processes embodied in a robust command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C41SR) information structure.

In U.S. Array Field Manual (FM) 3-0, Operations, information superiority is described as "the operational advantage derived from the ability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to do the same."(2)

The Army strives to give commanders the ability to gain information superiority. As described in Joint Vision 2020 and reinforced in multiple Army documents, including the Army White Paper for the Objective Force, information superiority is critical to battlefield success.(3) It gives the commander an edge to develop the situation out of contact and have the right force at the right place, at the right time, to maintain momentum and keep the enemy off balance.(4)

Today, Army forces are modernizing information systems to achieve information superiority. This provides leaders at multiple levels with real and near-real time information and more complete and timely situational awareness. This dramatic investment was assessed during the JRTC-based Advanced Warfighting Experiment and in development of Force XXI units at Fort Hood, Texas. The Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT) at Fort Lewis, Washington make up a combined-arms organization designed to achieve and maintain information superiority using an embedded C41SR capability.

In a recent paper for the Association of the U.S. Army's (AUSA) Institute of Landwarfare Symposium, Major General James Dubik noted that the SBCTs and the evolving interim force would give the Army a "Twofer."(5) First, the Army would get full-spectrum, combat-ready units that were prepared for immediate deployment and could fight on arrival. Second, the Army would get an active, experienced-based learning laboratory from which to gain insights that would be applied to shaping the emerging Objective Force. Can the Interim Force, the current SBCTs and their progeny, give commanders what they need to gain information superiority? Is the Army on the right track to achieve the conditions for true and continual information superiority within the Interim Force as a gateway to the Objective Force?

The SBCT is a new and unique organization, and there is a great deal of literature about its capabilities. Infantry-centric, it includes an entirely new unit, the reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) squadron. The SBCT relies on a robust, embedded C4ISR capability, which runs vertically and horizontally throughout the unit and contains the unit's external links and provides the properly integrated commander with the means to gain information superiority.

The SBCT Tactical Infosphere

The C41SR capability is not merely limited to equipment. It includes consideration of the flow of information and how leaders use that information. Information gatherers include human intelligence


(HUMINT) sources such as soldiers and civilians on the battlefield. The information environment and supporting C4ISR within the SBCT can be described in terms of the SBCT infosphere (see figure). …

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