Academic journal article Military Review

The C2 Spine

Academic journal article Military Review

The C2 Spine

Article excerpt

THIS ARTICLE IS THE FIRST in a series about Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS) articles exploring the differences that digitization will make on acquiring and disseminating information on future battlefields. The authors discuss data's role in forming a common operating picture (COP) of the battlefield and applying cognitive reasoning to the COP to form the basis for decision making.

To provide a useful starting point, the following scenario depicts typical staff actions in a current combat operations center. Later, the article projects the same scenario to the year 2010, with the staff operating under the C^sup 2^ Spine concept.

SCENARIO 1998: The division commander takes his place in front of the briefing map at the division main command post (CP) for his morning update. His division has been on the offensive for the past 24 hours, and he knows he is rapidly nearing a decision point for which fragmentary order (FRAGO) to implement. Throughout the night, his staff has been working feverishly to get this briefing together. Most of the information they are presenting is already at least 2 hours old and cannot fully answer the commander's critical information requirements (CCIR). He knows the plan and what his options are. He expects a quick update to see how the situation has changed over the last few hours. Specifically, he wants a current situation report (SITREP) from 1st and 2d brigades and details on any movement by enemy second-echelon divisions.

The enemy situation quickly turns to the 2d Republican Guards Division status. The G2 informs him that the last time they had "eyes-on" this division was 12 hours ago. The G2 is 65- percent confident that the 2d Republican Guards are still in the same location. He also reports that no other imagery intelligence assets are currently available to update the enemy situation. He plans to include all this information in his next intelligence summary (INTSUM).

As the G2 presents his update, he reflects on the multiple problems in obtaining current information. One problem is determining which unit is the 2d Republican Guards. He has information from numerous intelligence sources, but interpreting the data was difficult due to various problems:

* Joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors, such as Guardrail and Rivetjoint, reported that 2d Republican Guards were using at least six different naming conventions-2d RGD, 2d RG, 2RG, and so forth. After comparing reports on all name variations, he determined that there was no change in their communication patterns, and nothing indicated they were moving.

* The G2 has received reports from J-STARS (Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) on enemy vehicle movement in that area. He determined that there was considerable tracked and wheeled vehicle traffic throughout the area but could not identify unit affiliations.

* He also had U-2 photo imagery, but it was 12 hours old and inconclusive.

The G2 concluded his brief, and the G3 started briefing the friendly situation. He has been in contact with the 1st and 2d brigades' S3s in the past few hours, but they are having the same problem he has: the mountainous terrain is playing havoc with their radio communications. To further compound the problem, 1st Brigade outran the last mobile subscriber equipment (MSE) node 3 hours ago. It still has radio communication through a relay with 3d Brigade, which is still within the MSE net. Radio communications are possible, but passing SITREPs and LOGSTATEs (logistic status reports) is now time-consuming and awkward. The Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Subsystem (SINGARS) radio can transmit voice traffic up to 30 km, given the proper conditions. Digital data transmission through SINGARS is another matter-under good conditions, the data link range is normally less than 10 lan. The bottom line is that the G3 cannot brief the 1st Brigade's current status.

The commander turns to his aide and says, "Get Colonel Smith on the phone. …

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