1.2.1 Evidence from
Although the Gulf War was plagued by innumerable problems with C4I capability, timeliness, and interoperability among both U.S. and allied forces, the real-world impact of C4I technology in enhancing the effectiveness and security of the coalition forces was amply demonstrated.
The C4I capabilities on which allied forces depended were highly tenuous
and relied on inadequate methods for construction and distribution of
operational plans and execution orders (e.g., the air tasking order had to be
delivered manually to ships at sea), collection and assessment of battle
damage information, and coordination of operations on a global scale among
systems ranging from highly sophisticated to significantly outdated.
Nonetheless, given sufficient time (in the case of the Gulf War, nearly 6
months) to prepare, a formidable capability was established for command and
control of a multinational force in a region of the world where virtually no
infrastructure previously existed to accommodate such complex operations. C4I
has been reported in numerous after-action media as a major force multiplier
in the conflict. For example:
- C4I systems supported--through simultaneous
suppression of enemy air defenses--highly effective, precise, orchestrated
strikes on a variety of targets in Baghdad on the initial night of war, with
extremely low casualties.
- The Global Positioning System allowed orchestrated movements of
coalition armored forces to outflank Iraqi forces and engage them at the
maximum effective range of coalition weapons.
More recently in Bosnia, advanced C4I technology has provided forces with
enhanced capabilities to detect, process, decide, and communicate. For
- The Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has improved monitoring of compliance with the Dayton Peace Accord.
- Linked Operations-Intelligence Centers Europe4 systems have facilitated the sharing of intelligence among selected coalition partners.
- The Joint Surveillance Target Airborne Radar System supported the insertion of ground forces into Bosnia.
Many warfighters involved came away from the Gulf War with the view that
improving C4I capability and interoperability would add more to military
operations than additional improvements in weapons. Continued improvement in
the precision and/or lethality of weapons remains a priority; in fact, such
enhancements in capabilities may well result more from application of C4I
improvements than from near-term advancements in weapons technology. In
addition, the challenges of operating in urban environments and in rough,
wooded areas must be addressed rather than simply extrapolating the successes
achieved in a desert environment.