1.4.2 Rapid Planning to Support Rapid Response
Given the range of potential adversaries and the unpredictability of events that might challenge the interests of the United States, the need to consider the use of U.S. military forces could occur at any time. Despite the best available intelligence information, surprises will occur, and it is likely that there will be only a very short time period between indications of trouble and force employment, thus making rapid planning tools an essential C4I requirement at both joint command and service component command levels. Such planning tools can assist in determining force composition, force deployment, and probable battle outcomes. The planning process must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate situational changes as they unfold even as deployments are under way, as occurred during the deployment to Haiti. In that regard, rehearsal tools capable of receiving current intelligence, updating an original plan, and disseminating appropriate changes must be an integral part of the rapid planning process and must be made available to deploying units and their leaders. The tools that support planning and rehearsal must be able to run much faster than real time to explore the impact of alternative courses of action, and also to run at slower than real-time speeds to support rehearsal and learning.
The increase in operational tempo and the range of weapons employed demand that planning and execution be continuous, and not discrete, time-phased, sequential actions. As stated in Joint Vision 2010, "Real-time information will likely
drive parallel, not sequential, planning and real-time, not prearranged,
decision making."13 Mobile communications
and computers supporting command and control must be able to support operations
en route on the land, at sea, and in the air. Command posts must be small,
agile, and mobile to survive and remain relevant. How small can a command post
be made, how can it be made redundant enough to support continuous operations
and still accept some losses, and how can dispersed command and control
operations be conducted without incurring inefficiencies associated with the
One of the most difficult challenges in supporting command decision making is the fusion of data into knowledge. More and more sensors will provide more and more data from more and more locations. A major challenge is converting this information into fused knowledge. What do all the pieces of data mean? Access to more data may actually inhibit, rather than support, better decision making unless this data is fused into reliable knowledge. Different users may need different geographic presentations fused and placed into a common reference grid and may need different levels of detail. Uncertainty regarding the completeness, accuracy, or time of data must be conveyed in its display so that commanders can assess the impact of this uncertainty on decisions. Further, commanders must have the ability and the training to query the "fused" picture to get the understanding they need to carry out their particular piece of the mission. However, the displays all must have a common basis so as to convey a common relevant operating picture, enable understanding of command intent, and facilitate self-synchronization.