||C4I: Realizing the Potential of C4I
1.4.4 Proliferation in the Use of the U.S. Military for Sustainment and Support Operations (Military Operations Other Than War)
Current military planning for advanced C4I capabilities is based largely on scenarios in which forces are employed against traditional adversaries in relatively traditional conflict situations. While this focus of planning is generally reasonable, planning must also be sufficiently broad to take into account the likely use of the U.S. military in a much more varied spectrum of military operations. The commitment of U.S. forces to military operations other than war such as peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and non-combatant evacuation operations places different demands on C4I systems and may require some different C4I capabilities and/or equipment.
U.S. forces are and will continue to be employed to
conduct operations other than war, stability and support operations that cover a
wide spectrum of very different missions. Military operations other than war, in
contrast to more traditional military operations, can be characterized by (1)
forces tailored to accomplish the specific stated mission, which often will
involve creating non-standard and non-traditional organizations from elements of
other organizations; (2) a need for greater coordination and interoperation with
government and non-government agencies; (3) the operation of these tailored
forces with new command organizations; (4) forces limited in size;15 (5) forces that are dispersed and require greater operational independence; (6) restrictive rules of engagement aimed at reducing the potential for undesired escalation, and providing clear limits on the force, and which are understood by potential adversaries; and (7) the potential for undesired escalation or "mission creep" without having the proper force to deal with the new or expanded mission.
For operations other than war, requirements for C4I may entail some of the following issues:
- Intelligence collection and analysis. In traditional military operations, the enemy is reasonably well defined; in operations other than war, changing environments and situations may lead to rapid, radical shifts in the definition of the enemy. Intelligence for operations other than war is more focused on individual human beings rather than vehicles or weapons platforms. Thus, intelligence efforts (and hence C4I systems) for operations other than war must have a greater focus on human intelligence--scout patrols, informants, and the like. Operations other than war have a different set of information requirements, such as the need for a great deal of detail on a small area (e.g., the layout and shape of a particular room and the route to that room in a building in which a particular group of people is located). And finally, because in operations other than war forces are often inserted into a situation in which political and historical factors may be highly significant, intelligence analysis must include such contextual factors.
- Combat Identification and Identification Friend or Foe. In operations other than war, hostile parties may not identify themselves (e.g., with distinctive personnel uniforms or vehicle insignias). A hostile party may be an individual from the same population that U.S. forces are trying to help, or a large group of refugees on the move that may overwhelm available resources. Furthermore, "hostile" behavior may not even be easy to identify.
- Planning and coordination. Because DOD planning tools are for the most part oriented toward major conflict, they often do not provide the granularity needed to manage the relatively small forces that are generally deployed for operations other than war. For example, a force sized for such an operation might in its entirety be composed of a couple of battalions-worth of individuals, with platoon- and squad-sized units providing critical functions, whereas planning tools for a major conflict might quantize components by battalion-sized units.
- Tactical connectivity. Higher-frequency wireless
communications are generally limited to line-of-sight connections. Passing a
message from one point to another thus requires either a direct line-of-sight
connection or relays that can provide intermediate connection points. When a
small force is responsible for a large area (as is the case in distributed
expeditionary operations), the density of relay nodes is low, distances
between relay nodes are large, and connectivity thus may be more intermittent
for patrols communicating with field headquarters. Satellite-based or unmanned
aerial vehicle-based communications are an obvious solution, and a number of
programs now under way provide such intermediate nodes.16
- Coordination with non-military organizations. Non-DOD U.S. government agencies, inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, indigenous agencies such as the local police force, and non-governmental organizations (and perhaps non-compliant or even belligerent parties) often play key roles in operations other than war, and effective command and control requires communication with them. A high degree of interoperability between U.S. communications equipment and the civilian communications infrastructure, for example, can support non-governmental organizations, thus helping to build trust and good working relationships.
- Command and control over junior personnel at a distance. Because of the potential for inadvertent escalation of an
interaction between U.S. forces and others (e.g., indigenous civilians or
military personnel), troops in the field must often think before they act,
whereas a traditional military operation would place a premium on their
acting (or reacting) very quickly. Situation assessment must be done in real
time by the very junior personnel (privates and corporals) who do the real
work in the field. Supporting these junior personnel at a considerable
distance can be problematic because many contextual cues are not available
to an off-site senior commander. Such field personnel would have greater
need for technologies that support consultations and assessment (e.g.,
laptop computer access to intelligence databases, translation and language
services, remote conferences with a wide spectrum of possible players)
rather than for the capabilities required for combat such as automatic
downloads of targeting information.
The C4I implications of military operations other than war and those of counterterrorist operations and operations against the use of weapons of mass destruction will need further study.