Special operations have exclusively lived the joint paradigm learning lessons from missions about effective command and control via an established joint paradigm were crucial for the enterprise capabilities to prepare for a global arena of rapidly changing threats. Adaptation, integration, and innovation have been the special operations special mark for decades. The special operations enterprise is less about doing spectacular things commonly, but they do common things spectacularly well.
Communications, including digital processing systems, are only the means through which command and control can be accomplished. They are not command and control itself. That is a behavioural activity. Being clear about the precise meanings of command terms is more than just an excessive concern with minor details and rules. The Department of Defense needs a better understanding of the types and limits of command, as well as an appreciation for what kind of command the military is actually practicing, before it can expect to further modernize the force.
The ABMS vision involves networking every shooter and sensor to a network environment and using artificial intelligence to ensure that relevant information is immediately sent to whichever platform needs it. In practice, that could look like compiling data from a drone and a naval destroyer to help cue a fighter jet to lock its missile on a nearby target.
“There’s so many people in between information, moving between different nodes in the decision chain. “The idea with ABMS is that the people are no longer the glue. The information flows everywhere all at once. The people are the assessors, the analyzers, the feedback providers that help the analytics that are doing the pushing to get better and better.”
Battlegroup stock of radios and other tactical communications systems is slated for an upgrade. Through a series of experiments, soldier feedback is being used to determine what its future communications systems will look like on tomorrow’s battlefields.
The teams are pursuing different types of servers down to the battalion level to increase the mobility of the unit. Typically, battalions need to rely on a brigade headquarters, but integrating new servers would eliminate that need.
“The brigade would have to be out in the field for all the battalions to be able to talk to each other. This breaks that paradigm by moving some of that compute capability down to the battalions … so they can operate
Connectivity: These tools include line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight communications networks, as well as technologies that can turn a platform into a data node, reduce latency, provide improved anti-jamming capabilities or other functions that improve the speed and breadth of communications gear.
Applications: iPhone analogies have become Defense Department clichés at this point, but the Air Force is hoping to commission the design and development of apps to process, fuse and help present data to different audiences across domains.
Effects integration: These involve networked weapons that can be integrated with existing platforms for a greater combined effect. “This includes, but is not limited to smart munitions and low-cost autonomous platforms” that can carry out functions such as data relay.
Today, troops from different branches can usually talk to one another over the radio, but that’s a slow and error-prone way of relaying detailed data like the locations of friendly forces and hostile targets.
The military has multiple systems for transmitting data directly from one computer to another – machine to machine – over radio and landline, but each focuses on a specific function, like navigation, logistics, or artillery planning, and they don’t connect with other systems in the same service, let alone with those of other services. All too often data has to be laboriously retyped by hand, or simply scrawled on sticky notes and passed from one staff officer to the next.
No matter the technological promise of ABMS, if the average tactical operator does not think it serves his goals, or he never sees it in the first place because the system has been placed behind a firewall of classification, the impact of ABMS on the military’s ability to coerce or defeat peer adversaries will be lost.
DoD is updating surface force for the information age by inserting the latest weapons, sensors, and command and control systems into weapons to field new information-management systems and networks based on commercially developed processing, routing, switching, and systems-management technologies to enable future sensors, communication systems, and weapons to support long-advertised "network-centric warfare" concept.
These program components address offensive, defensive, and offshore support operations.. Linking operations an integrated architecture of information networks for combat, command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) missions. The network will provide connectivity to joint-service and national sensor and battle-management systems.
Exercising command and control of battlegroups supporting fast-moving combat units on a far-flung, asymmetric battlefield is one of the greatest challenges facing the services. Units operating in a digital environment must have the proper Battle Command systems to provide the commander with a view of the battlefield.
The system supports the warfighting command and control and battle management process by rapidly processing large volumes of logistics, personnel, and battlefield information. It facilitates quicker, more accurate decision making by providing an effective means for force-level commanders and combat service support commanders to determine the sustainability and supportability of current and planned operations.
Success of the ABMS experiment ultimately rides on a makeshift control center displaying a digital picture of the battlefield that seems mired in the past, with operators manually watching data feeds, making phone calls to correlate information with other troops watching different data feeds, and producing endless PowerPoint slides to convey information from stovepiped systems to higher ups.
“With the artificial intelligence and machine-to-machine capabilities, it’s important to point out you can be skeptical of those capabilities, but we are less skeptical after this exercise.
“What we saw as it took a look at the threat over and over, it digested more of what that threat capability looked like and gave us a higher percentage of competence. “And so as a combatant commander, that is very appealing to get a system like that — that will learn and provide an additional capability.”
“When we did our dry run, some things weren’t working. They would literally run over, they break open the code. They then repackage it, they push a patch out and then the thing would work. And that would happen over the course of about a minute to be able to do that.”
“You’re taking cognitive burden off of the operator when it comes to understanding the environment, ruling out false positives and finding objects that the user has said that they care about. So in the case of this exercise, it’s cruise missiles. “It’s the ability to fuse those[indicators into objects, classify them as such, and then provide that alert to a human being so that they can make a decision about it.”
Joint All-Domain Operations JADC2 concept provides commanders access to information to allow for simultaneous and sequential operations using surprise and the rapid and continuous integration of capabilities across all domains.
Current decades-old platforms cannot adequately leverage new technology; and the supporting structures to enable future C2 either do not exist or require maturation. DoD officials have stressed that a JADC2 architecture would enable commanders to 1) rapidly understand the battlespace, 2) direct forces faster than adversaries, and 3) deliver phase linked combat effects across all domains.
JADC2 envisions providing a network battlespace for the Joint force to share intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data, transmitting across many communications networks, to enable faster decision making.
JADC2 intends to enable commanders to make better decisions by collecting data from numerous sensors, processing the data using artificial intelligence algorithms to identify targets, then recommending the optimal weapon—both kinetic and nonkinetic e.g. electronic weapons to engage the target.
Army Network Exercise Tested Sharing of Targeting Data from Newest Weapons” Army is looking at the potential integration of all of our fires into a fires network. Currently, Army has one network, AFATDS, to pass data about ground targets to its offensive artillery units – howitzers, rocket launchers, surface-to-surface missiles.
Meanwhile, it’s developing a different network, IBCS, to share data on flying targets – incoming enemy rockets, missiles, and aircraft – with its air and missile defense units.
The two networks and the sensors that feed them must meet very different technical demands, since shooting down a missile requires split-second precision that bombarding a tank battalion does not.
But there’s also great potential for the two to share data and work together. For example, the defensive side can figure out where enemy missiles are launching from, then tell the offensive side so it can blow up the enemy launchers before they fire again.
To find targets for its new long-range weapons, the Army is experimenting with cloud computing and AI that can bridge the gap between intelligence networks and combat units.
It’s critical to get data on potential targets from intelligence systems to combat units fast enough to strike them with the new long-range artillery and high-speed helicopters now in development. Digitally connecting the widest possible range of “sensors” to “shooters” in this way is the focus of Army Futures Command’s Project Convergence experiment.
The types of data you want to access range from full-motion video to electronic warfare detections of enemy transmitters. Quickly pooling that many kinds of data, from that many different sources, will require heavy use of artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
Army has been experimenting with breaking up and dispersing its forward-deployed command posts to make them more survivable.
Army leaders have been concerned about the survivability of command posts that are placed close to battle zones. A series of experiments started to break command posts up into a series of dispersed nodes. This is a different approach to previous efforts that had the command post all in one place, but concentrated on tearing it down and packing it up quickly before an enemy attack
Combatant commanders can choose the best option based on the circumstances. “Command posts are incredibly important to the Army formation. “However, they're in a tough spot now with needing to do the complex operations they will need to do in the … multi-domain operating environment where they will also be under a lot of stress from adversary capabilities to try to target and destroy them.”
In the future dispersed command post concept will undergo a series of operational field tests where soldiers can provide feedback. They will integrate the dispersed command post with the command post integrated infrastructure program of record, which will be the new command post’s technological backbone.
Dispersion won’t be the only way you would employ your command posts in the future, but that will be one more way that you can achieve a more survivable posture when needed and still have an effective command post.
Whether that is at the battalion, brigade or division level is “yet to be determined. At a minimum, division-level and below, should have coders there in uniform, not contractors, fixing the computer problems that we have, the computing problems that we have, the communication problems that we have, the aided target recognition problems that we have because the enemy will evolve, they will change and if we don’t have the rapid capability to correct or to counteract what the enemy’s trying to do to us, well, then they’re going to be able to make decisions faster than us and that is totally unacceptable.”
“It was very complex and took us weeks of hard coding. “What was really, really powerful was when we identified something that wasn’t working …we had the computer expertise on station to recode the algorithms … to make it better on the spot.”
“What needs to happen is soldiers need to be trained with the equipment as they are worn and functions as an overall network because everything affects everything else.” depending on the terrain.
So while classroom training on the devices is important for the soldiers to learn the technology, they also need to learn how to use the technology in the field and how the terrain can affect it. The big takeaway was adjustments to training.
“It needs to be as hands on as possible. You need to get in the terrain and actually test the radio. The classroom won’t cut it just because it’s no longer programming the radio and walking away.”