Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


G. Command, Control, and Communications

1. Scope

Command, control, and communications are key elements in the Army Modernization Plan to change the Army from an Industrial Age force to a Digitized Force XXI that is prepared to fight and win the information war. Command, Control, and Communications encompasses many interrelated technologies and specialties with emphasis in three major areas: decision making, information management and distribution, and seamless communications.

2. Rationale

Access to and exploitation of timely information is a key element of America's future warfighting and crisis management capabilities, as well as its national competitiveness. The projected force-level-multiplier advantage of information technology stands far above that of all other technical areas. Such capability, while greatly enhancing the autonomy and survivability of individual units, will quickly provide an advantage in any conflict, supporting early, decisive victory with minimal cost in assets and human life.

Decision Making is the heart of the command process and has the following areas of focus: Consistent Battlespace Understanding; Forecasting, Planning and Resource Allocation; and Integrated Force Management. It encompasses the development of common, modular, elements that connect joint mission planning, rehearsal, execution monitoring, and common pictures of the battlespace.

Information Management and Distribution provides the information infrastructure and products needed for information security, distributed computing, distributed multimedia databases, and visualization. This movement of information is critical to satisfying the warfighters' needs for the future.

Seamless Communications supports split-based operations by spanning the globe and interconnecting command echelons, Services, and allies worldwide through common transport protocols and dynamic network management. Emphasis is on mobility aspects of communication networks, network management, and heterogeneous transmission systems (e.g., wired and wireless). By focusing on wide bandwidth capabilities linked to our narrowband tactical systems, we can provide the correct critical information to the warrior anywhere in the world.

C3 programs will develop the technology to provide a real-time, fused, battlespace picture with integrated decision aids. The technology will provide the processing infrastructure, intelligent/anticipatory data manipulation and distribution, and dynamically adaptive broadband communications linkages required for both command and sensor-to-shooter applications. Warfighters will be able to exchange information unimpeded by differences in connectivity, processing, and interface characteristics. With these capabilities the Army will have the ability to establish distributed, virtual staffs that share a common, consistent perception of the battle-space.

Many of these advances in Information Science and Technology (IS&T) are being driven by commercial developments and products. The results can be brought to bear on Army problems through cooperative efforts and participation in efforts to set standards and establish policy. Costly Army-specific development will be avoided with the amortization of costs across government and commercial communities. However, there are aspects of command, control, and communications that must be strongly influenced or directly supported by the Army. In particular, developing the capability to reliably communicate to and among numerous, widely dispersed mobile sites operating in actively hostile environments; identifying friend and foe; achieving information security; and meeting the requirements for military-unique processing and decision support systems will not be achieved without significant Army support.

This technology area embodies enormous dual-use potential in numerous areas vital to economic competitiveness and other national concerns. Beside the direct application of this technology to defense sciences and engineering, it has great potential for other significant contributions: more effective health care procedures; enhanced education and lifelong learning; more timely and less costly procurement through electronic commerce; more efficiently managed and integrated transportation networks; delivery of innovative information services to average citizens; and sound methods of environment monitoring, weather prediction, and pollution control.

Figure IV-G-1. Army Tactical Communications Environment

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3. Technology Subareas

a. Decision Making

This subarea focuses on all elements of the decision making process, from tactical assessment, through plan preparation, deconfliction, rehearsal, and execution. The major emphasis is on acquiring and assimilating information needed to dominate and neutralize adversary forces. A key capability is near-real-time awareness of the location and activity of friendly, adversary, and neutral forces throughout the battlefield area, providing a common awareness of the current situation. One of the primary objectives of information dominance is to meet the warfighters' needs for a flexible command structure that can be rapidly configured and dynamically adapted to optimize force effectiveness and survivability. The subarea applies leading-edge Modeling and Simulation (M&S) and computing and software technology to significantly improve warfighter performance by eliminating laborious, time-consuming manual procedures and processes that pervade U.S. operational planning and execution. Computer-aided processes and automation-synergistic procedures replace exclusively human processes and procedures. The warfighter is provided with an intuitive view of battlespace, an enlightened perspective of information (C2, intelligence, logistics, weather, and other critical data), and the ability to explore alternatives in faster-than-real-time (e.g., exploring 10-hour battles in several minutes).

Goals and Time Frames

The goal is to provide automated, real-time decision support to the warfighter. The warfighter must rapidly interpret information received through interactive 2- and 3-dimensional presentation of the tactical situation (situational assessment cues identifying potential problems or interest areas). The Commander must view (from a situational assessment display) relevant forecasts for weather, enemy strength over time, friendly strength, logistics tail; conduct course of action (COA) analysis, allocate resources, wargame (real-time simulation) to explore battlespace options, and collaboratively plan and rehearse battles. Such a capability will result in the precise direction of a diverse, synchronized task force armed with overpowering information superiority and decision making capability.

Major Technical Challenges

The major challenges are to develop applications that employ intelligent agents for intelligent information retrieval, fusion, and presentation; fuse planning information with actual information in real time; provide real-time simulation (wargaming), planning, and rehearsal with sufficient fidelity on tactical platforms to influence battle outcomes; provide decision support in the presence of uncertain, incomplete, or absent information; develop applications for dynamic scheduling/coordination of assets for interdependent tasks; and provide collaboration tools that permit the spectrum of operations to be performed by remote, dispersed elements of a task force.

b. Information Management and Distribution

Information Management and Distribution encompasses warfighter needs and capabilities related to information warfare (IW) and information systems. IW and information systems include information, information-based processes, information systems, and computer-based systems either individually or in combination with each other. The key to providing this capability is a distributed information management and distribution system that forms the backbone information infrastructure of all future C4I systems. Providing technologies that allow automated, adaptive, and robust information resource management means we can free up the warfighter from the mundane and tedious tasks required to review and distribute information. By incorporating a context-based approach, information synchronization and management can be formally automated, allowing warriors (especially those at the fighting echelons) to concentrate on mission execution rather than on complex computer operations.

Goals and Time Frames

Required warfighter capabilities for Information Management and Distribution necessitate development in the constituent areas of Distributed Environments, Information Services Management, and Assured Information Services. These technology efforts will provide the warfighter with the ability to (1) access mission-critical data from any location on the globe in a location transparent manner, (2) collaborate on mission plans at all levels and monitor execution in real-time, (3) assess mission plans through rehearsal using synthetic environments, (4) assure continuation of mission critical functions and survive loss of resources by dynamically reconfiguring where functions are executed and how information flows, (5) provide reachback from deployed forces to garrison and support units, (6) support interoperability among both joint and coalition forces, (7) support extension of the information backbone to highly mobile, deployed forces through the integration of mobile distributed computing nodes, and (8) maintain access control, authentication, integrity, and availability of classified data in a distributed information environment accessible by users with differing clearances and needs to know.

Major Technical Challenges

The critical challenges are areas associated with the infrastructure for the Distributed Environments, mechanisms to support Information Services Management which reside within the distributed environment, and the ability to deploy Assured Information Services. In the Distributed Environments infrastructure area the critical technical challenges are (1) distributed data storage and query, (2) scalability to several thousand nodes and schedulability of time-critical operations that are physically dispersed across large geographic areas, (3) varied user populations and applications, (4) multiple processor types, (5) capabilities and configurations, and (6) integration of both real-time and non-real-time operating environments within the same overall system. As always, compatibility with emerging commercial system standards and heterogeneous computing bases while retaining DoD’s desired operational capabilities is vital.

Providing the necessary Information Services Management within the distributed environment requires the development of mechanisms for managing data both on individual hosts as well as across the distributed environment. The critical technical challenges to be met include (1) developing data models and storage and retrieval architectures capable of handling modalities of data in a seamless way, (2) merging and synchronizing time-dependent and non-time-dependent data, (3) developing intelligent agents capable of autonomously navigating complex database structures and extracting information for a user, (4) developing natural language and other non parametric interfaces to support "intuitive" access and retrieval of data from the data base management systems (DBMSs), (5) developing adaptive information distribution techniques based upon context based as opposed to message based distribution, (6) using the information context for smart distribution over low bandwidth communications in order to selectively control the quantity of information exchanged, (7) providing capability to respond to complete information exchange failures, and (8) scaling information distribution techniques to large systems of communications nodes.

The keys to developing Assured Information Services are (1) adaptivity within the distributed environment to allow dynamic response to varying loads of crisis management or system failure, and (2) protection of the information within the system from attack or compromise. The critical technical challenges include (1) security mechanisms for multi-clustered, real-time heterogeneous distributed environments; (2) adaptivity mechanisms which support the selective application of fault tolerance and fault avoidance strategies; (3) reconfiguration mechanisms to support graceful degradation; (4) replication mechanisms to ensure the consistency of information; (5) intelligent resource managers to dynamically respond to crisis overloads; and (6) system architectures that permit the secure use of COTS computers, software, and networks.

c. Seamless Communications

Seamless communications facilitates several of the warfighters needs for Information Dominance, Information Warfare, real-time Logistics Control, and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT). Communications is the mechanism to achieve secure, reliable, timely, survivable, command and control and superior battlefield knowledge. This subarea addresses technologies needed by the warfighter to obtain effective access to, and utilization of, global communications services. Seamless communications connotes assured, user-transparent, secure connectivity between globally dispersed sanctuary locations and positions in theater—down to the lowest echelon foot soldier or marine, and to each ship and aircraft. This connectivity will be accomplished using a combination of U.S. Government, foreign government, commercial infrastructures, and military surface-and space-based radio frequency (RF) networks. A range of transmission media, bandwidth, standards, and protocols will be accommodated automatically by the networks. Voice and all types of data (e.g., text, graphics, imagery, and video) will be handled within a uniform, information transport infrastructure. These technologies will provide the commander with high capacity, flexible, tactical communications to serve all categories of users (including mobile) and satisfy the need for high-confidence communications regardless of system limitations throughout all phases of the battle.

Goals and Time Frames

The goal is an affordable, survivable, self-managing, multilevel secure (MLS) communications system that provides the warfighter with user-transparent connectivity for voice and command, control, and intelligence (C2I) systems data over the entire combat/garrison operational continuum. The system must fully support wide- and narrow-band on-the-move (OTM) C2I data/voice interconnections throughout a land battle zone at least 100 kilometers (km) deep and provide robust and seamless connectivity between ground, air, and naval elements of the Coalition combat force dispersed over distances up to 200 km. Achieving this goal will require significant enhancement of tactical communications systems; development of automated, seamless interfaces between tactical systems and between tactical and global communications systems; development of sophisticated new radio and antenna systems for the airborne and ground OTM portion of the warfighting force; evolution of theater/global broadcast systems as an integral element of seamless communications; and development of artificial intelligence tools for network planning, engineering, management, and operations.

Major Technical Challenges

Major technical challenges in this area include (1) communications mobility/wireless mobility issues (both nodes and base stations); (2) communications equipment interoperability in multivendor, multinetwork, Joint/Combined force, and commercial environments; (3) infrastructure for wireless tactical ATM links; (4) protocols for high data-rate subscriber loops subject to sporadic disturbances (e.g., Narrowband ISDN [N-ISDN] and broadband ISDN [B-ISDN] loops supporting OTM airborne/surface/subsurface vehicles; (5) construction of a fully Internet-compliant, tactical packet network using legacy radios such as Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS); (6) integration of data and voice over low bit-rate links; (7) heavy multipath and deep fade effects; (8) security; (9) development of network management and control protocols that can withstand the onset of federated and non-federated jamming attacks; (10) waveforms for low probability of interception (LPI) and low probability of detection (LPD); (11) development of conformal arrays for airborne and OTM antenna applications; and (12) Waveforms or software programmable radios.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Command, Control, and Communications is shown in Table IV-G-1, below.

Table IV-G-1. Technical Objectives for Command, Control, and Communications

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