battle planning/battle command logoBattle command on-the-move:
information as a decisive element in combat power and how we're working to achieve this

by CPT Kenneth Morris

During home-station train-up at Fort Hood, Texas, for 4th Infantry Division�s division capstone exercise (DCX Phase I), COL Robert Cone, commander of 2d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, received approval from his division commander to supplement his M2A3 command vehicle with more Army Tactical Command-and-Control System equipment. Cone requested this capability to more efficiently C2 his digitized brigade and to have increased and sustained situation awareness while on the move and away from his tactical-operation centers.

This was only one example of why Cone and his brigade executed a very successful training rotation at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. However, it�s noteworthy because he forwardly deployed his combat vehicle away from his TOC and, with his ATCCS� assistance, he gained information dominance of the battlefield. By achieving information dominance, Cone and the Raiders of 2d Brigade Combat Team significantly assisted Training and Doctrine Command in validating one of the seven exercise objectives: �assessing the brigade�s ability to employ information as a decisive element in combat power.�

As TRADOC�s proponent for brigade-and-below C2, we at the Armor Center, Fort Knox, Ky., are trying to capitalize on Cone�s insight and apply appropriate doctrine, training, leaders, organizations, materiel and soldiers-based solutions across the Army�s transformation axes. This article discusses our efforts in this.

�With this capability, I wasn�t required to stay at my command post, but I could move forward on the battlefield and get a personal, up-close view of the battle,� Cone said. �If I wanted or needed to talk with a battalion commander or soldiers in my brigade, I could locate them on my Force XXI Battle-Command Brigade and Below System and then drive to their location.�

In addition to better C2 and situation awareness, Cone�s battle command on-the move proved to be a morale and esprit de corps builder. Most soldiers were shocked when they saw their brigade commander at their location, but their shock turned into motivation, knowing their commander was with them in the fight.

Another closely related key insight from DCX I was that the Force XXI heavy digitized division doesn�t possess the equipment and personnel the table of organization and equipment authorizes to adequately execute BCOTM at brigade-and-below level according to the operational concept. The commander and his operations group need survivable, mobile combat platforms with appropriate information systems that provide execution-based core functions during tactical engagements and battles.

Shortfall

Currently there�s a TOE shortfall in the Force XXI maneuver brigades� headquarters combat vehicle that doesn�t account for emerging requirements (personnel and equipment) to provide the maneuver commander with the ability to maintain situation awareness and subsequent control of assigned forces. Before he departed command, Cone submitted changes to his modified TOE based on the success of his NTC rotation. His recommended changes included adding appropriate information systems to the commander�s vehicle, authorizing a similarly equipped platform for the brigade S-3 and adding another M1068 to the brigade tactical command vehicle.

Also, Cone recommended that five more soldiers fill key positions in manning the equipment and sustaining a 24-hour operational capability within the command group and the brigade�s tactical command post.

Definition

BCOTM, simply stated, is the requirement for a commander to conduct battle command and leadership while detached from his static CPs. In viewing the modernization of legacy forces and the requirement for the commander to execute offensive-oriented and distributed operations throughout his assigned battlespace, BCOTM becomes the maneuver commander�s essential capability to fight decisively forward and create a �commander-centric, mission-focused� organization instead of a �TOC-centric� organization.

In the expanded battlespace of digitized-division operations, placement of key people and facilities is of special importance. The maneuver commander may opt to position his command vehicle in a location that distributes senior leadership in depth throughout his operations area, allows observation and command presence at a decisive point, or provides senior-leader presence on separated mobility corridors.

Why BCOTM for DCX II

Immediately following DCX I and based on the recommendations contained in the exercise�s initial-insights memorandum, TRADOC�s commander tasked the Armor Center to detail a more narrow focus on C2OTM at division, brigade and battalion level. One of our key tasks was to develop an operational and organizational concept for battle command at brigade-and-below that articulates the requirement for the commander to access relevant information and execute battle-command tasks untethered from CPs. Another key task for us was to develop an operational architecture for battle command at brigade and below using the approved O&O, followed by development and refinement of the systems architecture to support this OA.

Fiscal resources were provided in early May 2001 to develop and demonstrate this concept during DCX Phase II in October 2001. BCOTM became one of the Army�s priority-study issues for DCX II.

DCX II demonstration goal

DCX II�s goal was to use a surrogate light-armored, mobile-capability platform that exploited horizontal technology integration to demonstrate a concept for BCOTM and C2OTM by brigade commanders and division command groups. The concept potentially could:

Apply to legacy-force division, brigade and interim brigade and division commanders;
Be an early-entry C2 capability;
Be in the objective force; and
Provide insights on lightweight, multifunctional alternatives to TAC CP configurations.

Concept development

Initially the Armor Center developed the BCOTM O&O concept based on DCX I insights, emerging doctrinal concepts, battle-lab experiments, strike-force lessons-learned, interim BCT development, 4th Infantry Division�s tactical standing operating procedures and specific guidance from TRADOC�s senior leadership. In concert with doctrinal developers from the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the Armor Center�s Directorate of Force Development provided a draft O&O to material developers and 4th Infantry Division that became the baseline for the concept-validation demonstration during DCX II.

The next �deliverable� was the OA � an effort guided by the Armor Center�s deputy commanding general � which provided a clearer definition of what functions and tasks a commander and his operations group should perform vs. which ones the various CPs (TAC, TOC, forward, main, etc.) should conduct. The OA determined which critical capabilities and functions should be performed on command platforms:

Display the common operational picture;
Direct and control maneuver operations (air and ground);
Control direct/indirect fires and effects;
Monitor enemy/intelligence activities;
Synchronize forces;
Direct reconnaissance/counter-reconnaissance operations;
Execute and issue orders;
Receive/render reports; and
Articulate on-the-move vs. short-halt tasks.

The OA also identified which functions and tasks were to remain delegated to CPs. Following this OA and task analysis, the combat developer needed to provide the material developer with a clear understanding of the requirement based on operational capabilities for command-group platforms.

Following OA development, there needed to be a blueprint for the material solution, and that was the systems architecture. The systems architecture had to adequately address the desired capabilities in meeting the O&O�s tenets. The systems architecture is the blueprint for the material solution of the required equipment and its network. The BCOTM�s systems architecture provided on-the-move communications, frequency-modulation voice, FM data (high rate), position location, satellite communications, ultra-high frequency (for ground-air coordination), situation-awareness displays, multiple processors and multiple battlefield-functional-area applications (FBCB2, Maneuver-Control System, All-Source Analysis System, Advanced Field-Artillery Tactical-Data System and Air and Missile Defense Workstation).

Team concept

Once the systems architecture was completed, the Armor Center defined roles and missions for the �team of teams.� This integrated �team of teams� had the daunting challenge of producing a pair of identically configured commander�s platforms in less than two months. The teams consisted of TRADOC and the Armor Center�s DFD as the overall-lead combat developer; the ultimate user, 4th Infantry Division, provided input. The combat developer made final determination on what equipment was installed on the platform.

A team that was part of the �team of teams,� Team Monmouth, consisted of Communications-Electronics Command�s research, development and engineering center and the program executive office for command, control and communications systems. These subject-matter experts provided the latest technology and technical connectivity inside and outside the platform for communications and computer-based display systems. PEO-C3S was also responsible for platform integration and delegated this mission to Lockheed-Martin, the project manager for TOCs and the project manager for platforms.

The Tank and Automotive Armaments Command and TACOM�s RDEC, with assistance from General Dynamic Land Systems, provided the technical expertise for the platform and power configuration.

The team�s first and most difficult task was to rapidly acquire the surrogate vehicles in which to integrate the C2 and communications suite according to the systems architecture. TACOM, with TRADOC�s assistance, was able to obtain two vehicles which already been produced, procured and in a Defense Department agency�s possession. The timeliness and cost-avoidance of borrowing DoD-owned equipment greatly aided the Armor Center�s ability to meet the demanding time schedule. The surrogate light-armored wheeled vehicle used in the BCOTM concept-validation demonstration was the 6x6 Pandur, produced in Austria.

The BCOTM platform�s design was a concept-based, user-guided program that had a multifocus axis, but the program produced vehicles on time and under budget. The capabilities provided by this communications suite � which can be tailored to unit, echelon and mission � will give multiple command groups the ability to sustain situation awareness and provide command presence in areas of greatest importance.

One key point is that these platforms aren�t an additional CP and can�t support 24-hour operations. The platform�s operations-group staff is small and intended only to support the commander�s immediate needs for sustained information that will allow him to �see, decide and act.� Traditional tasks such as planning, synchronizing and controlling the battle will still remain with the main and TAC CPs.

The technology used in BCOTM isn�t totally new; it has been used in several other venues. The Army once had a program called the C2 vehicle that consisted of a C2 module mounted on a Multiple-Launch Rocket System chassis. The C2 vehicle provided highly mobile communications equipment for the maneuver brigade and battalion CPs. The C2V program was cancelled in late 1999 as the Army transitioned to a lighter, deployable and more lethal force.

The Army Airborne C2 System is another Army program that includes similar equipment and capabilities as the BCOTM platform, except that A2C2S is installed in a UH-60 helicopter.

Key technologies

The most promising technological inserts for the BCOTM program stem from the A2C2S program. This technology could provide lightweight, multifunctional alternatives for a number of TAC CP configurations as well as multiple combat and combat-support vehicles. Technological inserts include the multiprocessor unit and the keyboard-video-mouse switch unit.

The MPU is ideally suited for ground and air platforms as well as for CPs that require fusion and display of BFA computer systems� software systems (when the software is of mixed vintage and the computers have different operating systems). The MPU provides a versatile, configurable platform that consolidates up to six powerful single-board computer modules in a single chassis.

The KVMU allows the software that the MPU �houses� to be quickly transferred to and displayed on any screen or workstation. These screens and workstations may be mounted on a platform or contained in a CP.

Coupled together, the MPU and KVMU technologies enabled us to install many more capabilities onto a small, mobile platform than most Armor Center team members could envision at the start of our project design. Prudent application of these and other technologies clearly show potential in reducing the size and footprint of CPs as well as other possible venues.

Platform integration

CECOM sent its safety, communications and equipment-integration engineers to Fort Hood�s New Equipment Fielding Facility to work directly with PM-Platform�s installation team. This teamwork would help ensure optimal solutions for integrating mission equipment. User requirements for a time schedule, safety features, crew configuration, limited space and cosite-interference minimization were among the many challenges in integrating these platforms before the deadline of Aug. 3, 2001.

Also, completing the demonstration vehicles by this date was necessary so the crews could have enough time to train with various 4th Infantry Division headquarters elements. Safety engineers from TACOM, CECOM and the Armor Center joined the team at Fort Hood to assist platform integrators in meeting safety-certification standards before issuing the vehicles to soldiers for training. From operational-concept development through safety release, having a small group of knowledgeable and empowered team members from both the combat- and material-development communities confirmed that the �team of teams� approach is one of the best methods for mission success.

Training

Despite the constraint of very little time between DCX Phases I and II (less than six months), 4th Infantry Division�s commander, MG Ben Griffin, embraced our efforts. Griffin was extremely supportive in integrating our late-breaking demonstration into the train-up for and execution of 4th Infantry Division�s Battle-Command Training Program warfighter exercise. He clearly recognized the opportunity to address a known shortfall in the force and provided our project team all the assistance we needed in achieving our goals and objectives.

The 4th Infantry Division chose to employ the BCOTM platforms at division level and requested TRADOC�s assistance in training crews to properly employ the systems that would support the division�s command group. Five quality �Iron Horse� soldiers were assigned to each platform supporting the commanding general and assistant division commander for maneuver. Three battle-staff officers or noncommissioned officers and two soldiers (primary and alternate drivers) became the operations group for each platform. The officers and NCOs � known as battle captains � assumed responsibilities in three functional areas: maneuver, intelligence and �effects.� These soldiers immersed in an intensive program for seven weeks, attempting to become qualified and highly trained multifunctional staff officers. Each battle captain became proficient in operating more than BFACs.

A three-phased training approach before the platforms were employed during DCX II began in early July 2001, with the crewmen receiving extensive training on the capabilities, maintenance and operation of the platform and its unique equipment. The 4th Infantry Division�s assigned crewmen received hands-on training in using the field-power unit and environmental-control unit. The training�s second phase covered operating Army Battle-Command System equipment and platform-unique communications equipment; MPU and KVMU; and the AN/VRC-83 high-frequency radio. The final phase of training taught crewmen how to employ the BCOTM platform and its communications package supporting the commander�s requirements.

The Armor Center contracted several digital SMEs who had a wealth of experience in brigade-level operations to train the crewmen.

Cross-axis applicability

As I said earlier about DCX II�s demonstration goal, TRADOC�s mission guidance required the Armor Center to identify key features that could be applied to all three Army transformation axes. Early observations from SMEs and field commanders suggested it was impractical to design and procure a new platform to house the BCOTM communications suite. As appropriate, the demonstrated systems architecture should be integrated into the TOE documented or programmed platform for each unit.

Legacy-force mechanized-maneuver commanders unanimously said they didn�t want a wheeled command vehicle because of its lack of armament, extraordinary silhouette and enemy-target susceptibility. They agreed with the concept of the Bradley fighting vehicle as their preferred BCOTM platform. For the interim force, it�s recommended that a BCOTM-like systems architecture be integrated into the interim armored vehicle�s command variant as quickly as possible to affect fielding of follow-on IBCT equipment.

Conclusion

Leveraging insights and findings from major events � such as advanced warfighting experiments and capstone exercises � into solutions enabling warfighters to dominate the future battlefield is a difficult but critical task the combat developer must accomplish for our operational forces. Validation of the BCOTM concept is gaining momentum daily. Continually refining the O&O, capturing and documenting revised operational requirements, and using rapid prototyping and spiral development will carry the BCOTM initiative well on its way to meeting the Army chief of staff�s vision of transformation as we change the way commanders fight and lead in battle. BCOTM efforts through DCX II and beyond will provide a baseline of emerging requirements for brigade and division commanders� platforms, with more refinement by echelon and transformation axis likely to follow.

CPT Morris is the acquisition officer for tactical communications and command, control, communications and computers at the Armor Center. He is a graduate of the Signal officers� advanced course and field-artillery basic course, as well as airborne and air-assault schools. He considers his best assignment so far as command of a tactical/strategic Signal company in Korea.

Acronym QuickScan
A2C2S � Army Airborne Command-and-Control System
ATCCS � Army Tactical Command-and-Control System
BCOTM � battle command on-the-move

BCT � brigade combat team
BFA � battlefield functional area
BFAC � battlefield-functional-area computer
C2 � command and control
C2OTM � command and control on-the-move
C2V � command-and-control vehicle
CECOM � Communications-Electronics Command
CP � command post
DCX � division capstone exercise
DFD � Directorate of Force Development
DoD � Department of Defense
FBCB2 � Force XXI Battle-Command Brigade and Below (System)
FM � frequency modulation
IBCT � interim brigade combat team
KVMU � keyboard-video-mouse (switch) unit
MPU � multiprocessor unit
NCO � noncommissioned officer
NTC � National Training Center
OA � operational architecture
O&O � operational and organizational (concept)
PEO-C3S � program executive office(r) for command, control and communications systems
PM � project manager
RDEC � research, development and engineering center
SME � subject-matter expert
TAC CP � tactical command post
TACOM � Tank and Automotive Armaments Command
TOC � tactical-operations center
TOE � table of organization and equipment
TRADOC � Training and Doctrine Command

dividing rule

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04/04/12

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