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TOPIC: Combined Coordination Staff.

DISCUSSION: The U.S. and Saudi Arabian commanders formed a combined coordination staff in the form of the Coalition, Coordination, Communication, and Integration Center (C3IC). The C3IC was a joint, combined organization which had the primary focus of coordinating U.S. and Saudi land operations. Each side of the coalition effort was headed by a major general. The C3IC consisted of a number of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine officers, and a Saudi contingent. The focus was primarily on land operations. The organization coordinated and shared information and worked issues for U.S. and Saudi forces. It was a balance between a formal and informal setting where one country did not appear to dominate the other. Due to U.S. experience in large synchronized combined operations, U.S. planners tended to take the lead in operational planning while the Saudis provided input. Usually, the Saudis accepted U.S. recommendations on land operations. Carefully selected personnel staffed the C3IC and were able to understand and communicate with personnel from a different culture. Both the U.S. and Saudi major generals communicated with their respective military to ensure that a unity of effort was maintained.

LESSON(S): A joint, combined organization must be established to coordinate military operations during coalition operations.

TOPIC: Data-Link Architecture Planning.

DISCUSSION: Mission planning sessions for data-link architecture and system employment would have been enhanced by more face-to-face involvement by actual participants. The C2 structure and data-link architecture (joint and combined) employed are of sufficient scope and complexity to warrant maximum preplanning and briefing among participants where possible. This is especially important where primary interface participants (Tactical Air Control Center (TACC), Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS), U.S. Navy (USN) assets) are involved. Physical locations (close proximity) of the TACC Message Processing Center (MPC), functioning as the Interface Control Unit (ICU), the AWACS planning cell, and naval assets in port afforded an excellent opportunity for a rapid and effective mutual planning effort. Preplanning sessions for multiple AWACS coverage were often limited to AWACS tactics personnel with minimal input from key ICU players; consequently, an excellent planning opportunity was not fully exploited. Additionally, the use of multiple Tactical Digital Information-Link B (TADIL-B)) often caused confusion and led to misunderstandings between the ICU and naval data-link (Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS)), Airborne Tactical Data System (ATDS) participants. Overall architectures were briefed and discussed at the weekly Tactical Air Control System (TACS) meeting (attended by various liaison personnel), but a more comprehensive planning effort would have been possible had key players attended and provided input during initial planning sessions.

LESSON(S): Ideal conditions of collocation or close proximity of major interface participants may not always exist, but when they do, they must be exploited fully. This close association and group planning effort assures a unity of effort, eliminates conflicting priorities, and establishes a firm foundation for future operations when units are geographically separated.

TOPIC: Digital Data Link.

DISCUSSION: The capabilities of the 02 digital data-link interface were not fully exploited. Operation DESERT SHIELD had the most ambitious C2 and data-link interface ever attempted by U.S., North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other Allied Nations. The data links employed included TADIL-A, TADIL-B, Army Tactical Data Link-I (ATDL- l), Tactical Digital Information Link-C (TADIL-C), and Interim JTIDS Message Specification (IJMS). These links, from appropriately equipped platforms, have the potential to reduce the need for voice communications among the various link participants and promote situation awareness among all elements.

Positional information and identification information for surface, air, and land targets are supported by the protocols and data elements within the message.

C2 operators and battle management personnel need to be aware of what link information is available to them and what types of information the various platforms can contribute to their situation awareness. Positional information, current status information, weapons status information, engagement status, weapons release, air raid warning and command orders are all available from the various links.

When voice reports or voice amplification of information already available from or to the links is required, the utility of the links is diminished. The interface participants' concern for discovering and developing information for voice reports detracts from the time needed to develop and transmit the same information or the same kinds of information using the data links.

LESSON(S): All data-link-capable C2 agencies must use the data links and data elements within the exchanged message protocols for enhancing the situation awareness of agencies above, below and adjacent to them. All data-link-capable units must ensure that they know and use the capabilities available to their agency on the digital data links. Interface units need to know how to effectively employ their agency in the best manner to enhance the situation awareness of the C2 interface; detect, track, and evaluate the threat; task, manage, and allocate friendly assets against the threat; and monitor the air, surface, and land situation displays.

TOPIC: Joint Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) Information.

DISCUSSION: The Air Tasking Order (ATO), Special Instructions (SPINs), and Airspace Control Order (ACO) were the key means to disseminate joint A2C2 information. Army aviation was not connected to the distribution system. The Air Force used the Computer -Assisted Force Management System (CAFMS) as its primary means of disseminating the ATO, SPINs, and ACO. Army aviation at all levels was disconnected from the Air Force distribution system. Forward deployed fixed-wing and helicopter units as well as echelon above corps (EAC) units operating from fixed based locations did not have ready access to CAFMS terminals. Vital mission data, such as mode I and mode II codes, time on target and station times, special electronic mission aircraft tracks, and air transit route approvals had to be obtained through secondary sources. Pertinent mission information was not obtained until after mission windows had been missed in some instances. From D-day forward, daily ATO, SPINs, and ACOs totaled more than 800 pages which made alternative distribution systems, such as Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN), an impractical source for necessary information.

LESSON(S): Real-time access to critical airspace management information is virtually impossible for Army aviation units without connectivity with the Air Force CAFMS or any replacement systems. The Army must resource an automated system that has connectivity with the Air Force airspace management system.

T0PIC: Tactical Operations Data.

DISCUSSION: There was no Tactical Operational Data (TACOPDAT) in use or in force prior to the development and publishing of the Air Defense Plan and Airspace Control Order. The TACOPDAT message is used by the Area Air Defense Commander (AADC) to publish airspace control measures (ACMs) and the procedures to be used by the air C2 agencies to integrate surveillance, data link, voice, and C2. It is used to publish permanent changes to the operations orders. In the absence of an order or plan, the TACOPDAT can be used to disseminate the initial guidance necessary to accomplish air C2 through the various agencies.

An attempt to publish this information was made by including similar information in the SPINs portion of the Air Tasking Order (ATO). This attempt failed because the ATO SPINs is a free-form element in message format. The C2 agencies had to sift through multiple pages of SPINs to find the elements that were of importance to them.

LESSON(S): In the absence of a published air defense plan or airspace control order for a particular area of operations, a TACOPDAT message should be published at the earliest possible time to facilitate the establishment of airspace control measures, surveillance areas, and to set up the C2 relationships. Theater air control and air defense planners should consider developing a strawman TACOPDAT for their various operations plans prior to introduction in the theater. The TACOPDAT is used in conjunction with technical operational data (TECHOPDAT) to delineate the procedures to be employed by the command, control, and air defense agencies in a particular area of operation.

Table of Contents
Chapter 2: Communications

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