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This chapter describes command, control, and communications and the automation of Army ATS units. It also explains command and control functions and facilities, command relationships, and communication requirements.


a. Command and control is vital in the synchronization of Army operations. Command and control and coordination begins with the force commander; he alone is responsible for combat operations on the battlefield. Air traffic service C2 units operate in the same way as other combined arms organizations. However, the battlefield over which ATS routinely operates encompasses the force's entire area of operations. Throughout the range of military operations, ATS units must be able to communicate with local airspace authorities and host-nation airspace infrastructures using telephones and radios.

b. Army ATS units have certain C2 requisites that help support the force with real-time airspace information. These requisites enhance the synchronization of combat power against threat weaknesses. They include--

  • Effective ATS liaison.

  • Mobile ATS facilities.

  • Reliable communications.

  • The relay of timely intelligence.

  • Support for airspace coordination.

  • The relay of accurate weather information.

c. ATS commanders at all levels are responsible for coordinating with the force commander through the chain of command. They also assist the force commander with the employment of air assets.


a. ATS commanders and their staffs that operate with liaison elements in tactical operations centers collect, process, display, issue, and coordinate critical C2 information. These TOCs plan combat operations and help the commander with C2 functions during the execution of operations. The ATS group and battalion headquarters are located where they best facilitate command and control of organic assets.

b. Tactical operations centers at all levels must provide C2 for the entire spectrum of the battlefield including deep, close, and rear operations. The TOC should be limited in size and electronic signature and be easily displaced. The flow of the battle and the desires of the commander dictate the movement of the TOC.


The widespread nature of ATS support creates a need for diverse command and support relationships with the supported units. ATS commanders will task-organize their units to best perform the mission.

a. Command Relationships.

    (1) The following paragraphs discuss command relationships used for Army ATS units.

    (a) Assigned. An attached ATS unit is placed in an organization permanently. It is controlled and administered by that organization for its primary function or the greater portion of its functions.

    (b) Attached. An attached ATS unit is placed in an organization temporarily. The commander to which the unit is attached is subject to the limitations specified in the attachment order. However, he exercises the same degree of command and control responsibility for the attached unit as he does over his organic units. The command to which the unit is assigned normally retains responsibility for transferring and promoting personnel and administering the UCMJ. The attachment order should state clearly the administrative and support responsibility of the gaining unit.

    (c) Operational control. An ATS unit is in an OPCON relationship when it is provided to another commander for a specific mission or task that is limited by function, time, or location. The commander may deploy the unit concerned and keep or assign tactical control of the unit. Operational control does not include administrative and logistic responsibility, discipline, internal organization, and unit training. When applied within NATO, OPCON does not include the authority to assign separate employment of unit components.

(2) Command relationships for ATS units are shown below.

    (a) Groups are assigned to the theater as directed by the JFC.

    (b) Battalions normally are assigned to ATS groups. The ATS battalions are assigned to the corps aviation brigade or as directed by the JFC when the ATS group is not activated.

    (c) Corps and division companies are assigned to ATS battalions.

    (d) Communications zone and GS and SRA companies are assigned to the ATS group. If they are task-organized, these companies are assigned as directed by the JFC. When the ATS group is not activated, it is assigned to the battalion.

    (e) ATS elements are attached to a supported unit during deployment operations.

b. Support Relationships.

    (1) Air traffic service units normally are found in direct support or general support organizations.

    (a) Direct support. An ATS unit in DS of a specific unit or force gives priority of support to that unit or force. The ATS unit providing support will take support requests directly from the supported unit or force. It normally will establish liaison and communications and advise the supported unit. An ATS unit in DS has no command relationship with the supported force and, therefore, cannot be suballocated, reassigned, or reorganized.

    (b) General support. ATS units in GS will support the total force and not any particular subdivision of the supported force. Subdivisions or subordinate units may request support through the supported force headquarters. However, only the supported force headquarters can determine priorities and assign missions to these ATS units.

    (2) Support relationships for ATS units are shown below.

    (a) ATS groups are in GS to a theater.

    (b) ATS battalions are in GS to a corps.

    (c) ATS companies are in DS to a division and/or GS to a corps.


a. ATS commanders and staffs need reliable, long-range, redundant communication systems. With these, they can exercise effective C2 throughout the supported force's area of operations. ATS forces must communicate on the move and maintain and sustain the same communications capabilities as other maneuver forces.

b. Radio normally is the primary means of internal and external communications. ATS units use FM, HF (AM) voice, UHF, VHF, common-user systems, and internal wire to expedite command and control. ATS also must be incorporated into the automatic data distribution system to support aviation's position location, reporting, and tactical information distribution requirements. The airspace information center requires UHF-FM demand-assigned multiple access satellite communications intelligence and weather broadcasts. SATCOM serves as the non-line-of-sight (NOE communications HF) backup means of communications. ATS units require dual HF for simultaneous voice and data transmission and reception. The dual HF requirement also supports the air coordination A2C2 net (ground-to-ground) and NLOS requirements for ground-to-air. In addition, the AIC requires an air picture, which may be obtainable only through a joint tactical information distribution system.

c. When ATS units conduct operations over extended battlefields, they must have access to battlefield communication systems to relay and retransmit messages. These systems will ensure uninterrupted battlefield communications, especially when aircraft are operating at terrain flight altitudes.


a. Automation interface with adjacent air traffic facilities ensures fast, reliable, and informed services. This equipment must be compatible with the digitized battlefield automated systems planned for the future. To ensure that airspace users have the airspace control plan, ATS personnel must be able to collect, process, display, and issue A2C2 information.

b. Automation is necessary to provide--

  • A2C2 services.

  • Terminal services.

  • Airspace information services.

  • Forward-area support services.

c. Automation also is needed for ATS personnel to perform their functions at echelons above corps, corps, division, and brigade. If ATS is to remain viable, requirements developers must identify special automation requirements for ATS functions. Materiel developments then must satisfy these automation requirements.

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