Automated C3I: The Dawning Of A New Age In Marine Corps History CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA Intelligence AUTOMATED C3I: THE DAWNING OF A NEW AGE IN MARINE CORPS HISTORY Submitted to Rudolph V. Wiggins, Ph.D. In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for Written Communications The Marine Corps Command and Staff College Quantico, Virginia Major J. F. Bouldry United States Marine Corps April 6, 1984 Outline Thesis statement: Through the acquisition of automated computer based systems and state-of-the-art communication equipment, field commanders will now be able to make tactical decisions based upon inputs of near real-time information. I. Introduction A. Future operational requirements drive need for automated C3I B. Threat assessment basis for determining system requirements C. Automated tactical systems impact D. Data communications versus voice communications II. MTACCS A. MIFASS B. PLRS C. TCO D. Impact on Marine Division: education of personnel III. Communications A. New systems support flow of information and data B. AJ and LPI requirements IV. Communication Technology A. Spread spectrum signal processing B. AJ capabilities C. Multiple access and frequency hopping capabilities D. Error detection and correction V. PJH A. Army to fuse PLRS and JTIDS B. Master station enhanced to net control unit C. Communication grid covers operational area and supports units D. Marine Corps application -- MAGTF E. Force multiplier VI. Conclusion A. New automated C3I systems about to be fielded B. Imagination, insight, and ingenuity necessary for effective employment of systems by Marines AUTOMATED C3I: THE DAWNING OF A NEW AGE IN MARINE CORPS HISTORY The United States Marine Corps is about to cross an historic threshold and field a new family of automated command and control equipment. This family of equipment will usher in needed and expanded operational capa- bilities for those commanders and staff officers with the insight and imagination to make full use of these innovations. Through the acqui- sition of automated computer based systems and state-of-the-art communi- cation equipments, field commanders will now be able to make tactical decisions based upon inputs of near real-time information. The trans- mission of large quantities of information between and among participating units will be rapid, secure, and, to a large extent, free from induced communication errors. In order to attain these operational enhancements, considerable resources have been invested over the past two decades.1 An assess- ment of the potential threat that may confront Marine units beginning in the late 1980's and extending through the year 2000 was conducted and has served as the basis for exploring new techniques for enhancing command and control functions. To augment this threat, the intense Air-Land Battle 2000 scenario postulated by the US Army was also used to determine future requirements.2,3 When determining the command, control, communication, and intelligence (C3I) requirements in light of these threat scenarios, an investment in new technology and systems had to be made in order to insure that American military forces would win decisively when confronted by numerically superior military forces.4 Not only would the quality of information have to be more current but it would have to be available sooner, be in greater detail, and be received free from enemy or environmentally induced transmission errors. Existing communication equipments and operational facilities likewise need an improved capability. During the late 1960's, a conscious decision was made by the Marine Corps to embark on a course which would achieve these operational enhancements by the early 1990's.5 The introduction of automated tactical systems requires a major change in the manner in which combat information is presently transmitted and distributed. Record traffic communications presently comprise only ten to fifteen percent of all tactical communications with the over- whelming burden being carried by tactical voice communications. With the introduction of automated systems, it is postulated that as much as eighty percent of all communications will be computer-to-computer data traffic and only twenty percent or less carried as voice traffic.6 Although the entire Marine Corps air-ground team will benefit from the introduction of several automated command and control systems, the Marine Division will be the major benefactor. The Marine Division is scheduled to receive systems which have been engineered to provide not only needed automation of certain manual functions but also many innovative functions which previously could not technically be achieved. Collectively these systems are known as the Marine Corps Tactical Command and Control System (MTACCS) and comprise seven separate, distinct systems. Under central management and control, these individual systems will become operational during the next six to ten years.7 These systems function independently and all designed to have some degree of interoperability in order that the capabilities and strengths of each may provide automated inputs of information to the other systems. The greatest technical impact that will accompany the fielding of these systems will occur within the ground establishment. While the aviation community has for decades functioned with an automated air command and control system, the ground side of the Marine Corps has not had the benefit of building an equivalent operational and technical experience level. Indeed, acquiring the initial confidence in relying on such systems with state-of-the-art circuitry, diplays, and their associated sophisticated maintenance requirements and procedures, will require a significant training effort for commanders, staff personnel, and technicians. A dedicated education effort will be essential for officers to better understand that operational requirements extending into the 21st Century place a heavy burden on the effective use and employment of MTACCS. Many officers feel that the high acquisition costs of MTACCS do not justify the gained operational enhancements. These same officers, upon looking at the progress of these developing systems, often ask how much auto- mation is really required to provide maximum efficiency for command and control in combat or "is the assumption that providing more information to every headquarters leading us to an overemphasis on automation?"8 There are operational needs and stated requirements to employ automation and its associated technology in order to increase the effectiveness of the commander and his staff in performing essential planning tasks. The need to convey rapidly this information via a dynamic telecommunications network also exists. If national policy remains unchanged and the nation must defend itself from potential adversaries who are numerically superior in almost all categories of conventional arms, then our national defense will rest on the efficiency, effectiveness, and speed with which we can receive accurate intelligence, analyze potential courses of action, and issue effective orders. This can only be achieved with automated command and control systems which are interconnected and supported by state-of- the-art telecommunications systems. Of the MTACC systems, perhaps three will have the greatest impact on the Marine Division: the Marine Integrated Fire and Air Support System (MIFASS), the Position Location Reporting System (PLRS), and Tactical Combat Operations (TCO). Each of these systems makes unique contributions to the division's operational effectiveness and eliminates documented operational deficiencies. The MIFASS is a selectively automated tactical command and control system that will facilitate the coordination of mortars, artillery, naval gunfire, and direct air support in order to provide more effective and responsive fire support for ground maneuver forces. MIFASS will provide an automated system for the technical fire direction of artillery and mortars and an automated capability for fire planning with associated weapons and target information management for infantry, aviation, and artillery operation centers. It will distribute battlefield maneuver control information such as boundaries, coordination lines and areas, friendly unit locations, and air defense data. MIFASS is designed so that selected components may be employed at all echelons of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It will be located at the MAGTF head- quarter, the division, the infantry and artillery regiments, and at infantry and artillery battalions. An operational capability in fiscal year 1987 is now planned.9 Scheduled to become operational in late 1985, the PLRS will provide highly accurate, real-time, three-dimensional position location and identification information for selected PLRS-equipped air and ground elements and vehicles. This information will be made available to appropriate commanders and their staffs within the MAGTF through both PLRS and other MTACC systems. The position location information (PLI) will assist with maneuver control, fire support planning, fire support coordination, conflict avoidance, and other command and control functions. In addition to being available to various command center installations served by the MTACC systems, position location and other PLRS data will be provided to all PLRS users, on request, via the PLRS user unit. A complete PLRS will consist of two shelterized master stations and a mixture of user units in manpact, surface vehicle, airborne, and auxillary ground unit configurations. The system is driven by one master station with the second functioning as an alternate master station. The alternate master station provides for continued operation during command post displacement or loss resulting from enemy action or system failure. Each system contains a tailored mixture capable of supporting up to 370 user units.10 The TCO system is a tactical command and control system that provides semi-automated support to a MAGTF and is scheduled for fielding in 1989. This system will provide selective automated support to assist commanders in the accomplishment of their planning, operations, and intelligence functions. The TCO system will provide a capability to receive, process, store, display, and transmit information to assist in the accomplish- ment of all staff planning functions. TCO makes available to planners and decision makers more coherent, more accurate, and more timely informa- tion on which to make plans and decisions. It will be employed and located in operation centers at all levels of command within the MAGTF.11 As important as these command and control systems are in supporting local commanders and performing required functions with a high degree of reliability, each of these systems must be capable of exchanging information with other echelons of command. Maneuver control measures for fire support coordination that are essential for the safe, accurate, and timely delivery of munitions on enemy positions and formations which are planned at the artillery regimental MIFASS terminal must be transmitted to the subordinate artillery battalions' MIFASS terminals and to the division's MIFASS terminal. Likewise for TCO, a similar operational requirement exists. The results of a commander's planning and his decisions must be trans- mitted to the higher and subordinate command centers' TCO terminals. Key to both the MIFASS fire support planning and the TCO operational planning is the receiving of position location information supplied by PLRS. A computer or communication failure will significantly degrade the perfor- mance of these MTACC systems which are now operating dependently. Indeed, the potential strength of the MTACC systems is the synergistic effect each system adds to the others as they become fielded during the next six to ten years. To insure that critical information does flow from command center to command center, new technology communication systems are presently in parallel or concurrent development. They are specifically designed to meet the data communications requirements of the computer based command and control systems. Basic properties of these developing communi- cations systems are that they must afford some degree of antijam protection (AJ) (that is, the ability to withstand enemy radio frequency jamming attacks on both voice and data communications circuits) and, simultaneously, provide for low probabilities of interception (LPI) which reduces detectability of friendly signals.12 During the past two decades, quantum strides have been achieved in the development of a technology first introduced by the Army in the 1950's to achieve these same communication system operational parameters. Spectrum spreading signal processing techniques have recently moved to the forefront of radio communication engineering. Such technology is now employed not only in PLRS but also in the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Subsystems (SINCGARS), the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS),13 and the satellite emplaced Global Positioning System (GPS).14 Both the Army and the Marine Corps are actively pursuing these communication systems to provide the AJ and LPI required for the successful functioning of future automated command and control systems. The advantages of spread spectrum systems are:15 1. Jammer rejection 2. Energy density reduction 3. Multipath improvement 4. Transmission security 5. Improved time resolution (ranging accuracy) 6. Multiple access (code division multiple access) From the advantages listed, three are significant technical enhance- ments inherent within the spread spectrum technology. First, the spread spectrum technology greatly reduces the ability of an adversary to jam the transmitted spread signal. In each instance the transmitted signal occupies a signal bandwidth many times greater than the bandwidth of the jammer's signal. This is important as existing jammers are incapable of introducing sufficient interfering energy into the transmitted bandwidth to succesfully degrade the transmission. In other words, spread spectrum technology reduces present broad band jamming systems to partial bandwidth jamming systems. Spread spectrum technology in development today offers the promise of greatly inhibiting the effects of any interfering signals, even those undesired signals whose signal strength exceeds the friendly signal strength by as much as 1000 or 30 dB. Secondly, the time division multiple access characteristic of this technology permits large numbers of units to participate in the network and exchange data. PLRS, as an example, is designed to allow a mixture of up to 370 manpack, vehicular, and airborne units to form a PLRS community of users at the infantry regiment. Information can be exchanged between PLRS user units rapidly as spread spectrum systems transmit in short bursts of energy having a duration of only about 800 milliseconds. Although developmental efforts are underway to exploit spread spectrum systems using time-difference-of-arrival techniques,16 SINCGARS, JTIDS, and PLRS will be difficult to degrade or exploit.17 The short millisecond bursts coupled with a pseudo-random frequency hopping scheme greatly increase the degree of difficulty in following one, unique transmitter's frequency hopping pattern in order to accomplish either signal intelligence or initiate direction finding procedures. Indeed, with 370 PLRS user units reporting information at varying update rates having transmissions of less than one second, it will be difficult to discriminate or isolate key command user units. Finally, all spread spectrum systems incorporate a powerful error detection and correction scheme. This capability enables the computer based systems to receive correct and ungarbled information even when a concentrated jamming effort is directed towards these communication systems. Not only can incorrect bits of data be identified, but, as in the case of JTIDS, "a powerful encoding and decoding scheme will support reliable data communications even if one-half of the data pulses are not received at all."18 Other aspects of the PLRS and JTIDS (most notably the automatic relay capability inherent in each terminal or user unit) further contribute to the survivability of such a communication system given the intense, rapid pace of modern warfare. This capability is an important one when considering that some airborne units will be PLRS or JTIDS equipped and will be flying in an anti-air threat mode requiring them to fly low and fast using nap-of-the-earth flight profiles. Normally this flight profile presents significant communication problems as aircraft become terrain masked and air-to-ground communications is often characterized as poor at best. The advantage of a PLRS or JTIDS based system is that each ground user unit or terminal can function as a relaying unit. Thus, flying low over friendly units will not result in the same degraded communication state between ground units and aircraft when confronting terrain which masks aircraft. The US Army has recognized the great potential that both PLRS and JTIDS offer in providing rapid information updating and in providing a communication system with high-speed, secure digital data linking capa- bilities. As such, an exploratory development was initiated during 1980 to integrate both systems. The new system has been named the PLRS/JTIDS Hybrid or PJH.19 The PJH forms an adaptive link between widely varying echelons of command which can expand or contract depend- ing upon that tactical situation. Because of the designed data capa- cities of the individual systems (PLRS: 300 bits per second,20 JTIDS: 300,000 bits per second21), each is suited to support different echelons of command. The PLRS supports front line units at the infantry regimental level and below with position location information for rapid fire support, maneuver control, navigation assistance, and resupply functions. The JTIDS provides rear area command centers with a high capacity, high data rate device which can support division and corps fire support operations, detailed operational planning, combat service support control, and all air defense operations both within the Army's air defense sector and in a joint service environment. The joint service aspect of air defense is especially important as JTIDS has been designated a Department of Defense mandated system for all services. Each service is required to incorporate the JTIDS into their service unique host platforms thus permitting an exchange of tactical data using common transmission media and a common message standard. Within the Army, this unified concept for transmitting digital data over the battlefield using the PJH concept has resulted in PJH's accelerated development with an Army production decision scheduled for 1985 and PJH deployment to Europe scheduled for 1988.22 The Marine Corps has purchased PLRS for fielding within its divisions. A total of three systems will be purchased for each division giving it the capability to PLRS-equip each infantry regiment. Likewise, the Marine Corps is purchasing the JTIDS for inclusion in the new air defense system, TAOC-85.23 The F/A-18 aircraft will also be JTIDS equipped not only to transmit and receive air defense data with the Marine Corps air command and control agencies but also to exchange air defense information and data with the other service's air command and control agencies. There appears to be several advantages to the PJH which should give Marine Corps planners cause to seriously monitor the PJH's development and subsequent performance. Through modified PLRS master stations (now termed net control units to which has been added a Class II JTIDS terminal), a local grid or network of user units and terminals will form a command, control, and communication umbrella over a supported units combat operating area. This concept of system flexibility based upon a task organized combat unit is particularly appropriate to the Marine Corps. With a wide variety of potential missions and contingencies, the PJH is capable of supporting Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) units ranging from the smaller Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) to the Marine Amphibious Force (MAF). The advantages for employing the PJH include commonality of equipment with the other services, real-time transfer and display of friendly unit positions, security in transmission of data with a greatly reduced probability of intercept or exploitation and protection from enemy jammer interference. Since both aviation and ground units will be equipped with elements of the PJH, improved command and control of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft will be realized in supporting ground maneuver elements and rear area support units. An increasingly important aspect of combat operations is the degree of interoperability the PJH provides the Marine Corps in operating with other services. Recent operations in Beirut and Grenada are examples of the continued effort by military planners to conduct joint operations instead of single service operations. Realizing that contingencies exist for potential operations in NATO and in the Persian Gulf, joint operations will become the standard for future US military operations. The PHJ will then become a force multiplier. It will provide combat information rapidly over a secure, reliable communication medium giving military commanders the ability to make more timely decisions thus enableing them to attrite an adversary numerically superior in weapon systems to US forces. Significant operational milestones are beginning to appear on the horizon for the US Marine Corps. As each milestone arrives, another tactical command, control, and communication system will be added to the MTACCS mozaic. Commanders at all echelons will possess the capability to keep pace with a rapidly changing battlefield. Advancements in rapid maneuverability and rapid mobility can thus be more efficiently con- trolled or countered. By careful design, each commander determine to what extent he and his staff will call upon the information stored and displayed when making future tactical decision. Marines should not be fearful of either the technical aspects which accompany these new systems. Rather, Marines must now exhibit their imagination, insight, and ingenuity in determining how to best employ the MTACC system to increase their unit's combat power and combat effectiveness. In developing these computerized communication-electronics systems and automated command and control systems, substantial resources of money, time, and talent have been invested to insure that stated operational deficiencies are eliminated and Marine combat force is significantly increased. It only remains for Marines of today to prepare themselves and our Corps for entry into a new phase of Marine Corps history. FOOTNOTES 1U.S. Marine Corps, Command and Control Master Plan, March 1983,p. 1-2. 2Brig General Kenneth C. Leuer, USA, "The Air-Land Battle: 1984 to 2001 and Beyond," Defense Science 2001+, December 1983, pp. 39--44. 3Jerome A Blackman, "Army Communications for AirLand Battle," IEEE Communications, July 1983, pp. 19--22. 4Department of Defense, Soviet Military Power, March 1983, p. 63. 5U.S. Marine Corps, Command and Control Master Plan, March 1983, pp. 1--4 through 1--7. 6Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, MIFASS Communication Requirements/Analysis, 29 April 1975, p. 5--16. 7U.S. Marine Corps, Command and Control Master Plan, March 1983, p. 2--1. 8ibid, p. 1--27. 9ibid, p. 2--3 through 2--19. 10ibid, pp. 2--29 through 2--39. 11ibid, pp. 2--21 through 2--28. 12Paul F. Sass, "Why is the Army Interested in Spread Spectrum?," IEEE Communications, July 1983, p. 23. 13ibid, pp. 23 to 24. 14ibid, p. 17. 15ibid, p. 23. 16George Oeh and Al Lamper, "Advanced Techniques Give One-Degree Accuracy in VHF/UHF Direction Finding," Microwave Systems News, March 1984, pp. 145--157. 17John Bouldry and Kenneth Watts, paper given at the 25th Joint EW Symposium, "The ECCM Features of PLRS (SECRET)," May 1980. 18James B. Schultz, "PLRS,PJH to Improve Tactical Battlefield Operations," Defense Electronics, January 1984, pp. 60--71. 19ibid, p. 68. 20Col William S. Jones, USA, "Army Firms up JTIDS Planning," Defense Electronics, August 1982, p. 82. 21U.S. Marine Corps, Command and Control Master Plan, March 1983, p. 2--34. 22Schultz, p. 71. 23U.S. Marine Corps, Command and Control Master Plan, March 1983, p. 3--99. BIBLIOGRAPHY Blackman, Jerome A. "Army Communications for the AirLand Battle." IEEE Communications, 21 (July 1983). Jones, William S., Col, USA. "Army Firms up JTIDS Planning." Defense Electronics, 14 (August 1982). Leuel, Kenneth C., Brig General, USA. "The Air-Land Battle: 1984 to 2001 and Beyond." Defense Science 2001+, 2 (December 1983). Oeh, George and Lampell, Al. "Advanced Techniques Give One-Degree Accuracy in VHF/UHF Direction Finding." Microwave Systems News, 27 (March 1984). Sass, Paul F. "Why is the Army Interested in Spread Spectrum?" IEEE Communications, 21 (July 1983). Schultz, James B. "PLRS, PJH to Improve Tactical Battlefield Operations," Defense Electronics, 16 (January 1984). Bouldry, John, Capt, USMC and Watts, Kenneth, Cap, USMC. "The ECCM Features of PLRS (SECRET)," paper delievered at the 25th Joint EW Symposium, May 1980. Department of Defense. "Soviet Military Power." March 1983. Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity. MIFASS Communication Requirements/Analysis. 29 April 1975. U.S. Marine Corps. Command and Control Master Plan. March 1983.
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