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Command And Control Communications For 
Fighting And Surviving A Modern Battle
CSC 1984
                            The Writing Program
        				 Command and Staff College
        			     Major David C. Litchfield
        				United States Marine Corps
                                 April 6, 1984
Thesis Sentence:  To prepare itself for future conflict, the
                  Marine Corps must compare its C3 strengths
                  and weaknesses against those of the
                  Soviets, and make necessary modifications
                  to fight and survive a modern battle of
                  high intensity.
 I.   Introduction
      A.  MCATFS place tremendous requirement on C3 systems
      B.  "Cloud of Battle" creates problems for C3 system
      C.  Marine Corps must compare C3 systems with Soviets
 II.  MABS and their C3 Systems
      A.  Strengths of MAB C3 System (flexibility,
      B.  Weaknesses of MAB C3 System (mobility, equipment,
      C.  "Grenada Syndrome"
III.  Soviet C3 Systems
      A.  Strengths (duplication, mobility, EW, training)
      B.  Weaknesses (flexibility, jamming theory,
IV.   Proposals
      A.  Increase mobility for survival
      B.  Integrate EW with combat power
      C.  Realign communication units
      D.  Improve Training
      E.  Develop improved equipment
          1.  LAV
          2.  MEP noise reduction
          3.  Burst transmission devices
          4.  Non-electrical means
          5.  Compact mobile satellite equipment
          6.  Improved electronic warfare equipment
 V.   Conclusion
      A.  MAB C3 systems must become more mobile
      B.  Personnel shortages must be corrected
      C.  EW capability must be improved
      D.  Employment policies must be perfected
      E.  Soviets lead in mobility and EW
      F.  Soviets lag behind in flexibility
      G.  Final target is flexibility, mobility and
	The United States Marine Corps considers itself an
expert at controlling the highly complicated maneuver of
projecting mechanized combined arms task forces (MCATFs)
ashore on a hostile beach.  The requirement placed upon
command and control communications (C3) systems in this
environment is tremendous.  Control of supporting arms, to
allow for integration of naval gunfire, artillery, and close
air support, is vital to the success of the landing and to
winning and surviving the subsequent fight ashore.  Unfortu-
nately, this entire evolution is prone to confusion caused
by the "cloud of battle".  Additionally, the flexibility and
mobility of our potential Soviet Bloc enemies, and their
organization for combat, precludes complete prior planning
on our part to counter every possible contingency.
	To prepare itself for future conflict, the Marine Corps
must compare its strengths and weaknesses against those of
the soviets, and make necessary modifications to fight and
survive a modern battle of high intensity.  This paper will
therefore include a look at where the Marine Corps stands
today with regard to C3 systems for MAGTF command posts, as
compared to current Soviet practices, with an eye towards
strong and weak points.  Following this, recommendations will
be made as to proposed improvements which the Marine Corps
should consider.
	Marine Corps units normally deploy for overseas
commitments as Marine Amphibious Units (MAUs) or Marine
Amphibious Brigades (MABs).  These units are task organized,
self contained forces which are capable of fighting an
integrated sea, land, and air battle for short durations.  For
the purpose of this paper, I will concentrate on the MAB.  The
MAB is composed of a reinforced Infantry Regiment, an Air
Group, and a Service Support Group.1
	The MAB is the operational workhorse of the Fleet Marine
Force2 and is the subject of much current decision-making.  In
time of war, MABs may be committed to Norway, Iceland, Cuba,
and many other hotspots in the world.3  Commanders on the
ground at the MAB level need dependable, mobile, lightweight,
secure C3 systems which allow for rapid direction to be
applied during maneuver warfare scenarios, where delay will
spell lost chances for victory or even defeat.  Current levels
of personnel assigned to communication units, equipment
presently held and forecasted for arrival, and employment
policies don't provide the required C3 systems needed by the
MAB.  Presently, MABs deploy with too much or too little C3
capability.4  The bulky MAB HQ presents an irresistible target
which is poor on mobility and communication security, and is
highly susceptible to Soviet Radio Electronic Combat (REC).
The too thin MAB Headquarters does not provide the commander
with adequate C3, which results in confusion and ineffective
employment of the entire MAB on the battlefield.
	A comparison of MAB C3 strengths and weaknesses with
those of equally sized Soviet Bloc units is necessary to form
opinions which suggest changes or maintenance of current
     The greatest strength of the current MAB C3 system is
flexibility.  The MAB Headquarters depends on radio as its
primary means of command and control.5  A great variety of
hardware is available for providing short and long range C3
include satellite UHF, multichannel and single channel VHF,
and HF transmission paths.  Substitutions of systems and
hardware is common place, and quick response times are
achieved when doctrine and local guidance are followed.
Current communication security equipment provides for adequate
protection of key single channel radio, teletype, and
telephone circuits when properly utilized.  Strategic
communications channels are available through new families of
satellite and ground wave equipment, which of for state-of-
the-art dependability.  C3 to forward units and rear
administrative locations has been tested and found to be
technically feasible.6
     MAB C3 weaknesses become evident as soon as the MAB
Headquarters comes ashore.  Mobility is sacrificed for bulk
and quantity.  Recent communication detachments with the 4th
MAB have included approximately 250 personnel and 120
vehicles, trailers, shelters, and generators.7  This great
quantity of men and machines cannot move or set up quickly and
concealment is almost impossible.  The visual, heat, radio
frequency energy, and sound target created is enormous.
Survivability of the MAB Headquarters, even with the use of
remote antenna sites, is questionable.  Soviet intelligence
collection efforts will have to be severely suppressed for
them not to locate our operating positions.  On the other
hand, our reconnaissance units don't normally conduct
direction finding operations against hostile front line
units.  Our portable jammers are not well integrated with
front line units and are in fact not very portable, in that
they require 30 minutes to set up for operation.  Hostile
direction finders require less than two minutes to pinpoint a
     Additional weaknesses become evident when more attention
is given to equipment on hand versus equipment needed.  The
equipment on hand is of good quality and dependability.
Sufficient assets exist to allow for low level single channel
C3 among MAB elements.  However, problems do exist with
telephone switching centers, satellite terminals, and teletype
switches.  Currently the Marine Corps does not possess
telephone switches, satellite terminals, or teletype terminals
which are truly capable of rapid displacement.  The TTC-38
telephone central, TSC-96 satellite communications central,
and the TYC-5 AUTODIN and TGC-37 teletype terminals are large,
bulky,and require truck and trailer transportation.  A crane
is required to lift them, and hours are invested in
preparation for installation and de-installation.  Portable
teletypes and telephone switches are available but are not
configured in any vehicle and must be "jury rigged" for a
mobile configuration.  The Marine Corps has elected not to
purchase any portable satellite equipment, although the Army
plans to procure the AN/PRT-250 single channel UHF satellite
transceiver, which has already proven its versatility and
usefulness.9  Once again the MAB C3 system can be heavy and
dependable or almost too light for effective control, but no
high-mobility, compactequipment is on board.  Once the MAB
commander leaves his rear administrative command post (CP) and
moves forward to his mobile tactical CP to fight the battle,
he'll leave all but his few mobile radio nets behind.  These
mobile radio nets are the precise targets of the Soviet units.
he will face. The Soviets realize that troop control circuits
must be located and rendered ineffective for short periods.
They plan to take advantage of the confusion which will result
when MAB units cannot effectively communicate.10
     Finally, gross personnel shortages exist, which are
required to support MAB Headquarters, as pointed out by a 1983
Force Structure Study completed by the Marine Corps.
     Structures within the major communication
     organizations of the Marine Corps are
     inadequate to successfully accomplish
     multi-MAGTF missions.  Present tactical
     structures established over a decade ago...are
     incapable of meeting multi-MAGTF mission
     requirements for either the present or the
     projected time period 1984-1993.  Changes in
     deployment concepts for Marine Air Ground Task
     Forces combined with introduction of new
     equipment such as satellites...have made
     current mission statements, T/Os and T/Es
     obsolescent.  The common practice of task
     organizing for every assigned mission has
     proved unsatisfactory in a unit's ability to
     support either an individually deployed MAGTF
     headquarters or a simultaneous deployment of
     two or more MAGTF headquarters of any size.11
In other words, our communication units have not been
considered during development of employment concepts during
recent years.  The "can-do" attitude has prevailed and MAB
needs have outpaced support capabilities.  Flexibility, the
great strength of the MAB has been crippled by a lack of
personnel assets.  The loss of flexibility can result in a
condition I'll call the "Grenada Syndrome".
     The "Grenada Syndrome" is a physical and mental situation
wherein the demand for flexibility outstrips the C3
capabilities of the employed force.  Adhoc systems are rushed
into service to fill gaps, while existing problems remain
unsolved.  As the controlling agency attempts to grasp the
rapidly developing situation, chains of command are violated,
outside agencies interfere, and the addition of extra C3
channels erodes confidence in the original system.  Staff
planning has been inadequate and assumptions have been ill
founded.  Hardware failures abounds and no single agency
exercises total management.  Problem solving is not managed
above the local level and disorganization and confusion reign
supreme.  In the end, desperate measures are taken, comm
security breaks down, and non-electrical means are over-
utilized.  Great amounts of blame are placed upon the C3
system.  Upon rational analysis, a clear picture develops
which points to inadequate addressal of potential problems,
failure of system design and allocation of equipment, lack of
joint cooperation and proper liaison, and lack of system
     Let's now consider our potential adversaries and some of
their strengths and weaknesses.  Soviet Bloc forces of MAB
size practice many of the same techniques of employing C3 as
their US counterparts.  The Soviets accept radio as the usual
means of troop control and view firm, continuous, troop
control as crucial to success.12  Soviet belief in reliable
communications is reflected in this statement:
        In modern combat, loss of troop control even
        for a short time might lead to fatal consequences
        and ultimately to failure of the combat mission.13
     Above all, the Soviets value effective and uninterrupted
C3 at every echelon of command.  Command posts are invariably
duplicated so an alternative system is instantly available
should the main CP be knocked out or lose contact.14  At the
division level and below, emphasis is placed on small,
self-contained, and highly mobile CPs which are capable of
moving rapidly to occupy a series of covert positions, as well
as being able to keep up with the pace of battle.15  Some
maneuvers are conducted using only basic nonelectric
communications.  The Soviets believe that every message
transmitted electrically may be intercepted,16 and practice to
operate with reduced circuits on line.
     The Soviets definitely have worked hard to integrate
Electronic Warfare (EW) with tactical maneuver plans.  Four
guiding principles are incorporated in their planning of EW:
surprise, timeliness, purposefulness and mass.17  They have
designed and fielded an array of equipment which concentrates
on specific C3 systems.  As an example, mobile forward air
controller circuit jammers will be used to interrupt our
capability to conduct close air support missions.18  VHF/FM
mobile jammers will be used to disrupt our ground combat
tactical circuits19 and Soviet reconnaissance battalions will
utilize mobile direction finders and interceptors to aid in
the location of our front line units.20
     One clever way in which the Soviets infuse Radio
Electronic Warfare concepts into training is a competitive
event known as "fox hunting".  This game is a version of
orienteering with an electronic twist and is a direct
manifestation of REW operations.  The "hunter" is a competitor
who must locate the "fox", a small camouflaged radio station,
by using a hand held receiver direction-finding set.  The
event and courses vary in size, but usually include five
"foxes" which are each located 1 kilometer apart.  By properly
operating his set, the contestant can find each of the "foxes"
as he runs across country.  The winner is the "hunter" who
locates the most foxes in the least time.  The advantages of
this sport are easy to grasp.  It promotes physical fitness,
competitive spirit, and the rudiments of radio intercept and
direction finding.  The men and women who practice this sport
are ripe for assignment as signal specialists or radio-
reconnaissance operators.  When employed in the armed forces,
the game clearly contributes to technical proficiency and unit
esprit.21  Although the Soviets have been conducting such
training in their military since 1963, U. S. military agencies
have not followed suit.
	It is likely that jammers will be used in conjunction
with artillery in an attempt to disrupt specific parts of our
command system during critical periods, and the artillery and
EW plans are synonymous.22  This principle of "critical time"
is ingrained in Soviet tactics and drives their planning.
     These tactics, as employed by the Soviets are not without
weaknesses.  Their requirement to man assets and gain
surprise, while limiting their own transmissions, decreases
their flexibility and creates lucrative targets for us.  Their
desire to use massive doses of supporting arms and shock units
to create penetrations causes them to rely heavily on an
integrated command and control network, which reaches down to
front line units just as we do.  This makes them susceptible
to our own brand of EW.
     Secondly, there are technical problems with conducting
effective jamming.  Jammers can be easily located and
destroyed due to their tremendous radio frequency output
wattages.  Additionally, rough terrain limits the effective
range of jammers, and devices have been developed by the U.S.
for attachment to our radios which can eliminate interference
caused by an enemy jammer.23  Also, friendly stations
operating in close proximity to one another, require enemy
jammers to move in very close to be effective.  In summary,
jamming is not a complete solution for the Soviets.  It must
be coordinated with artillery and deception plans and this
requires the Soviets to tax their own C3 systems.
     As far as personnel effectiveness is concerned, the
Soviets have some problems which may be worse than our own.
Soviet spokesmen continually express the need for officers to
develop initiative, while at the same time initiative is
discouraged and penalized by the system.  In a carefully
planned C3 scenario inside the Soviet Union, Soviet officers
can be expected to fight effectively.  But outside the Soviet
Union, in a fluid situation where the C3 system is disrupted,
most Soviet officers probably will be at a loss.24
     Employment concepts as used by the Soviets are fairly
rigid and subject to little flexibility.25  These concepts
have not been tested in battle against a sophisticated foe
since World War II.  As a result, their C3 systems can be
expected to suffer some of the same inherent problems as our
     Now that a comparison of USMC versus Soviet Bloc C3
systems for strengths and weaknesses has been completed, some
proposals can be made for improving Marine Corps chances for
success.  I will concentrate on three areas, these being
employment policy, personnel and equipment.
     We must consider the requirement for mobility to be the
driving force for successfully employing MAB CPs in combat.  A
system of multiple CPs which is capable of rapid displacement
and maintaining control with minimum C3 must be developed.
Alternate non-electrical communication means and battle drills
must be perfected to lessen the requirement for radiating
power from the CP.  Also, the integration of EW capability
with combat power must be improved by destroying the "veil of
secrecy" which surrounds jamming and direction-finding
activities.  Finally, deception capabilities must be enhanced.
	Personnel will remain a critical problem until we realign
communication units and increase their size to allow for
support of additional MAGTF headquarters.  The 1983 Force
Structure Study of Communication Units goes a long way towards
proposing sound solutions to this headache.  The policy of
providing maximum assets to the first MAGTF and lesser support
to subsequent MAGTFs must be halted.  The best way to handle
this dilemma is to approve a MAF, MAB and MAU communication
detachment table of organization and then operate within this
limit.  In addition, more realistic training which stresses
all aspects of tactical, logistical, and administrative C3
must be practiced by CPs when they operate in the field, to
test system capability.
     Equipment policy changes can have a far-reaching positive
effect on our ability to fight and survive on the modern
battlefield.  We must develop smaller, more mobile CP
vehicles, perhaps light armored vehicles, configured as radio
centrals, remote antenna sites, teletype centrals, and
telephone switches.  Each vehicle would perform a separate
mission.  Support would be provided by a mobile system control
vehicle and by a mobile technical repair shop.  These vehicles
would all be capable of rapid, relatively quiet, night time
     Additionally, an effort to reduce noise levels around CPs
must be made.  The Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) is quieter than
the LVTC-7 presently in use.  Mobile Electrical Power (MEP)
plants must be procured which will provide required power, but
with less noise than current generators.  It will be
imperative to maintain quiet CPs so that even local inhab-
itants will be unaware of our presence.
     Burst transmission equipment must be procured for use by
MAB CPs.  This requirement must include capability to transmit
not only short pre-formatted messages but lengthy air tasking
orders and facimile traffic.  At the present time only limited
progress has been made in this area.  The ability to transmit
large amounts of data in extremely short time frames must be
achieved, as this will lessen the chances of our CPs being
found and destroyed by the enemy.
     Alternate, non-electrical methods of maintaining C3 must
be developed and fine tuned by the MAB CP.  Messenger service
via helo, jeep, LAV, and motorcycle must be transformed into a
fine art so that it can compete with and replace radio traffic
on a normal basis.  Intensive individual training must be
conducted to prepare Marines for this important task.
     Smaller, more compact equipment must be developed to
allow for mobile satellite communications by the MAB CP.  The
AN/TSC-96 satellite system utilizes components such as the
WSC-3 UHF transceiver which could be mounted in a LAV type
vehicle for use by the MAB.  The PRT-250 satellite
communication terminal, manufactured by Motorola Inc26, weighs
just sixteen pounds and would allow secure voice comm for the
     Finally, to allow the MAB to translate its new electronic
warfare integration policy into fact, lightweight jamming,
interception and direction finding equipments must be
obtained.  The improved TLQ-17A and the RACAL RJS3100 series
jammers are examples of just what a MAB could use for
effective disruption of enemy C3 systems.  These equipments
can be configured for mobile operation and offer state of the
art capability.27  Racal Communications Ltd. also offers a
special mobile "hunting" DF system, the RTA147O series, which
is capable of working on the move to locate enemy
     The Marine Amphibious Brigade faces a formidable task
when it enters the combat arena with a similarly sized Soviet
opponent.  Each side has developed certain capabilities over
the years and there are similarities and differences which
must be considered.
     The Marine Corps has concentrated on flexibility and
proper use ot modern weapons.  Command and control systems are
plentiful and allow for adequate lines of communication to
subordinate, adjacent, and superior commanders.  However, our
C3 systems are not as mobile as they should be because they
require too much time for installation and removal.  Our C3
systems are bulky, noisy and present a target which will not
be ignored by the Soviets.  Personnel are not available to man
the required number of C3 systems.  Our electronic warfare
capability is weak in equipment and manpower and not well
integrated with our fighting units.  MAB commanders are faced
with assembling a C3 system which can provide the required
service while being too large, or with accepting a C3 system
which cannot meet the needs, but is more mobile.  The right
combination of men, equipment, and employment policy is not
possessed at this time.
     The Soviets have worked hard to obtain a greater degree
of mobility by designing their CPs to be able to move
quickly.  They have produced mobile equipment, assigned proper
amounts of personnel, and developed employment policies to
support C3 mobility.  They have developed an extensive
electronic warfare capability and have tailored it to be fully
integrated with their tactical schemes at every level of
command.  They do face technical difficulties but seem to give
more attention to them than we do.
     The Soviets face their own significant personnel problems
due to inflexible attitudes towards personnel initiative and
freedom of action.  Officers are trained to be methodical and
will be unable to respond quickly to unique C3 problems.  Their
lack of flexibility will also make their C3 systems vulnerable
to our own electronic warfare.
     In the final showdown, the force which maintains a
flexible, mobile, and secure C3 system will more successfully
control the events on the battlefield, and will survive to win
and fight another day.  The Marine Corps must look seriously
at its personnel shortages, equipment deficiencies, and
employment concepts, and plan for change.  Personnel realign-
ments and employment policy changes can be effected rapidly.
Equipment problems will take years, and time is running
short.  We need to build C3 systems which can come ashore and
move rapidly with the MAB commander to allow him to fight and
     1U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC, Fleet Marine Force, IP 1-4
(Quantico, 1982), p. 6.
     2U.S. Marine Corps, Advanced Amphibious Study Group,
Concept Paper, Improving Operational Capabilities; The Marine
Air-Ground Task Force Headquarters, May 1982, p. 7.
     4U.S. Marine Corps, Communication Force Structure Study,
31 March 1983, p. 1.
     5U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC, Communications, FMFM 10-1,
(Quantico, 1980), pp. 4-4 - 4-11.
     6Eighth Communication Battalion AAR for EXERCISE SOLID
SHIELD 1981, dtd 10 Jun 81 (8th Comm Bn OP Records, Camp
Lejeune, N.C.)
     7Eighth Communication Battalion AAR for EXERCISE NORTHERN
WEDDING-BOLD GUARD 1982, dtd 18 Nov 82 (8th Comm Bn OP
Records, Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
     8U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC, Offensive Notebook, Employment
of FMF Units in the Offense, C(C)2211 I (Quantico, 1983), pp.
8-4 - 8-5.
     9Franklin Stein and James E. Ball, "Tactical Satellite
Communication," The Army Communicator, (Summer 1983), p. 21.
     10John Hemsley, Soviet Troop Control (New York: Pergamon
Press, Publishers, 1982), p. 135.
     11Communication Force Structure Study, op.cit., p. 7.
     12Major Barney F. Slayton, "War in the Ether," The Army
Communicator, (Spring 1980), p. 6.
     14Hemsley, op.cit., p. 120.
     16Harriet F. Scott and William F. Scott, The Armed Forces
of the USSR (Boulder, Colorado: Frederick A. Praeger,
Publisher, 1979), p. 247.
     17Richard L. Hayer,  Intelligence, Radio Electronic
Combat and the C3 Process," Signal, (October 1983), p. 37.
     18The International Countermeasures Handbook (Palo Alto,
CA: EW Communications, Inc., Publishers, 1983), p. 230.
     20Hemsley, op.cit., p. 129.
     21Slayton, op.cit, p. 10.
     22Hemsley, op.cit., p. 129.
     23Major Lawrence E. Follis, "Jamming: Will it be
Tactically Effective"?, The Army Communicator (Summer 1978),
p. 46.
     24Scott, op.cit., p. 381.
     25Colonel A.A. Sidorenko, The Offensive (Washington:
U.S. Air Force, Publishers, 1979), pp. 8-4 - 8-5.
     26Jane's Military Communications 1981 (London: Jane's
Publishing Co. Ltd., Publishers, p. 211.
     27Countermeasures, op.cit., pp. 124-126.
     28Ibid., p. 167.
Eighth Communication Battalion AAR for EXERCISE NORTHERN
     WEDDING-BOLD GUARD 1982, dtd 18Nov82 (8th Comm Bn Op
     Records, Camp Lejeune, N.C.).
Eighth Communication Battalion AAR for EXERCISE SOLID SHIELD
     1981, dtd 10Jun81 (8th Comm Bn Op Records, Camp Lejeune,
Follis, Lawrence E., Maj, USA.  "Jamming: Will it be
     Effective?."  The Army Communicator, (Summer 1978), 46.
Haver, Richard L.  "Intelligence, Radioelectronic Combat and
     the C3 Process."  Signal, (October 1983), 37.
Hemsley, John, Brig, UK.  Soviet Troop Control.  New York:
     Pergamon Press, 1982.
The International Countermeasures Handbook.  Palo Alto, CA.:
     EW Communications, Inc., 1983.
Jane's Military Communications 1981.  London: Jane's
     Publishing Co. Ltd., 1981.
Scott, Harriet F., and William F. Scott.  The Armed Forces of
     the USSR.  Boulder, CO.: Praeger, 1979.
Sidorenko, A. A., Col, USSR.  The Offensive.  Washington: U.S.
     Air Force, 1979.
Slayton, Barney F., Maj, USA.  "War in the Ether."  The Army
     Communicator, (Spring 1980), 6.
Stein, Franklin, and James E. Ball, "Tactical Satellite
     Communication."  The Army Communicator, (Summer 1983),
U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC.  Advanced Amphibious Study Group,
     Improving Operational Capabilities: The Marine Air-Ground
     Task Force Headquarters.  Quantico, 1982.
U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC.  Communication Force Structure
     Study.  Quantico, 1983.
U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC.  Fleet Marine Force IP 1-4.
     Quantico, 1982.
U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC.  Communications, FMFM 10-1.
     Quantico, 1980.
U.S. Marine Corps, MCDEC.  Offensive Notebook Employment
     of FMF Units in the Offense, C(C)2211 I.  Quantico,

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