Command And Control Communications For Fighting And Surviving A Modern Battle CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA C4 COMMAND AND CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS FOR FIGHTING AND SURVIVING A MODERN BATTLE The Writing Program Command and Staff College Major David C. Litchfield United States Marine Corps April 6, 1984 COMMAND AND CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS FOR FIGHTING AND SURVIVING A MODERN BATTLE OUTLINE 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, dependability) B. Weaknesses of MAB C3 System (mobility, equipment, personnel) C. "Grenada Syndrome" III. Soviet C3 Systems A. Strengths (duplication, mobility, EW, training) B. Weaknesses (flexibility, jamming theory, initiative) 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 security COMMAND AND CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS FOR FIGHTING AND SURVIVING A MODERN BATTLE 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 status. 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 location.8 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 control. 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 own. Proposals 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 displacement. 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 MAB CP. 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 transmitters.28 Conclusion 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 win. FOOTNOTES 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. 3Ibid. 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. 13Ibid. 14Hemsley, op.cit., p. 120. 15Ibid. 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. 19Ibid. 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. BIBLIOGRAPHY 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, N.C.). 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), 21. 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, 1983.
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