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A Strategy For Command And Control Support
CSC 1993
                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Title:  A Strategy for Command and Control Support
Author: Major Daniel D. Sullivan, United States Marine Corps
Thesis: The Marine Corps must devise and enforce a discipline
that accounts for the turbulent politico-military environment
in which we exist while providing a process to effectively pursue
a system that supports command and control.
Background: Command and control support systems have been
developed in independent segments which are then patched
together. These disjointed attempts serve only to frustrate
the effort. Further, technology out-paces the developmental
process. By the time these systems are fielded, they bear few
of the contemporary capabilities. A new strategy for development
and acquisition is imperative.
Recommendations: While we pursue a viable command and control
support system, the Marine Corps must take the lead in
restructuring the programmatic approach to acquisition.
Thesis: The Marine Corps must devise and enforce a discipline
that accounts for the turbulent politico-military environment
in which we exist while providing a process to effectively pursue
a system that supports command and control. In light of
technological advances, the established process will never
deliver a state-of-the-art product.
I. The strategic environment
     A. A climate of uncertainty
     B. Technology as an aid to achieve more certainty
II. The operational construct
     A. The framework of the support system
     B. The factors for which we must account
          1. The nature of man
          2. Physics
          3. The enemy
III. Operational requirements
     A. Doctrine
     B. Avoiding a the construction of a critical vulnerability
     C. Placing the colander at the center
     D. Essential characteristics
IV.  Achieving the elusive objective
     A. Strategy for development
     B. Facilitating the strategy
                              By Major Daniel D. Sullivan USMC
     As the world moves haltingly and often at obtuse angles
toward what now appears to be Pax Americana, the role of the
Marine Corps in supporting the fulfillment of our nation's
commitments and responsibilities may include missions and a
tempo never before anticipated. Uncertainty is certain. The
likelihood of combinations of sudden violent upheavals among
men and of nature has risen dramatically. Perceptions that any
disruption of the world order will result in intervention to
preserve the balance between two monolithic powers are no longer
pertinent. The current and expected course of events is
characterized by destabilizing politico-military situations.
(3:4-23) The loss of that certainty lowers the perception of
risk balanced against opportunity -- the prospect of marginal
gains may elicit violence from perpetrators who have heretofore
been too intimidated to act. The result: a proliferation of
violent potential.
     At the same time, this period may be as short lived as
that of Roosevelt's 'four policemen' and a completely new order
may rise. Though outside the realm of our own experience, we
may simply be returning to a predominant state of human affairs
for which we are unprepared; one in which change is the only
constant and in which we might not recognize the beginnings
of wars. (3:4-24) This uncertainty, combined with our nation's
geography, dictates a capability that is expeditionary. It would
appear that expeditionary forces will become the chief source
of power projection and forward presence. The manner in which
we have effected forward presence since World War II, through
forward basing, is no longer practicable for two reasons: we
can no longer predict with any certainty where to place forces
in order to counter an ill-defined threat, and the nation no
longer desires to station forces on a permanent or even
semi-permanent basis throughout the world. Naval expeditionary
forces have suddenly returned to the zenith of their relevance.
     The uncertainty that characterizes the 'world order' is
reflected throughout the strategic, operational, and tactical
compendium. Although we may seek to isolate and shape the
battlefield to our advantage, there is great danger in seeing
ourselves in our enemies. While the values and expectations
of the American people demand precise, discriminating, and
measured violence aimed at obtaining a specific effect -- in
other words, certainty -- the only portion of the command and
control system that can meet this level of performance with
any degree of assurance is the commander, exercising his military
judgment. Technology must be aimed at assisting the commander
in overcoming uncertainty by ordering the feedback to critical
information requirements and then providing a means to execute
command. (5:14)
     This underscores the necessity of developing a robust
command and control system capable of extending the reach of
the commander. The commander is challenged not only by the enemy,
but also by "technological improvements in mobility, weapons,
sensors, and information systems that continually shrink the
available time and space, speed tempos of operation, and which
generate increasing volumes of information." (3:4-4) This
capability must enable the commander to communicate guidance
from afar, whether receiving or providing. For the purpose of
this treatise, the term 'command and control' shall be understood
to encompass the support functions included in the more
fashionable terminology: command, control, communications,
computers, intelligence and interoperability. This is not to
denigrate the service provided the commander by these functions,
but to provide a focus on the ends of the oblective system rather
than the means. The ends are timeless; the means are at the
mercy of the vagaries of these and other times and their changing
     War and its instruments have changed and evolved throughout
history. That evolution has been relatively slow and marked
by what have been perceived as significant advances in what
we now refer to as technology, interspersed by periods of stasis.
This progression has been characterized by an increase in
potential violence conversely accompanied by a decrease in the
ability to exercise centralized command and control. From the
days when generals sat astride their mounts and watched the
battles from vantage points that allowed them to intervene in
any circumstance we have advanced to a place where entire wars
can be executed from isolated bunkers using blind probabilities
as the basis for action; from stones to weapons of mass
destruction. Another characteristic of this change has been
its tempo; accompanying technology's advance, it has increased
exponentially. The Marine Corps must devise and enforce a
discipline that accounts for this turbulent environment while
providing a process to effectively pursue a system that supports
command and control.  This strategy will have broad application
for any program objectives that include changing technology.
     The Marine Corps objective system must be "the means to
the end of command and control. It is a technological,
organizational, and doctrinal system that provides three
functions: the doctrinal delegation of forces (ie. command and
control); information management (ie. communications and
computers); and intelligence/information dissemination." (5:10)
Command and control can and must be capable of delegation.
     There are three primary factors that must be considered
as we create a construct within which we will pursue the
objective command and control system. These are: the nature
of man (thus the commander), physics, and the enemy. By
constantly reminding ourselves of these parameters, we can remain
focused on the objective and ensure that we do find ourselves
chasing our own tails.
     Man's nature, and thus that of the commander, is to seek
certainty; to reduce risk on the outcome of his endeavors and
to his forces. From the perspective of the commander, this can
be best accomplished by the imposition of order on the
battlefield, particularly when he believes he possesses the
greater relative military power. This desired order is achieved
by the receipt of information in near-real-time that the
commander has deemed critical. In this way he is able to exploit
opportunities that present themselves and direct subordinate
elements in the execution of orders formulated by his command
     The naive view of achieving this order embraces the belief
that, while violence and its instruments are reliable and need
only be directed, the exercise of command and control has somehow
become so complex and convoluted that man alone can no longer
be the central figure in its execution. Once this argument has
been accepted, there is a danger that we may make a logical
leap to the sharing or, worse yet, shifting of responsibility
for execution from the commander to the command and control
support system. Our doctrine clearly decries this circumstance.
"Technology can enhance the ways and means of war by improving
man's ability to wage it, but technology cannot and should not
attempt to eliminate man from the process of waging war." (6:53)
Both man and the systems he devises have principal capabilities
and limitations -- where judgment is needed, so is the commander.
     Nature and its physics work, inadvertently, in consonance
with the enemy to interfere with the commander's ability to
execute command and control. We can no more ignore the laws
of physics than we can ignore the enemy. When we look to design
our method and system of command and control, we must always
keep in mind that the second law of thermodynamics says that
while energy does not alter its total quantity, it may lose
quality. "Chaos is the easiest, most predictable, most probable
state, and it lasts indefinitely. Order is improbable and hard
to create. Time is its enemy, because entropy tends to increase
with time." (1:42) The parallel to the attributes of war are
striking and cannot be ignored as we conceive and design our
objective command and control system.
     Finally, the enemy conspires to undo our ability to execute
command and control. Although the technological revolution will
provide previously unheard of capabilities before the next
century dawns, just as certain is that that same technology
will provide a counter-capability. "Any advantages gained by
technological advancement are only temporary, for man will always
find a countermeasure, tactical or itself technological, which
will lesson the impact of technology." (6:53) The implication
is that the command and control system we build must have as
its purpose the facilitation of warfighting rather than its
conduct. "We must not become so dependent on a system that we
can no longer function effectively when the equipment becomes
inoperable." (6:53) Otherwise, the defeat of the system is the
defeat of our forces.
     Concepts of command and control that ignore the nature
of man, the laws of nature, and the enemy are no more than pipe
dreams doomed to failure. "No degree of technological development
or scientific calculation will overcome the human dimension
in war." (6:11)
     Technological expectations and available technology must
not be allowed to shape our perspective of war and warfighting.
Just as certain as the tools of warfighting have changed, the
fundamental precepts and principles of warfighting remain
timeless; they cannot be re-engineered to fit a command and
control support system that cannot meet the requirements to
exercise them, no matter how tempting the available technology
appears.  The construction of the Marine Corps objective command
and control system must recognize the implications of the
environment  in which we pursue this process. It must cope with
the seduction by expectations; it must be prepared for the
disappointment of reality; it must guard vociferously against
the incremental diminution of warfighting requirements when
reality diminishes expectations. Further, we must immediately
reject offhand any attempt at technocratic tyranny; recognizing
it as an act of condesention completely counterproductive to
the progress of the objective system. For, after all, if we
do not understand that to which we acquiesce, how can we be
certain it serves us ?
     Obviously, the tactics, techniques and procedures of warfare
will continue to evolve. Just as obvious is that we cannot
anticipate technologies that will exist even five years from
now. We cannot settle for today's technology to fight tomorrow's
warfare. We must achieve a concept of development, procurement,
and fielding that is flexible enough for this continual evolution
and its assimilation into the system. Particularly in the area
of command and control technologies, time has made obsolete
the requirement for any significant investment in research and
development by the Marine Corps. Our doctrine supports the
exploitation of existing capabilities. (6:52) We must program
for capabilities rather than specific items of equipment.
Otherwise we fall victim to, and then become an ugly caricature
of, programmed obsolescence.
     Doctrine, on the other hand, consists of fundamental
concepts which remain valid throughout the multidimensional
spectrum of war and over time. The Marine Corps has embraced
the doctrine of maneuver warfare. It is a "doctrine based on
rapid, flexible, and opportunistic maneuver" (6:58) in both
space and time. The enemy and his ability to wage war is our
objective rather than the territory on which war is waged. "War
ashore is dominated by speed, surveillance, command and control,
an the importance of delivering the first blow." (5:4) This
doctrine emphasizes the importance of the commander's ability
to build, conceive and communicate his vision of the battlefield.
     When an enemy seeks out our vulnerabilities, he will
undoubtedly recognize that one is the decision maker and his
command and control system. Our enemies must by now understand
that we must rely upon technology rather than labor. This
technological substitution is most apparent in precision guided
weapons, integrated surveillance systems including space-based
systems, high speed decision aids, netted command and control
systems, and increasingly sophisticated command, control,
communications and electronic combat systems. (5:4) Certainly,
this technology must be classified as one of our centers of
gravity. It will be targeted by even the least sophisticated
     Although Marine commanders must synchronize space and
electronic warfare in their combat plans, and be prepared to
direct it if called upon to fight forces at the strategic or
operational levels, their focus will primarily be upon the
defense against it. That defense must be created prior to war.
The requirements for the Marine Corps objective command and
control system must recognize its vulnerability to electronic
warfare and other forms of interdiction when facing a
sophisticated and/or resourceful enemy.
     At the operational and tactical levels, our command and
control system must facilitate the destruction of the enemy's.
This will be done by interlacing the capabilities of the system
itself with doctrinal fundamentals. We must always be wary of
perceiving the enemy as ourselves as we design the objective
system. Although it is certain that the strategic and operational
technology available will provide invaluable assistance against
an enemy who arrays himself against us with organized and
centrally controlled regular forces, the benefit derived may
be at the margin when facing irregulars or when performing in
a quasi-combatant role.
     We must recognize the limitations and constraints of
available technology. Since advances are exponential while
procurement proceeds along a geometric path (a divergence
compounded by fiscal austerity) we must strive to streamline
the manner in which we field systems to capture commercial
innovation. This means that rather than programming for equipment
procurement, we program for overarching concepts, the achievement
of which will be supported by acquisition in real-time. It is
conceivable that generations of the hardware and software will
be, in relative time, shorter and shorter. An important
implication is that small wealthy nations may have access to
technology before we do if we continue with business as usual.
     The linchpin of the objective Marine Corps command and
control system is the commander. Hardware, software, and its
links to the battlefield are simply peripherals which allow
the commander to see the battlefield. The commander remains
the dominant factor. Thus the system must serve the commander
and not the converse. Solidly establishing this principle as
fundamental to the objective command and control system provides
the defense against its greatest vulnerabilities. This is a
result of establishing its principal objectives as the
enhancement of unity of effort, compensation for human
limitations by enhancing human capabilities and creating a common
situational awareness. (3:4-4) As a result, plans and orders
will be conveyed more vividly; dissemination of commander's
intent throughout the tactical organization in this manner will
ensure decentralized execution is aimed directly at mission
     Establishing the commander as the centerpiece of the
objective system does not diminish the importance of the
peripherals. The Marine Corps system must link the commander
to all available support systems. That link allows the Marine
Corps to work in concert with all services; to be joint. It
is the link that enables the commander to fight with all
accessible resources to reduce risk, identify opportunities,
and act. However, they constitute a series of seams that extend
vertically and horizontally.
     Employed in concert with doctrinal philosophy, emphasizing
the utility of commander's intent-to bind the seams of the
system, harmonious initiative is achieved. Unity of effort is
not imposed by the control available through the system. The
system functions on the principles of management by objective
and intrusion by exception. It is the use of the system to
disseminate the commander's intent and effect lateral
coordination which will enable optimal employment of doctrinal
principles. (6:71) The objective system must provide the
commander and his staff with critical information through all
sources: component, joint, and combined. The development of
virtual communications networks across multiple entry points
coupled with a flexible command and control structure tailored
for broad application and further adaptable for unanticipated
situations and missions will support this doctrinal philosophy.
     What are the essential requirements for the objective
system? First we need a doctrinal, organizational, and
technological system that enables the commander to interface
with any resource. The system must be readily adaptable
throughout the multifaceted spectrum of conflict; through every
variation of violence, enemy technology, strategic commitment,
and purpose of presence. Next, the system must incorporate a
force-wide network that recognizes the occurrence of rifts in
the seams and responds to system deficiencies not by requiring
more effort of the commander and his staff but by being 'smart'
enough to recognize the requirements for 'repair', 'healing'
itself invisibly regardless of echelon and in any joint or
combined interface. Third, the system must facilitate
coordination of all weapons at the disposal to the commander
without regard to source or service. (5:14)
     Of significant import is the link to surveillance assets
that are not organic to the force -- national and other theater
assets -- in a relationship directed from outside the force.
Key to taking advantage of all-source input is imaginatively
engineered software that is capable of interfacing with a variety
of inputs whose common binary format allows it to transcend
language and form; to translate when necessary, not only the
input language, but also its product to serve the commander's.
needs. It is imperative that the system's relationship to these
assets focus on the commander's critical information requirements
and recognize fulfillment. All forms of surveillance, organic
and inorganic, must be linked across time and space and provide
the framework to structure the information required in a manner
that is eminently useful to the commander. This framework must
recognize the sensor spectrum; recognize that many inputs are
limited to specific acquisition assets and that to paint the
battlefield, it is necessary to combine the total spectrum.
The system must enhance the employment of sensors by recognizing
the place on the battlefield that is not completely painted,
enabling the commander to most effectively manipulate and direct
the effort.
     The system itself must be as passive as technology allows.
Otherwise it is its own enemy and constitutes an even greater
vulnerability. It must be so, or even the least wealthy nation
will compromise it. The Viet Namese entered our command, control,
and communications system and gained tactical and operational
advantage with a crude system consisting of our own equipment.
Passive because the electronic picture presented must not display
a focal point of electronic emissions; rather a distribution
of signals that offers so many possibilities that the
identification of the central node may not be readily
accomplished. Passive from the viewpoint of the user also. If
the system requires unwarranted management effort, then it has
not relieved the commander and his staff of burden; only
parodied it.
     From the foregoing, it is apparent that all functions of
command and control must be linked and are dependent upon an
aspect of support that presents a seam: communications. We can
anticipate vulnerability. Although we will possess a global
capability soon, we must develop a structure that recognizes
that nature and the enemy will independently and in unison
achieve success isolating nodes of the command and control
system. The increased capacity to download information in volume
and speed and across space and by a variety of media must be
realized. While the Marine corps will play a role in the
development of the communications structure, we must realize
that we will neither individually dictate requirements for the
communications support system nor anticipate completely reliable
communications and must, therefore, assume flexibility within
our command and control system. And though restoration capability
is at the heart of recovery, we cannot rely upon it. We must
assume that we will benefit from technological advances and
that the proponent will consider our requirements critical.
This communications support will remain a seam that will degrade.
At a minimum, we must insist that the communications links be
flexible and redundant.
     But the communications support suite is, in reality, only
a set of hardware. Our ability to enhance system performance,
survivability, and overall effectiveness of communications
through software applications is the manner in which we will
protect this seam. This will be accomplished by making no node
the singular focal point. To this end we can enhance the
restoration capability in such a manner that makes the process
invisible by tasking the system to enforce a routing routine
that not only restores but also deceives the enemy as to the
location of the central command and control nodes.
     The objective command and control system must provide a
capability to collect and disseminate intelligence and
information across the battlefield. The system must facilitate
fusion, whether literally or by ordering information and
identifying deficiencies in a manner that is of use to the
commander. Two concerns are that the volume of intelligence
and information may become so great that it cannot be
transmitted, and, if received, that it creates noise because
it is disordered. "Only if the message has been properly encoded
at the source will it overcome the muddling effects of the noise,
so that, when the message is decoded at the destination, it
retains its original, intended structure and form." (1:159)
That proper coding is accomplished by the establishment of the
commanders' priorities at both ends of the transmissions. Given
time and technological advances, the objective system will be
capable of processing phenomenal volumes of data. But the enemy
will recognize that the commander who relies completely upon
the system is easily defeated by taking time from him. When
we mismanage our relative technological advantage by neglecting
time, our warfighting effort is easily disrupted. The system
must recognize the commander's prioritization and order
intelligence and information for acquisition and dissemination
according to it.
     Time poses yet another dimensional problem. Communications
will be accomplished by a number of methods, some of which are
not electronic. Queuing of information by priority may also
serve to disorder the receipt of information. The system must
recognize this and query validity of otherwise accurate data
misplaced in time. It must be the commander who determines the
artistry of the portrait he desires painted. The clarity of
the tapestry which is constructed by the system can become
confused and out of focus without the capacity to discard
information which is invalid in time; it could create a picture
consisting of multiple images; worse yet, it could simply be
wrong. The commander, whose nature is to desire order, must
always remember that uncertainty can be masked in the certainty
which appears to be provided by the image presented by the system
unless he accounts for time. (2:fwd)
     Thus a central feature of the objective system is
reinforced: that the commander must be able to orchestrate its
functioning rather than to adapt to it. We should assume that
for the foreseeable future this will remain the condition under
which we will function, barring an inconceivable and highly
unlikely technological breakthrough. Rather than relying on
a concept that includes artificial intelligence, we must design
architectural intelligence that recognizes the commander as
a functional portion of the objective system. The role of the
commander will remain the center of its architecture; he is
irreplaceable. When he becomes replaceable, not only the system,
but all else is obsolete and this construct becomes academic.
     The wide variety of employment options for the Marine forces
does not constrain the requirement for flexibility; rather it
reinforces it. Marine commanders must be able to interface with
a shifting array of resources and command relationships.
Depending upon the scenario, he must respond to potential
commanders afloat, both Marine and Navy, to a variety of joint
task force commanders ashore and afloat, from small specific
mission execution to broad direction from a geographic commander
in chief, and be capable of orchestrating the entire array of
forces as the commander of a joint task force. The importance
of and requirement for interoperability are apparent. (4:2)
     This objective system must be capable of configuring a
data base from all sources, using organic data resources and
real time links with displays that clearly depict the situation
on the battlefield. The Marine commander's critical information
requirements are functionally similar to those of his Naval
counterpart and vice versa. Those requirements are so detailed
and explicit that they will certainly meet any requirements
of any systems with which it might be required to interface.
But we cannot rely upon operational association with the Navy
as a constant and the design must take this into account.
     The characteristic of Marine Corps tactical force structure
is expansion and contraction of combined arms forces from
deployment and transition to on scene presence through a variety
of means, and ranging in complexity through myriad joint/combined
task force configurations as the character of the crises changes.
Force build-up is facilitated by smooth transitions and poses
challenges in every functional area as well as warfighting
doctrine itself. Further, air, land, and sea warfare must be
as seamless as possible. The objective system's architecture
must be formed by the requirements for task organization and
structure for continuity of command and echelonment. (3:4-26)
     The same redundancy that produces the flexibility for a
variety of task organizations and command relationships enhances
survivability. At each combat operations center is a node which
acts as a ganglion from and to which extend all the peripherals
that comprise the entire 'central nervous system'. Because we
have assumed there is little likelihood of a higher level
artificial intelligence being included in the command and control
support system, it is more akin to the functions found in nervous
systems of lower life forms. These have evolved to compensate
for the high likelihood of critical destruction or loss of
portions of the animal by decentralizing nervous system functions
in multiple ganglia. This allows for the regeneration of the
lost functions. In the objective system, this is accomplished
by providing the redundant capabilities and capacity at numerous
command elements. Although this will require intra-system
relationships that violate the traditional discipline imposed
by the chain-of-command, it does not reinforce that behavior
because it is invisible to the user and acts only to support
the higher level commander. This not only allows numerous users
to assume the role of incapacitated elements, but also
facilitates compositing, thus transitions in command
     The node in the tactical and combat operations centers
terminates with tactical displays, integrated information
management, and accessibility to tactical communications that
support warfighting missions. It provides multimedia access
to units, other force commanders, and any variety of resources.
(5:31) It uses technology to enhance command and staff
functioning. It does not require tasking for routine information.
"The days of staff coordination to establish coordination links
are past." (3:4-26)
     The objective system absolutely retains functionality in
garrison/peacetime as well as during war. Although the priorities
change somewhat, the objective system serves as the primary
information and communications system thereby ensuring training
sustainment. Systems that require duplicate training efforts
due to conditions that vary depending upon the activity in which
the unit is engaged are anathema. Continuous training is key
to success and must be directed toward achieving the rapid tempo,
agility, and unity of effort essential to decisive victory.
(3:4-30) The scope of the embedded training is made most
effective because it is performed as a consequence of daily
     What is the strategy for developing the objective system?
Although operational requirements for the objective system are
best identified by top down analysis, the foundation of the
system is the construction of capabilities at the base -- which
are the nodes which service commanders. Vertical constructs
linked horizontally are the key. Horizontal constructs tend
to isolate functions and are contrary to the concept of a
homogenous, resilient capability. However, horizontal constructs
must be used to establish priorities for acquisition. The
departure from antiquated programming constraints is clearest
here. Stability in the process can be achieved through a focus
on operational requirements. Operational requirements are
constant relative to technology. They provide the simplest form
of continuity in the pursuit of constructing the objective
     This will not guarantee and is not aimed at efficient
procurement, but it will maximize the effectiveness of the
product. Though it may seem odd, most efficient does not ensure
the lowest cost. The only way to ensure efficiency is to focus
on items of the system: equipment or subsystems. Procurement
will occur as technology, and its product, the 'things' that
make up the system, is developed which achieves the operational
requirements. With the common thread provided by the overarching
concept, construction will progress toward the objective goal
regardless of fiscal realities. Unlike a programming emphasis
that focuses on horizontal constructs based upon equipment
available now or in the near term, delays in procurement of
capabilities that achieve the functional concept may mean an
even more capable system at a lower cost.
     Vertical constructs result in shared building modules useful
across the spectrum of functional utility plus reduce isolation
and duplication of effort. By moving away from the horizontal
or 'stovepipe' systems that serve only one function, we eliminate
isolated efforts which are contrary to the principal of mutual
support. This serves to minimize redundant effort which achieves
economies unthinkable in the efficiency construct. Further,
vertical integration facilitates intraoperability which is the
microcosm for effecting interoperability. This flies in the
face of business as it is done today.
     The vision of the objective system is itself the management
tool that will provide the discipline and power the construct
within which we proceed. Integrated development and technological
linkage serve to enhance both the assimilation of information
the commander uses to build his view of the battlefield and
the construction of the objective system itself. This is at
odds with the Newtonian approach that the program objective
memorandum (POM) process encourages and which bastardizes the
'past as prologue to future' in an absurd application whose
'antiquation is prologue to its end product.'
     The concept as the desired product vice an item of equipment
or subsystem provides a focus and standard for performance.
This will ensure that the best available technology will be
fielded to the Fleet Marine Force with the least overhead, at
the lowest cost. Competition will continue to cause the industry
standard to improve meaning that it will outperform any
programmatic equipment standard established. Embracing the
industry standard in the development and evolution of the
objective system marks two important achievements: the movement
toward an open system that can readily access any data base
with which it links (and configure the information in a manner
useful to the commander), and more cost effective product
     This concept enables the commander the ultimate flexibility
to tailor his command and control support suite to mission
requirements by configuring it accordingly. A resident data
base can then be configured and supported to meet more than
the finite, academically identified requirements, thus achieving
flexibility. Not only does this flexibility extend to the shaping
of required functions, it anticipates the technology which will
provide a multimedia network. This network would interface with
external and internal systems to provide options for
communications as diverse as the imagination.
     How do we implement the changes that will accomplish this
change in strategy ? There are two cultural shifts which must
     First: Operational requirements must be established by
a thorough top-down analysis that is based upon doctrine;
analysis that is not dogmatic but is disciplined. It must be
aimed at conceptual constructs (man, nature, and the enemy)
that configure the objective system rather than the research,
development, and acquisition of physical components. We must
reject outright any attempt to facilitate the obstruction of
this methodology by any individual or group special interest
that accommodates any subsystem which is the product of the
antiquated stovepipe approach to development. We must embrace
flexibility and change, making it manageable by ensuring that
potential change is accommodated both by the objective system's
capabilities and by designed invisibility at the operator's
station. And, very importantly, we must make a cultural shift
that causes us to always remember that we are the customer and
that our collective experience should have created the mindset:
caveat vendor.
     Next: We must pursue a modified zero-based approach to
acquisition. Key to this approach is the assembly, improvement,
and maintenance of the objective system modularly. We field
each logically derived subsystem as it becomes affordable and
as technology arrives that delivers the capabilities established
as requirements. We refrain from the acquisition of prototypes
which portend generational irrelevance. Restructuring the
programmatic approach to the POM process will require the
philosophical and statutory meeting of minds with Congress.
We cannot shy away from our moral and ethical responsibilities
to our various constituencies. Until now, this would have not
been within the realm of possibilities. But this model is
applicable throughout a government that is seeking economies
and enhanced effectiveness.
     The ethical and moral imperative becomes the refusal to
shovel money into 'black holes.' With few exceptions, industry
will remain ahead of our expectations and demands in the
development of the objective command and control system. This
is the almost absolute exception when we are supported by the
established bureaucratic acquisition process. The strategy acts
to advance us long an evolutionary progression in doing business
that reduces programmed obsolescence, bureaucratic inertia,
and overhead. Significantly, the issue of economies of scale
are an industrial problem which cannot be passed on to us without
     This strategy will allow the Marine Corps to remain at
the crest of the technological wave by institutionalizing a
procurement approach that ensures evolutionary potential and
growth from the objective system. This fully embraces the process
of capturing the dynamics between technology and operations
through multiple entry and exit points in the procurement cycle
instead of the linear (and ultimately dysfuncytional) development
from established operational requirements. It recognizes the
dynamics between operational requirements, technological
requirements, and technological capabilities which act to refine
the objective system. It takes full advantage of innovation
not only in technology but also in doctrine. (5:69)
     The result will be a revolutionary strategy that embraces
change rather than being wary of and threatened by progress.
It is a process that is focused on the objective and that allows
evolutionary development. It is a strategy for fighting wars
of the future rather than of the past.
1. Campbell, Jeremy. Grammatical Man. New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1982
2. Campen, Alan D. Forward to Science of Command and Control:
Coping With Uncertainty. (Dr. Stuart E. Johnson and Dr. Alexander
H. Levis, eds.) Washington, DC: AFCEA International Press, 1988
3. Command and Control: FMFM 3. Coordinating Draft #2, 3rd ed.
Quantico, Va: United States Marine Corps, Nov 92
4. C4I for the Warrior. C4 Architecture and Integration Division,
J6, The Joint Staff. Washington, DC: Pentagon, June 92
5. Sonata. SPAWARS. Washington, DC: Headquarters, United States
Navy, 1991
6. Warfighting: FMFM 1. Quantico, Va.: United States Marine
Corps, 6 March 1989

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