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COMMAND AND CONTROL(C2)

by LTC Peter W. Rose II and MAJ Keith E. Flowers

Task Force (TF) Hawk faced unique challenges in the area of C2, including the C2structure of the task force. This article provides Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) used by TF Hawk in organizing its headquarters staff, and provides the reader with lessons in the two key C2tasks of: 1) Directing and Leading Subordinate Forces, and 2) Acquiring and Communicating Information and Maintaining Status. The article is divided into five parts beginning with a description of the various command relationships that TF Hawk had with higher headquarters. It then examines the deployment challenges faced by the unit, and is followed by part three, which is a description of how the task force organized for combat. The final two portions of this article are the lessons gained by TF Hawk in the C2tasks described above.

Part I: Command Relationships

The Commander in Chief (CINC), European Command, directed United States Army, Europe (USAREUR), to deploy a task force centered around attack aviation and field artillery units capable of conducting deep strike operations in support of NATO's ongoing Operation ALLIED FORCE. Protection of the forces was given the highest priority, commensurate with mission accomplishment.

During the operation, the task force was prepared to answer to three different chains of command. The tactical and operational chain of command remained in U.S. hands, running from the National Command Authority (NCA), through the Theater CINC and Joint Task Force Noble Anvil to TF Hawk. Title X responsibilities for TF Hawk did not change during the deployment. The administrative chain of command for TF Hawk, extended through its parent corps, through the Theater Army (USAREUR), and finally to the Department of the Army.

TF Hawk had an on-order NATO tactical and operational chain of command that was never implemented. It linked TF Hawk to NATO's Albanian Forces (AFOR) in Durres, Albania, then to NATO's Allied Forces (AF) South at Naples Italy, and finally to NATO's Supreme Allied Command, Europe (SACEUR).

The three command relationships are depicted in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1. Command Relationships.

TF Hawk also coordinated its activities with elements of Operation SHINING HOPE, the international humanitarian relief effort, since they shared use of Rinas Airfield, the main LOC into Albania. Finally, the task force coordinated its targeting efforts with the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) through the Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE) located in Vicenza, Italy, to provide target data for coalition air forces. The many varied command relationships and coordination requirements greatly complicated TF Hawk C2.

However, no discussion of the task force's C2challenges can be complete without a description of how the task force deployed and an appreciation of the limited time the corps had available to prepare, and organize, which impacted the resultant organization and headquarters structure.

Part II: TF Hawk Deployment

Even as the task force prepared to deploy, the destination changed from Macedonia to Albania. The task force did not deploy in definitive timelines as contingency planners often assume. Since Albania lacked rail, sea and ground infrastructure, TF Hawk had to rely almost exclusively on Air Lines of Communications (ALOCs) for resupply and deployment of troops into the theater. Resultantly, the key deployment challenge was to maximize the amount of men and equipment brought in by ALOCs to the Theater Staging Base (TSB)/Tactical Assembly Area (TAA).

The following unclassified timeline provides the reader a summary of select key decisions and events, to include when units deployed and what command post assets were available to support the commander.

Day 1Theater Army Commander issued verbal warning order.
Day 2Corps Headquarters developed a concept of the operation.
Day 7Theater Army Commander issued formal warning order for the initial deployment location (Macedonia).
Day 8 Theater CINC directed Task Force to deploy on order, on or about Day 13; Corps Headquarters developed an air flow plan.
Day 12Corps/Task Force key personnel conducted an area reconnaissance of initial deployment location.
Day 13Corps developed a contingency plan for deployment to a second location, Albania; TF Hawk began a command post exercise in preparation for the mission.
Day 17Theater Army order changed the deployment location to Albania.
Day 18Lead elements of TF Hawk's advance party arrived at Rinas Airfield in Tirana, Albania.
Days 20 - 25Advance party -- first force package continued to flow into Rinas Airfield.
Days 25 - 29 Second force package arrived providing limited C2, force protection, combat health support levels II-III support, RSOI, and targeting capabilities (24-hour C2capability required four days to develop).
Days 25 - 38Helicopters self deployed.
Days 29 - 33Third force package began arriving, providing deep strike assets, logistics, SEAD and counter-fire capabilities, and improved force protection.
Days 33 - 37Third force package closed with additional SEAD, counter-fire, logistics, and force protection resources.
Day 34 TF Hawk began conducting mission rehearsal exercises.
Days 37 - 38Fourth force package arrived with additional force protection and logistics capabilities.
Day 38 TF Hawk was assessed to have initial deep operations capability.
Days 39 - 45 Fifth force package arrived with deep strike MLRSs, and additional logistics, SEADs and force protection capabilities.
Days 45 - 49Sixth force package arrived with fire fighting, construction, power generation and additional force protection capabilities.

The task force faced the following challenges during its deployment and preparation for combat operations:

  • Immature theater and limited host-nation support.
  • Practically all life support resources had to be brought into the country.
  • The logistical lines of communication were limited to one ALOC; Rinas Airfield was required to support host-nation civil aviation requirements, United Nations Operation SHINING HOPE airhead operations, as well as the deployment and sustainment of TF Hawk.
  • TF Hawk and TF Falcon (U.S. Army peacekeeping force for Kosovo) competed for resources.
  • Limited Strategic Airlift resources; surface movement authority did not exist.
  • Weather effects on terrain (mud) hampered movement within the TSB/TAA.
  • Task force mission was politically sensitive throughout the duration of the deployment.
  • The task force mission and organization were non-standard and the C2structures were unique -- this required an adjustment by leaders and staff.

Part III: Organizing for Combat

To execute its deep operations mission, TF Hawk was organized around the deep attack capabilities of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers. The task force was comprised mainly of units subordinate to USAREUR (forward deployed)'s Army Corps. However, one infantry battalion task force, several smaller units and a number of staff augmentees came from the continental United States and other overseas locations. The following section gives a brief overview of the task force's subordinate units, their force composition and how they were deployed in the task force assembly area - base camp. Figure 2 graphically portrays the organization of the task force.

Figure 2. Task Force Organization - Subordinate Units.

The task force included an attack helicopter regiment (ATKHR) built around two 12 AH-64 Apache-equipped squadrons. A corps aviation brigade provided C2, air mobility, and air assault capabilities with organic and attached UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47D Chinook helicopters. The aviation brigade also included assets for downed aircraft and aircrew recovery teams (DAARTs), forward area arming and refueling points (FAARPs), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and a quick reaction force (QRF). The Corps Artillery integrated all indirect fire support systems to facilitate the destruction of enemy forces and equipment and provided key personnel and equipment for the Deep Operations Coordination Cell (DOCC). The MLRS Battalion consisted of three batteries with nine launchers each. Twenty-three MLRS launchers were capable of firing ATACMS Block 1, while four launchers were capable of firing ATACMS Block 1A.

The ground maneuver brigade was built around a brigade headquarters and headquarters company, a mechanized infantry battalion task force and an airborne infantry battalion task force. The brigade mission was to conduct offensive and defensive operations to defeat enemy attacks toward the task force assembly area and to provide security (force protection) to the Task Force assembly area and the artillery team located in a forward operating base. Later, TF Hawk tasked the ground maneuver brigade to provide forces for peacekeeping operations until relieved by forces deploying from Germany.

Figure 3. M1A1 Abrams on perimeter security near the TF Hawk Headquarters.

The corps support group (CSG) provided combat service support to include maintenance, finance, medical, supply, personnel services, ammunition and engineering support for TF Hawk. The corps support group included the following organic units: headquarters and headquarters company (HHC), corps support battalion, a mobile army surgical hospital (MASH), corps material management center (CMMC), maintenance companies and teams from various maintenance battalions, personnel services battalion (PSB), finance battalion, ordnance company (ammunition), and a forward support battalion (FSB). An engineer construction battalion was attached to the corps support group.

The signal battalion, comprised of a HHC, a signal company, and a signal support company, provided voice and data communications support to all elements of TF Hawk.

The military police (MP) company was organized with three MP platoons, a protective services detachment and a six-dog K-9 section. It supported task force assembly area security operations, provided security to the task force tactical operations center, mounted elements, the artillery team's tactical assembly area and forward operating base, and the task force commanding general.

A 14-man Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) tactical support detachment provided tactical PSYOPS support to TF Hawk to facilitate force protection and reduce local national civilian interference.

The Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE) launched and recovered special forces teams, monitored and directed special operations within the task force area of operations and provided liaison to the task force command post through the task force special operations coordinator. The SOCCE commander and staff directly informed the task force commanding general concerning special operations and their developments.

The task force special troops battalion (STB) was a task-organized headquarters and headquarters detachment including a command group, S-1 section, S-3 section, S-4 section, food service team, organizational maintenance and transportation section, a petroleum oils and lubricants section and a power generation and generator/heating/cooling repair section. The STB supported the 600-700 personnel of the various organic and supporting task force headquarters sections assigned to TF Hawk. Support included operations, administration, life support, and limited organizational vehicle maintenance and limited transportation support.

To best organize for combat, the task force occupied an assembly area or base camp approximately 12 kilometers northwest of Tirana, Albania. The task force occupied the southern half of Rinas Airfield, Albania's international airport. Albanian commercial aviation shared the northern half of the airfield with elements of the United Nations Operation SHINING HOPE. U.S. Air Force elements were interspersed on the airfield, located near the organizations they supported, either TF Hawk or Operation SHINING HOPE.

Figure 4. Aerial View of the TF Hawk Headquarters and Part of the Assembly Area -- Base Camp.

Figure 5 depicts the layout of the TF Hawk assembly area and base camp at the peak of the deployment. The diagram is designed to illustrate the relatively compact distances between organizations and to show the approximate locations of the various organizations to the task force headquarters.

Figure 5. Task Force Assembly Area and Base Camp "Snapshot."

TF Hawk Headquarters

TF Hawk, including its headquarters, was built predominantly from units assigned to USAREUR and FORSCOM. Additional specialized personnel were drawn from throughout the Army. The task force came to life in April when its parent corps was directed to send a deep operations task force to the Balkans, initially to Macedonia, but ultimately to Albania. Just as the units that made up the organization were task-organized, so was the headquarters itself. Corps generated the task force headquarters primarily from its own resources. While doing so, the designers of the task force headquarters ensured that the corps main command post retained sufficient capabilities to continue to plan and execute corps operations in both Central Europe and other operations in the Balkans, including peacekeeping in Kosovo. As a result, the Corps staff was split. Those staff positions and command post capabilities not resourced by the corps were filled by tasking subordinate units, or by requesting augmentation from external organizations.

The initial uncertainty and subsequent changes in the deployment location additionally challenged the corps' planners and task force designers. Planners had to manage the growing size of the task force as the deployment location changed from Macedonia, where the U.S. Army already had a sizeable presence, to Albania, where U.S. presence was negligible and organized crime was rampant. The task force headquarters grew to provide the required C2to oversee not only deep operations, but also a robust force protection element to counter threats of attack from Serbian forces and Albanian organized crime syndicates.

The headquarters organization described on the following pages represents each staff section at the "high water mark," when the headquarters possessed the personnel necessary to support the task force's operations. This section describes the staff organization in terms of each staff section's mission. Figure 6 on page 9 outlines the task force headquarters organization.

The headquarters was dynamic and continued to grow throughout the deployment. It is likely after-action reports will disagree on the strength of the task force headquarters, dependent on when the snapshot was taken of each section. The Task Force (G-3) Plans section with its MILVAN, for example, did not arrive until 30 days after the advance party had landed at Rinas Airfield, and more than two weeks after the task force was judged to have an initial capability in place.

Figure 6. Task Force Headquarters.

The Command Group: The command group consisted of the task force commander, his deputies, the chief of staff, secretary of the general staff and the joint visitors' bureau (JVB).

  • The corps commander served as the task force commander due to the politically sensitive nature of the mission.

  • TF Hawk employed a deputy commanding general, air (DCG-Air) and a deputy commanding general, ground (DCG-Ground). The DCG-Air (a promotable brigadier general) had extensive aviation experience. The DCG-Ground (a promotable colonel) oversaw fire support and ground operations and supervised the TF chief of staff. His former experience had been as a field artilleryman.

  • The chief of staff, a combat arms lieutenant colonel augmentee from a U.S. division stationed in Europe, performed the normal duties associated with this position.

  • The secretary of the general staff performed the normal duties associated with this position and supervised the JVB.

  • The JVB provided protocol support to distinguished visitors and others designated by the task force commander. It arranged itineraries, transportation, meals, accommodations and other administrative needs as required.

The Personal Staff: The commander's personal staff consisted of the command sergeant major (CSM), special initiatives group (SIG), staff judge advocate (SJA), inspector general (IG), a political advisor (POLAD), and aides.

  • The command sergeant major provided personal, professional and technical advice on enlisted soldier and NCO matters. The corps command sergeant major also functioned as the TF Hawk command sergeant major.

  • TF Hawk developed a non-doctrinal cell, or "think tank" titled the Special Initiatives Group. This group planned employment options for the task force, generated briefings for the myriad of very important persons (VIPs) visiting the task force, and eased the impact on the task force staff by filtering and answering higher headquarters queries for information whenever possible.

  • The staff judge advocate (SJA) supported the dual hatted corps commander/task force commander, and subordinate unit commanders with standard administrative legal support, and provided law-of-land warfare/ international law support to the task force headquarters and subordinate units, while the SJA in Germany supported the rest of the corps.

  • The inspector general section supported the task force commander, conducting doctrinal tasks, and serving as the task force commanding general's eyes and ears within the task force headquarters and subordinate units. The three highest priorities for the IG were force protection, safety and maintenance.

  • The political advisor advised the commander on political matters and the political impact of military operations.

  • The aides provided administrative assistance respectively to the commanding general, DCG-Air and DCG-Ground.

  • The command group support staff section provided administrative support to the commander and deputy commanders and security to the commander.

The Special Staff: The special staff comprised the safety officer, resource manager (collocated with the task force G-4), chaplain, special operations coordinator (SOCOORD), historian, surgeon, provost marshal, base commander, public affairs officer and finance officer (duties performed by the finance battalion commander).

  • The safety officer supported the task force commander and subordinate unit commanders with management of the commander's safety program, executed staff actions, visits and inspections needed to enhance the safety posture of the task force.

  • The task force resource manager, collocated with the task force G-4, performed the normal resource management functions for the task force headquarters. His location with the G-4 enhanced both resource management and supply and services activities of the task force G-4.

  • The chaplain and religious support section advised the task forces commander on religious support, morale and morale issues that can impact on the mission, and coordinated and supervised religious support for the task force.

  • The special operations coordinator coordinated and integrated special operations assets and activities for TF Hawk, serving as a more independent staff section working directly for the task force commander.

  • The task force command historian and war diarist collected and coordinated the collection of documents pertaining to the task force's historical activities.

  • The surgeon's office supported the task force by planning, coordinating and synchronizing medical care coverage. The command post aid station provided initial medical care to attached and supporting command post personnel.

  • The provost martial section coordinated MP combat, combat support and combat service support assets and operations. The provost marshal also provided operational control over the MP company attached to the task force.

  • The base commander performed the normal duties associated with a headquarters commandant, or garrison commander.

  • The public affairs office supported the task force commander, and subordinate unit commanders with media relations and command information.

The Primary Staff: The task force headquarters was initially constrained by the same personnel cap as the rest of the task force. The cap was relaxed over time, allowing the headquarters to bring in the required personnel to perform essential functions. Initially, the command post's center of gravity revolved around the DOCC, its supporting staff sections and the G-2, analysis and control element (ACE) and national intelligence support team (NIST). As the task force deployed into its assembly area/base camp, the criticality of the functions normally performed by the G-3 (planning, operations controlling and terrain management) became apparent in their absence. As a result, the G-3 Section expanded with the increased personnel cap to meet these requirements. An extremely austere Adjutant General (AG) Section doubled as the G-1 personnel section. The G-4 logistics section was also minimally resourced. The G-5 civil affairs section was resourced completely by augmentation external to the theater without much negative effect. The augmentee G-5, a former defense attach to Albania, was handpicked, and personnel from the Army's only active duty civil affairs battalion staffed the remainder of the section. The G-6 signal section was also task-organized, and was provided primarily by the corps signal brigade.

  • The Adjutant General (AG) Section performed doctrinal tasks including strength accounting, replacement operations, unit-manning report tracking, limited personnel actions and liaison with the theater army personnel command. In addition, the AG performed G-1-related duties: plans and orders support, policy development, limited oversight of morale, welfare and recreation, the alcohol and drug abuse prevention counseling program, finance and equal opportunity.

  • The G-2 intelligence section, with supporting military intelligence brigade and national assets, supported task force operations with military intelligence, counterintelligence, security and military intelligence training. The task force "intel team" included DOCC intelligence planning and support, the analysis and control element, all-source intelligence section (ASIS), Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) mobile ground station, a national intelligence support team, Trojan Spirit II, weather section, and topographical support section.

  • The G-3 conducted doctrinal operations tasks, force protection activities, planning, orders and tasking preparation, operations tracking, liaison, training activities, NBC actions, photography -- combat camera, and command post establishment functions; the G-3 Air operated as part of the DOCC.

  • The DOCC provided the task force commander with the ability to conduct and track synchronized deep operations for the task force and also support the U.S. joint task force with targeting support.

  • The G-4 logistics section performed doctrinal tasks of coordinating the logistics integration of supply, maintenance, transportation and services for the task force and maintaining logistics visibility for the commander. The task force G-4 was the link between the corps support group and the rest of the task force staff and task force's subordinate units.

  • The G-5 civil affairs section supported the task force providing civil affairs support, and controlled two civil affairs tactical support teams. The G-5 function was completely performed by staff augmentation, permitting the corps G-5 section to remain in Germany and function as a part of the corps main command post.

  • The G-6 signal section coordinated signal support for the task force headquarters and subordinate units. The G-6 provided staff support for signal operations automation management, network management and information security.

Figure 7 provides a diagram of the task force command post and its life support area.

Part IV: Direct and Lead Subordinate Force

TF Hawk's unique design and environment also provided challenges for the commander and command post concerning directing and leading forces. The TF devised new techniques and modified other standard practices to accomplish this task.

TRADOC Pamphlet 11-9, Blueprint of the Battlefield, describes the task "Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces" as follows: To provide direction to subordinate forces so that they understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of the commander's concept and intent. This section provides TTPs and key lessons in this area. Additionally, Appendix A of this newsletter provides a summary of fragmentary orders (FRAGOs) to show how the task force leadership provided direction in the face of external events and emerging requirements.

Fires/Air Integration: TF Hawk DOCC integrated fire support and air assets for deep operations. In accordance with FM 6-20-10, The Targeting Process, the DOCC served as the battle C2facility, which existed to support the successful execution of deep operations. Through the targeting process, targets were selected and targeting assets were allocated and employed. The primary TF Hawk assets for deep attack were the AH-64 Apache and the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). Other means for synchronizing air and fire support assets not prescribed in doctrine included:

  • Collocating the attack helicopter regiment (ATKHR) and corps artillery at the DOCC enabled both to develop their plans side by side. The ATKHR collocated their tactical operations center (TOC) with the DOCC. In addition, corps artillery TOC functions were conducted at the DOCC. The ATKHR and corps artillery participated jointly in targeting reviews and targeting boards and were conveniently located near the rehearsal tent. The corps aviation brigade placed a liaison team with the G-3 Air.

  • Opting to use an automated system that unit personnel were familiar with, the Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (ADOCS), for horizontal (cross-battlefield operating system) digital connectivity instead of a relatively new system, the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS). ADOCS provided a digital tool for aviation and fires to coordinate deep operations.

  • Adding requisite experience for a politically sensitive mission. TF Hawk augmented their staff by creating a DCG-Air and a DCG-Ground. The DCG-Air had previous experience conducting deep attacks as a battalion commander in Operation DESERT STORM and the DCG-Ground was a field artilleryman who provided fire support experience.

Location of Leaders on the Battlefield: TF Hawk leadership effectively provided C2during mission rehearsal exercises (MREs). The following is a breakdown of where key leaders positioned themselves on the battlefield:

  • The task force commander -- DOCC integrated staff office (ISO) at TF Hawk Base or a C2UH-60.
  • The DCG-Air -- airborne battlefield command, control, and communications (ABCCC) aircraft, C2C12s, or the DOCC integrated staff office (ISO).
  • The DCG-Ground -- operated in the DOCC ISO.
  • The attack helicopter regimental commander -- AH-64 or regimental tactical operations center (TOC). If the commander was part of the strike package, the S3 located in the ISO, and vice versa.
  • The corps aviation brigade commander -- airborne C2relay station (UH-60) or DOCC ISO.
  • The corps artillery commander -- DOCC ISO.

Augmentation: Corps was tasked to create TF Hawk, a 5,000-soldier force, to conduct deep operations while maintaining the capability to deploy an even larger force for future contingency operations in Kosovo, such as peacekeeping operations. To adequately meet this dual requirement, TF Hawk relied heavily on Department of the Army taskings Army-wide for augmentation personnel and units. The task force benefited from a large number of augmentees, from the DCG-Air to the field kitchen cook. This was especially the case in the task force headquarters. In some cases, the staff attachment was a single individual, such as an Aviation major providing the headquarters plans cell with aviation expertise or a signal sergeant performing the duties of a G-6 noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC). In many cases, the augmentees appeared to outnumber the assigned members from the parent corps headquarters. This was evident to any visitor to the fire support element. Numerous officers and NCOs were from the Artillery School, supplementing the corps FSE staff.

The augmentees came in groups as well. The task force Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) section consisted of an eight-member team from an Army air traffic services (ATS) battalion, each of whom held various duty positions in the unit. That group had to form, develop and train while actively supporting task force operations.

Furthermore, augmentation occurred at the unit level. The mechanized infantry battalion task force received an additional scout platoon. Similarly, the task force corps support group was itself a conglomerate of division, corps, and theater assets.

The augmentees successfully integrated into staffs and units because leaders at all levels were attuned to team building. By different methods, the normal "we-they" attitudes that naturally occur were pre-empted. Leaders listened to their augmentees and took advantage of their experience and training. The task force leadership throughout the headquarters did not use the authoritarian leadership technique, but rather, welcomed creativity and new ideas to address the unique challenges faced by a very unique Army task force.

TF Hawk absorbed elements and individuals that did not work habitually with its parent Corps. The task force rapidly placed augmentees into key positions and developed them as part of the task force team through events such as staff and unit rehearsals. Similarly, the augmentees came willing to work and were quickly integrated into the task force.

Key Lessons:

  • Integrating the ATKHR and corps artillery into the DOCC-facilitated integration of fire support and air assets.

  • The TF gained invaluable insights by augmenting their staff with the DCG-Air and the DCG-Ground. The TF commander should ensure that the proper supporting staff is emplaced to help focus and weight the main effort.

  • Commanders and key personnel positioned themselves in a variety of operational facilities (OPFACs) to most effectively control the battle. By locating themselves at specific operational facilities, commanders were able to influence the battle not only by their presence, but also by being accessible to subordinates for guidance and to make key decisions.

  • Team building is vital to integrating new personnel into the Task Force. Task Force Hawk was able to integrate new personnel into the headquarters and subordinate units through vigorous training and the After-Action Review (AAR) process after each Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE).

  • Units/staffs should place a high priority on integrating new personnel into a task force and task-organized headquarters.

Part V: Acquire and Communicate Information and Maintain Status

An essential capability of any headquarters is to acquire and communicate information and maintain statuses. While accomplishing this task is of the highest importance, it is not easily mastered and completed. When the task force is organized from units that normally do not operate together, the challenge is even greater. When presented with a task force C2element that is similarly constructed, the commander faces the greatest challenge of all.

TRADOC Pamphlet 11-9, Blueprint of the Battlefield, describes the task "Acquire and Communicate Information and Maintain Status," as follows: To gain possession of information on the mission, enemy forces, friendly troops, terrain and weather (METT) by or for the commander or his staff; To translate that information into usable form and to retain and disseminate it. This section provides information on TTPs and key lessons in the area of acquiring and communicating information and maintaining status.

Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC): TF Hawk used the ABCCC for both situational awareness and C2during deep attack MREs. The ABCCC system is a high-tech automated airborne C2facility featuring computer-generated color displays, digitally controlled communications, and rapid data retrieval. The platform's 23 fully securable radios, secure teletype, and 15 automatic fully computerized consoles allow the battle staff to quickly analyze current combat situations and direct offensive air support toward fast-developing targets. ABCCC is equipped with its most recent upgrade, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), which allows real-time accountability with the Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) E-3 Sentry aircraft. Listed below are essential ABCCC functions to support Army deep operations:

  • Synchronize all aircraft related to a target or target group.
  • Enforce control measures and update aircraft on control measures.
  • Provide red and blue situational awareness to enhance friendly aircraft operation.
  • Receive moving target indicator information from JSTARS and pass on to aircraft requiring the information.
  • Receive information from AWACS and pass to aircraft requiring the information, both red and blue air picture.
  • Direct and monitor Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (JSEAD) executions, relay status of JSEAD and effects to aircraft requiring that support.
  • Link with Compass Call and Rivet Joint.
  • Direct and monitor Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions through a Tactical Satellite (TACSAT) link.
  • Monitor aerial refueling operations.
  • Perform frequency management functions.
  • Can serve as a communications relay for Army aviation units.
  • Control strike packages, shooters, jammers, anti-air defense assets. This function is similar to that performed in other theaters of operations.

During ATACMS missions, the ABCCC:

  • Remained operational before and during an ATACMS mission.
  • Received information of the ATACMS corridor, disseminated the information to aircraft in the area and cleared that restricted operations zone (ROZ).

To support deep operations, an ABCCC was used in a unique manner. Normally, Army aviation aircraft must maintain communications with ABCCC during deep attacks. During TF MREs, Army aircraft maintained communications with ABCCC placed in direct support of TF Hawk. TF Hawk experienced some success using ABCCC during deep attack MREs. More training and integration of ABCCC's full capability would have improved TF Haw's ability to command and control deep strikes.

Seeking to develop its own airborne C2relay capability and minimize its reliance on the ABCCC fleet, TF Hawk received a modified C-12 to serve as a fixed-wing airborne communications relay. The "EC-12" increased communications effectiveness during deep attack operations but lacked the situational awareness capability of an ABCCC. The EC-12 was an asset the TF commander could control.

Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (ADOCS): TF Hawk used the ADOCS to coordinate deep operations within the DOCC. The ADOCS is a user-friendly Microsoft Windows-based program, run on personal computers (PCs); it uses the local area network (LAN). ADOCS allowed various DOCC cells that normally participate in deep operations, such as the fire control element (FCE), A2C2, aviation units, air liaison officer (ALO), G-3 Air, G-2, command ISO, joint warfare section, and SEAD cell to provide their input electronically for operations. It also enabled non-traditional members of the deep operations team, such as SJA and G-5 civil affairs, to participate in the targeting and operations planning process. SJA involvement in fires was essential because attacking targets that violated Rules of Engagement may have had adverse political ramifications or cause more damage than the benefit derived from attacking the target.

The supporting corps had partially fielded Army Battle Command Systems (ABCSs) including the Global Command and Control System-Army (GCCS-A), Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), All-Source Analysis System (ASAS), and the Maneuver Control System (MCS). As these ABCS systems mature, become more capable of horizontal connectivity, and become easier to use, even for arriving augmentees, they will offer corps an alternative means of planning deep operations. The greatest benefits of ADOCS were the ability to support all functional areas in the greater DOCC community and integrate planning.

Fire Coordination Element (FCE) Computers: The TF Hawk DOCC FCE employed three available digital systems for controlling fires: ADOCS, Initial Fire Support Automated System (IFSAS), and Fire Direction System (FDS).

The FCE employed ADOCS for coordinating and planning fires in support of deep operations. ADOCS provided extensive fire planning, coordination and execution, data display and communications capabilities, including real-time data sharing among multiple workstations and users. It provided horizontal and vertical connectivity across functional areas for Joint and Combined operations. Functional areas included: fires, targeting, airspace deconfliction, and aviation mission planning.

The FCE used IFSAS for tactical fire direction. However, IFSAS could not compute data for coordinating airspace with the A2C2cell. As a workaround to this shortcoming, the FCE operated a MLRS Fire Direction System (FDS) to compute coordinating data for airspace coordination. The MLRS FDS provided tactical fire control for the field artillery rockets and missiles at battalion, battery, and platoon echelons.

Digital Air Support Requests (ASRs): TF Hawk used the Secure Internet Protocol Router Net (SIPRNET) to coordinate air support requests (ASRs) between the joint warfare section (JWS) located in the air liaison cell and the BCE. The JWS received their requests for ASRs by either verbal guidance at targeting meetings or JSEAD worksheets. After receiving the request, they passed the ASR (in Microsoft Word format) to the BCE on SIPRNET. Other digital systems were available but were not used to their maximum potential because of their inherent complexities and the lack of time to train and sustain personnel on their use.

Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (JSEAD) Worksheet: The ALO developed a JSEAD worksheet that simplified the planning process, reduced errors, and helped subordinate elements maximize the effectiveness of Air Force SEAD assets. The worksheet helped requesting units plan JSEAD events by ensuring they had the correct information on the air support request. An event was defined as "a desired effect on the enemy" that would use one or more JSEAD assets. The unit submitted the ASR to the joint warfare officer (JWO). The JWO, after reviewing the ASR with the ALO, then submitted the ASR to the battlefield coordination element (BCE). The JSEAD worksheet is shown in Appendix B.

Key Lessons:

  • ABCCC can provide timely situational awareness (SA) during deep attacks.

  • G3/S3 must continuously plan training in combat zones.

  • ADOCS provided the DOCC an automated system to coordinate deep operations.

  • ADOCS supported all functional areas in the DOCC and helped integrate deep operations planning.

  • ADOCS allowed non-traditional deep operations team members, such as the JAG and the G5, to provide input to the deep operations plan.

  • Units must prepare to go to war with fielded systems.

  • SIPRNET provided an effective method of passing Air Support Request data.

  • The JSEAD worksheet ensured units requesting JSEAD provide all relevant data in the ASR to achieve the desired effects.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias