Command and control within peer conflict – the decisive edge
The renewed focus on peer and near-peer conflicts by major Western powers has affirmed that command-and-control must be a defence priority for all nations.
Big wars against high tech foes have chaos and casualties to match says the US Field Army’s new Manual 3.0, while the UK’s Defence Doctrine Publication 0-01 (UKDD) describes how technologically advanced tools and tactics closes the gap between peers and near-peers.
For nations to prevail in these circumstances, says Jesper Annexgaard, Systematic Product Manager, it is imperative that all personnel are involved in the planning process – from headquarters to the field.
“Legacy and substandard systems simply do not provide the advantage within a peer conflict,” he said. “Innovative solutions that ensure tasks, orders and plans can be sent both to and from units operating at all levels of command are what is required to coordinate largescale forces and fires.”
Warfighters equipped with SitaWare Edge are assimilated into the planning and information process required to manage the movements of personnel and equipment en masse. In peer conflicts forces are scaled to battalion level rather than the counter-insurgency platoon level fighting of Afghanistan.
There are often significantly more troops, long-range weapons will usually be deployed and firepower vastly increased.
Forces at the front will need to be constantly rotated with reserves which will also require detailed sharing of plans and information with staff back at the planning headquarters.
With SitaWare Edge, dismounted units can provide not only a common operational picture to command, and vice versa, but can add troop tracks, enemy tracks and tactical graphics as a means of communicating tasks, plans and orders to everyone across the battalion.
This level of integration enables the exchange of battle-winning information quickly and at scale. The ability for units to be more mobile and fully armed with fresh information about the enemy and own plan of attack is imperative to peer-to-peer conflict strategy.
SitaWare Edge employs SitaWare Tactical Communication (STC) which ensures that data is constantly refreshed and synchronised across all networks. With largescale conflict offensive electronic warfare can severely impede the ability of a force to conduct informed assaults – meaning that personnel may be offline for a considerable period.
Unlike traditional solutions that rely solely on bandwidth, STC ensures users are in synch with the very latest information - even when periodically offline.
SitaWare Edge is currently unmatched as part of a fully synchronised C4ISR SitaWare Suite. When integrated with SitaWare Headquarters, tactical units can view a synch matrix, ensuring that a common operational picture can then be shared across the battalion.
The potential for Intelligence add-ons such as SitaWare Insight can also provide a threat analysis – taking in data from a variety of sources military ground-based assets, manned and unmanned aircraft, naval vessels, and satellites to provide unparalleled decision support. The speed of this Artificial Intelligence, sifting and prosecuting data faster than any human, can provide that tactical edge in pacy operational activity directly to units at reach.
“Command and control can be the make-or-break of any operation,” adds Jesper. “If done well you have swift, precise and effective information flow that unites personnel. If done with substandard systems, then that advantage is lost.”
As nations assess how the new international world order affects their defence strategies, it is clear that militaries must now consider how to best coordinate their forces within a changing character of war. Starting from the bottom and the tactical edge may be a good place to start.