Command and control is at the very heart of military tactics and has been since the very earliest days of warfare. Without adequate command and control, organised campaigns descend into a series of random skirmishes. This may involve planes, boats and tanks to work together as a team. To get practise of driving and working together you could take a Tank Driving Experience through sites including www.armourgeddon.co.uk/tank-driving-experience.html where you get to actually drive a real life tank.
Yet the military can be slow to respond to changes in technology if they have a system that’s proven to work. Commanders at Jutland still used signal flags even though they had wireless, and it was recently revealed that US nuclear operations were still being controlled using 8-inch floppy disks.
What is Command and Control?
As well as controlling forces in theatre, command and control systems are used to control all aspects of military operations, from logistics and administration to intelligence gathering and weapons guidance.
This means it covers a spread of activity, some of which needs to be accomplished much faster and under much more pressure than others. Yet it must also be done in such a way as to cope with rapid change and the effects of enemy action.
Command is generally agreed to flow from the top down, but in order to be effective, information has to be fed back to allow accurate control. One of the problems on the Western Front in WW1, for example, was that once troops had obeyed an initial command to advance, communication systems weren’t up to feeding back information on their position leading to a lack of control. When selecting command and control systems it’s important to ensure they work effectively in both directions.
Why It’s Needed
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of command and control and focus on how well it performs specific tasks, but to do that is to lose sight of its primary purpose.
Command and control is about giving the commander the ability to effectively deploy his forces in the field. While that includes keeping them adequately supplied, it also involves feeding back information to ensure that commanders have as accurate a picture as possible of what’s happening, allowing them to make decisions effectively.
In this latter respect, military systems are really no different to those in business. If they don’t provide accurate, timely information, they can’t contribute effectively to successful operations. The key measure of command and control success is whether it makes you more effective.]