Command And Control In Military Operations

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Command and control encompasses all military functions and operations, giving them meaning and harmonizing them into a meaningful whole. No function would be purposeful without command and control. Command and control is not the business of specialists—unless the commander is considered a specialist—because command and control is fundamentally the business of the commander (U.S. Joint Publication 1-02). Command and control is the means by which a commander recognizes what needs to be done and sees to it that appropriate actions are taken. Sometimes this recognition takes the form of a conscious command decision—as in deciding on a concept of operations. Sometimes it takes the form of a preconditioned reaction—as in immediate-action drills,…show more content…
A complex system is any system composed of multiple parts, each of which must act individually according to its own circumstances and which, by so acting, changes the circumstances affecting all the other parts. A battle between two military forces is itself a complex system (Waldrop, 1992; Lewin, 1992; Kelly, 1994). The fundamental point is that any military action, by its very nature a complex system, will exhibit messy, unpredictable, and often chaotic behavior that defies orderly, efficient, and precise control. The approach to command and control must find a way to cope with this inherent complexity. While a machine operator may be in control of the machine, it is difficult to imagine any commander being in control of a complex phenomenon like war. This view of command and control as a complex system characterized by reciprocal action and feedback has several important features which distinguish it from the typical view of command and control and which are central to our approach. First, this view recognizes that effective command and control must be sensitive to changes in the situation. This view sees the military organization as an open system, interacting with its surroundings (especially the enemy), rather than as a closed system focused on internal efficiency. An effective command and control system provides the means to adapt to changing conditions. Thus command and control can be viewed as a…show more content…
The first element of command and control is people—people who gather information, make decisions, take action, communicate, and cooperate with one another in the accomplishment of a common goal. People drive the command and control system and the rest of the system exists only to serve them. The aim of command and control is not to eliminate or lessen the role of people or to make people act like robots, but rather to help them perform better. An effective command and control system must account for the characteristics and limits of human nature and at the same time exploit and enhance uniquely human skills. The second element of command and control is information, which refers to representations of reality which is used to to give form and character to decisions and actions. Information is the words, letters, numbers, images, and symbols we use to represent things, events, ideas, and values. In one way or another, command and control is essentially about information: getting it, judging its value, processing it into useful form, acting on it, sharing it with others. Information is how the material world is given structure and shape, and it thus allows giving meaning to and gaining understanding of the events and conditions which surround us. In a very broad sense, information is a control parameter: it allows us to provide control or structure to our

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