DROP ZONE: Joint Command and Control

“What’s after joint?” – Gen Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a speech to the Military Education Coordination Council

Next week, in an effort to answer that question, OTH presents an interview with Mr. Michael T. McCarthy, a Department of the Army civilian currently serving as Chief, LANDWARNET Division of Capabilities Development Directorate within the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia. In the interview, he outlines the challenges and opportunities facing the Services regarding the ability of commanders at all echelons to request and receive the information they require to make decisions within the enemy’s decision cycle.

“Jointness” is a concept that has proven elusive to realize, particularly more so in procurement processes and technological dispersal. Services and coalition partners, engaging in like activities, often in close proximity, and with the identical equipment, fail to interoperate due different crypto and bandwidth standards. The US and its allies seek improved interoperability, shared use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the ability to synchronize effects across multiple domains. To meet this, our Services need to mature and lead the drive to Jointness, both across the DOD and the complex American alliance system.

Mr. McCarthy focuses on this transition to a mature C4ISR architecture, highlighting some of the necessary steps the Services need to take to ensure the next-generation Mission Command systems provide the capabilities required to accelerate our decision cycle and exploit a superior understanding of an adversary’s intent. This will enable the Joint Force to interrupt the adversary’s ability to understand, communicate, and execute its own operations. Ultimately, next-generation Mission Command systems are essential to effective multi-domain decision-making.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

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