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[infowar.de] USA: Commanders emphasize C4ISR
Commanders emphasize C4ISR
BY Dan Caterinicchia
March 14, 2003
Leaders of three joint, global commands explained how vital C4ISR
systems are to the Defense Department's success and called on lawmakers
to ensure that those programs continue to receive funding in the future.
In March 13 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the
leaders of the Pacific, Southern and United Nations commands, outlined
how critical the continued development of command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
(C4ISR) systems is in the global war on terrorism and future conflicts.
"Over the past three years, improving the C4 posture in the Pacific has
been a top [Pacific Command] priority and still is one of the most
critical challenges we face today," said Pacom commander Navy Adm.
Thomas Fargo, whose authority encompasses 102 million square miles and
about 220,000 combined military and civilian staff. "The C4
infrastructure must be continually sustained and protected. We've
invested heavily in command and control systems and equipment,
communication devices, and computers across the command. We do this
because our current and future requirements demand that we do."
Army Gen. James Hill, commander of Southern Command, which is
responsible for 32 countries in Central and South America and the
Caribbean, agreed but said his current C4 infrastructure "lacks the
flexibility to execute the assigned mission due to over-reliance on
inadequate commercial communications systems, limited communications
bandwidth, and fragmented operations and maintenance support."
"Consequently, Southern Command is unable to effectively and efficiently
support a counterdrug mission simultaneously with another contingency
operation such as antiterrorism, noncombatant evacuation, migrant
operations, disaster relief or defense of the Panama Canal," said Hill,
who assumed his post seven months ago. "Since existing military systems
alone are insufficient, it is my intention to transform, expand and
maintain a cost-effective, efficient, centrally managed and robust
infrastructure that supports the theater security cooperation strategy."
That strategy includes counterterrorism operations, regional engagement,
crisis response and counterdrug missions. Southern Command is partnering
with the Defense Information Systems Agency and the State Department's
Diplomatic Telecommunications Service Program Office to explore
commercial alternatives, including fiber-optic communication links, for
improving C4 effectiveness throughout the region, he said.
Army Gen. Leon LaPorte, commander of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces
Command, U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations Command, said
increasing C4ISR functionality and interoperability, including an
enhanced common operational picture, is one of his top priorities for
"Over the last year, we have created a combined common operational
picture that integrates Republic of Korea unmanned aerial vehicles,
tactical data links from both Republic of Korea and U.S. air and naval
vessels, and live video feeds from throughout the theater," LaPorte
said. "We seek to expand these capabilities by adding logistics and
engineering common operational picture currently under development at
Joint Forces Command."
LaPorte thanked the senators for their support thus far, but said the
common operational picture "is built on an aging communications
infrastructure that is increasingly expensive to maintain," and that
* Improved secure digital networks.
* Collaborative planning tools.
* Enhanced interoperability.
All three commanders agreed that enhanced C4ISR systems would help DOD
intelligence gatherers and analysts to do their jobs better and faster.
"Many folks envision large volumes of information as pages and pages of
text messages, which can overwhelm users and result in 'information
overload,'" Fargo said. "Instead, we are talking about maximum use of
multimedia such as video, shared applications through collaboration
software and high-resolution imagery. Through these types of tools, our
operators can digest more information and we can collectively move
toward a more knowledge-based environment."
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