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Re-Conceptualizing Command and Control

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Journal Article

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Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine Toronto Canada

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It seems ironic that an organization like the military can contribute to a languages lexicon, and yet not use this lexicon consistently in its own day-to-day activities. The terms command, control , and command and control i.e., C2 area case in point. These terms are recognizably military, and are well-entrenched in the militarys doctrinal and operational vocabulary.1 Yet the manner in which these terms are used, as well as the circumstances of their usage, varies with confusing complexity. For example, some branches of the military endorse the concept of mission command, others endorse a philosophy of centralized control and decentralized execution, while in other services the notion of network-centric C2 is prominent.2 NATO employs a dizzying array of C2 nomenclature and authorities OPCON, TACOM, full command, etc.3And if we look for help from official definitions of Command, Control and C2 e.g., those of NATO, we find that the definitions themselves are circular and redundant. The command definition makes use of the word control, the control definition uses concepts that are part of the definition of command, and the definition of C2 is merely a longer restatement of the definition of control.4

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