Accession Number:



In Pursuit of Automated Command and Control: The Army vs. OSD

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The US Army has been trying to automate its tactical command and control process since the beginning of the last decade. Pursuit of this goal took the form of an acquisition program for the development and fielding of an integrated hardwaresoftware system designed to meet the requirements of deployed tactical units. Known as the Maneuver Control System, or MCS, this automated system, has yet to be fielded in any useful form to Army units after over 10 years of developmental effort. This paper illuminates the Department of Defense DOD acquisition process as it applies to MCS and shows how the interests of DOD officials became arrayed against Army intentions to develop and field the MCS system. Allisons bureaucratic politics model will guide the analysis and illustrate some reasons for the fielding delay. The Maneuver Control System is a software application designed to automate the command and control information process for the force level commander and his staff both in a tactical environment and in garrison. The software is designed to run units on Army standard computer hardware, itself in a parallel development effort. MCS is envisioned to gather, correlate and focus battlefield information from the five functional areas indigenous to Army operations. These functional areas are Maneuver, Fire Support, Air Defense, Intelligence, and Combat Service Support or logistics. Tactical communications links provide the connectivity between MCS computers allowing them to function in a network. be refined into a precise document describing the system requirements. This requirements document, after gaining departmental approval, must then be expanded into a technical specification, which, after solicitation, can be translated into a development contract. Once prototypes are produced, a detailed series of tests are conducted to determine if the capabilities delivered meet the system requirements.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Radio Communications

Distribution Statement: