Accession Number:

ADA464899

Title:

Operation Anaconda: Command and Control through VTC

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2005-02-14

Pagination or Media Count:

24.0

Abstract:

Before the video-teleconference came into use, operational level commanders often relied on personal observations to make decisions. Commanders personally observed their subordinates actions and were able to gain a feel for the battlefield. Advanced information technology has changed the way operational commanders communicate with subordinates. Face-to-face meetings and personal observations have largely been replaced by video-teleconferences VTC. While in use for many years, Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF and Operation Enduring Freedom OEF ushered in the first widespread use of the VTC as a Command and Control C2 system. Many strategic and operational commanders have come to rely heavily on VTCs, almost to the exclusion of other forms of communication. Operation Anaconda conducted in OEF provides a good illustration of a breakdown in communication between two critical components due to an over-reliance on VTCs. VTCs, while offering significant capabilities, have inherent limitations as a C2 system that must be appreciated by operational commanders to ensure success. The over-reliance on VTCs in Operation Anaconda at the expense of personal face-to-face interaction degraded General Tommy Franks ability to gage his subordinates level of understanding. Component staffs came to rely solely on VTCs for coordination to the exclusion of message traffic. As a result, components developed different perspectives concerning Anaconda. Additionally, component commanders relied heavily on their staffs for coordination and did not communicate personally with each other. These communication breakdowns contributed to many of the problems in the operation. The enemy in Operation Anaconda lacked the ability to exploit mistakes resulting from poor coordination. Nonetheless, these types of mistakes may prove to be disastrous against a formidable opponent in the future.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Radio Communications
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE