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Tactical Command and Control: Empowering Small-Unit Leadership

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Research paper

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In Operation Iraqi Freedom today, operations are small-unit fights, in which the concept of the three-block war has unfolded, and the strategic corporal is in effect. The battle of Fallujah further illustrated the asymmetric environment and urban nature of the evolving battlespace. In such an operating environment, the application of tactical C2 by small-unit leadership is a critical attribute and force multiplier for units in action. The USMC is developing a concept for distributed operations DO built upon the Marines maneuver warfare mindset to meet emerging battlefield challenges. The essence of the DO concept lies in the capacity for coordinated action by dispersed units, throughout the breadth and depth of the battlespace, ordered and connected within an operational design focused on a common aim. DO emphasizes a decentralized authority vested in junior leaders leading small and dispersed units. A key implication of DO for combat development, as highlighted by the Marines, is the enhancement of training and professional education of small-unit leaders. Hence, small-unit tactical C2 is a key enabler for DO. The ability of small-unit leaders to exercise effective C2 is essential to shape the desired outcome and success of operations in the complex warfighting environment of both today and tomorrow. Tactical C2 is the small-unit leaders solution to sense-making, decision making, and achieving the commanders intent. A tactical C2 framework for the small-unit leader, as articulated in the proposed EI2 model, is the conceptual foundation for small-unit fighting power. Tactical C2 empowers the strategic small-unit leader to utilize and integrate the other dimensions of his fighting power, to enable effective tactical actions, and to achieve decisive operational and strategic effects. It is time for a paradigm shift in thinking about what is tactical command and control for the small-unit leader.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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