Accession Number:



The Rest of the C2 Iceberg

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Perhaps nothing is more human than to assume that things easily seen are more real and important than those largely hidden from view. Take icebergs, for example. Typically, we focus on the highly visible tips of icebergs above the water s surface rather than the much larger masses of ice hidden from us under the cold, dark water. We fail to appreciate how much the tip depends on all of that mass below it in order to float and how much additional mass is hidden from our view. In many ways, it s the same story with Air Force command and control C2. Over the last couple of decades, the US Air Force has pioneered and developed a C2 enterprise for joint and coalition airpower that is rivaled by none. When we describe it, we tend to emphasize the highly visible aspects of tactical employment, like the missionpackage coordination and tactical execution activities practiced in every Red Flag exercise. As one would expect, however, there is much, much more to the C2 story in terms of who created the plan and whether it will contribute to our desired strategic outcomes. As we make difficult choices in an era of reduced resources, we must ensure that we do not lose sight of the people, processes, and ideas that help link our tactical actions to desired strategic outcomes. This article describes the foundational C2 concepts that comprise the entire C2 iceberg. After a brief discussion of the more familiar tip of the C2 iceberg, it then addresses the rest of the C2 iceberg the people, processes, and products that constitute the air tasking cycle in component major command and numbered air force headquarters. For our purposes and to suggest a useful distinction not discriminatingly demarcated in Air Force C2 doctrine the article refers to these as component headquarters command and control CHQ C2.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

Distribution Statement: