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IRAQ: Command, Control, Conquer - The most stunning aspect of the Iraq war ....
The Daily Standard. ^ | 04/28/2003 | Christian Lowe

Posted on 04/29/2003 5:43:11 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Command, Control, Conquer
The most stunning aspect of the Iraq war may have been the Pentagon's exceptional command and control structure.
by Christian Lowe
04/28/2003 12:00:00 AM


Christian Lowe, contributing writer


WHEN IT COMES TO WEAPONRY, America's prowess is unmatched. Precision-guided bombs and missiles that can target a specific window in a specific building in downtown Baghdad have become the symbol of U.S. combat power.

But America's greatest military advantage lies in its unparalleled ability to command its forces and control them during wartime. This may sound intuitive, but a closer look reveals just how amazing the U.S.'s capability in command and control (what military types call "C2") really is. America's enemies may have weapons that can match or even beat ours in some cases. They may have systems that can counter some of our best surveillance. But no one else on the planet has the ability to keep tabs on thousands of aircraft and tens of thousands of vehicles and hundreds of thousands of troops at the same time--during battle. And no one else has the technology or the training to do this from thousands of miles away.

Consider April 1, 2003: In 24 hours, more than 1,000 air strikes were launched against strategic and tactical targets all over Iraq. In one night of operations, the Air Force controlled B-52 Stratofortress bombers, B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, and B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers--the three types of bomber aircraft in the U.S. inventory. All went to separate targets across the country and each came from bases spread throughout the world. The B-52s flew that night's mission from an air base in Britain; the B-2s likely flew from the remote Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, or from their home base in Missouri; the B-1s came from a base in the Persian Gulf. All of these sorties were meticulously planned and timed and "deconflicted" from other aircraft filling the Iraqi skies that night and U.S. troops swarming the sands below.

They were able to do it using America's technological edge in airborne C2, the workhorse E-3 Sentry Airborne Early Warning and Control plane (AWACS). Built around a Boeing 707 passenger jet, the AWACS can track and coordinate aircraft movement from more than 250 miles away, all while flying with hostilities at arm's length. Meanwhile the entire aerial ballet is commanded by air planners in a remote base in the Saudi desert. Without the AWACS, the high-tech command center, and the highly-trained airmen behind the mike, an air war this vast would have been impossible.

The C2 edge isn't confined to the air. In Iraq, ground commanders had new systems tied to GPS emitters that could track the position of friendly forces and plot those of the enemy. The system, which can be mounted in a Humvee, can be updated by anyone in the field. So if a Marine tank unit takes a bridge in al Kut, an Army unit miles away can see that they've achieved the objective, and can adjust their plans accordingly.

At sea, America's armadas bristle with radar and sensors that can track the sea and airspace for hundreds of miles. Satellite communications and relays from high-flying AWACs and the Navy's E-2C Hawkeye allow commanders to see and communicate with their units hundreds of miles ashore. No longer are Marines, SEALs or naval aviators far from help when they need it.

The Iraq war was a showcase of America's ability to strike precisely and with stunning speed. New strategies allow the military to win a war without demolishing the enemy's country and decimating its military. But none of this could have been done without the grunt work of air, land, and sea "traffic controllers." If America truly has an insurmountable edge, it's in the military's ability to coordinate and manage her vast martial resources so deftly and from such great distances.

Christian Lowe is a staff writer for Army Times Publishing and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard.

 


 


 

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TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aftermathanalysis; christianlowe; iraq; iraqifreedom; military; techindex; warlist

1 posted on 04/29/2003 5:43:11 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: *war_list; W.O.T.; *tech_index; Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; blam; Sabertooth; NormsRevenge; Gritty; ...
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
2 posted on 04/29/2003 5:46:49 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
So, we not oly have more and better equipment. We can use it more efficiently than anybody else!
3 posted on 04/29/2003 5:49:39 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
America's enemies may have weapons that can match or even beat ours in some cases. They may have systems that can counter some of our best surveillance.

I was especially impressed by the Russian GPS jammers.

4 posted on 04/29/2003 5:52:30 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Good article, thanks.

The current issue of National Review has a couple good articles along this line.

One of them explains how much easier Powell's job will be now. Our advesaries do realise that they can deal with powell or deal with Rumsfeld. Which would you choose?

5 posted on 04/29/2003 5:57:36 PM PDT by blam
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To: Dog Gone
I was especially impressed by the Russian GPS jammers.

They really helped !!! LOL!

6 posted on 04/29/2003 6:00:15 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: Dog Gone
"I was especially impressed by the Russian GPS jammers."

Signals from those GPS jammers were good homing devices for Hellfire missiles.

7 posted on 04/29/2003 6:04:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: Dog Gone
Those the US GPS guided bombs destroyed? Impressive aren't they?
8 posted on 04/29/2003 6:06:16 PM PDT by caisson71
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To: glorgau
"So, we not oly have more and better equipment. We can use it more efficiently than anybody else!"

And the thing of it is "you ain't seen nothin' yet!" is the operative word. The stuff under test and on the drawing board makes today's computer data handling look like the latest Pentium vs. the 4004 chip. The level of technology is accelerating, not holding steady.

9 posted on 04/29/2003 6:09:44 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I love reading high praise about our military!
10 posted on 04/29/2003 6:16:26 PM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in the 21st Century.)
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To: Dog Gone
I was especially impressed by the Russian GPS jammers.

Me too. I don't think NATO has a codename for those. I nominate "Quagmire."

11 posted on 04/29/2003 6:21:00 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: glorgau
Not only that, we also have the logistic to take care of it too. It would cost the world billions to even try to catch up with us, and then billions more just to be able to move it from place to place, and billions more to be able to supply their forces.

If the rest of the world wants to get into an arms race with us, they better plan on spending about 75% of their GNP on weapons systems.

12 posted on 04/29/2003 6:21:30 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: blam
Our advesaries do realise that they can deal with powell or deal with Rumsfeld. Which would you choose?

Its like the advertisement for Fram Oil Filters, when the old guy says: "You can pay me now...or pay me later.

13 posted on 04/29/2003 6:23:25 PM PDT by Go Gordon
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I get the general impression, after reading this, that our military is not something that other countries will want to mess around with.

14 posted on 04/29/2003 7:18:52 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (California wine beats French wine in blind taste tests. Boycott French wine.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I believe it was George Patton who observed that while Congress can make you a General, only the Signal Corps can make you a Commander.
15 posted on 04/29/2003 7:25:05 PM PDT by DugwayDuke
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
bump
16 posted on 04/29/2003 7:29:12 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
America...It's a good thing!
17 posted on 04/29/2003 7:41:26 PM PDT by reagan_fanatic
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To: reagan_fanatic
America...It's a good thing!

Agreed.

18 posted on 04/29/2003 7:47:36 PM PDT by Entropy Squared
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To: glorgau
"So, we not oly have more and better equipment. We can use it more efficiently than anybody else!"

But not for long. Remember, we may not be the world's most powerful country very long. Especially if the dems get their way. We need to let China take a turn, then Zimbabwe, then Haiti, then Andorra, then St. Peter & Paul's Rocks...then Paris.
19 posted on 04/29/2003 7:55:31 PM PDT by lawdude
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To: Dark Wing
book mark
20 posted on 04/29/2003 8:18:53 PM PDT by Dark Wing
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Ladies and Gentlemen, The E-3:


21 posted on 04/29/2003 8:22:45 PM PDT by Gamecock (5 SOLAS)
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To: Gamecock
That's a good picture -- thanks.
22 posted on 04/29/2003 8:30:37 PM PDT by 68skylark
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To: Dog Gone
I was especially impressed by the Russian GPS jammers.

Yeah, that and the psychological warfare operations from the Ministery of Information.

23 posted on 04/29/2003 8:32:36 PM PDT by 68skylark
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
In short, we know how to lift the fog of war.
24 posted on 04/29/2003 11:34:16 PM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: Gamecock
Nice picture!
25 posted on 04/30/2003 11:15:28 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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