Army Scrambles to Make Command Posts Survivable.

Author:Magnuson, Stew
 
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*The Army sees its tactical command posts as a major battlefield vulnerability as potential adversaries become better at locating and destroying them.

"If our tactical command posts can be found, then they can be killed," Lt. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, Army chief information officer, said at the Association of the United States Army's annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The Russian military's ability to quickly find and destroy Ukrainian command posts made that manifest, Crawford acknowledged. Other nations may have the same ability, although Crawford declined to name them.

Command posts must be more survivable and mobile, the Army has concluded. Currently, peer competitors would be able to easily locate a command post through its electromagnetic signals, or even signatures given off by power generators.

"They have gone to school on us," Crawford said. "They have developed capability that put us at significant risk if we don't make investments now to mitigate those risks."

Rivals have improved their ability to not only find these command posts, but to quickly link their sensors to shooters, dramatically reducing the kill chain timeline, he said.

"As we currently operate them, they are not adequately mobile and if you examine closely the electro-magnetic signatures of our command posts, they are not survivable," he said.

The Army, at the direction of Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, is being ordered to prepare for battles in multiple domains, including land, sea and air as well as the electromagnetic spectrum and cyber space. The latter two have the service particularly worried as they can be used to degrade or cut off command and control on the battlefield.

Tactical command posts are not intended to sit in one location for long periods, but that is what happened over the last 16 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan where they became fixed on forward operating bases, Army officials have said. The relatively unsophisticated adversaries the Army faces there don't pose a serious threat to the posts.

Command posts are essential, according to Army documents. Mounted and dismounted leaders at the brigade level require the tactical network to quickly and accurately communicate with higher headquarters, subordinates and soldiers. Leaders must also be close to the action, so placing them out of harm's way is not an option.

"The commander must be able to position himself forward with a command group in the area of operations to gain understanding...

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