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Jean-Pierre Lutz

December 2005

Jean-Pierre Lutz is program manager of Overwatch Systems FCS development.

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Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, And Reconnaissance

"The goal of Army Operations will be to simultaneously attack critical targets throughout the area of opera- tions by rapid maneuver in multiple dimensions and precision fires. ... Improvements in situational under- standing will facilitate extremely rapid, noncontiguous decentralized operations." -Field Manual-1

Once fielded, the fully networked command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities of Future Combat Systems (FCS) will enable the Army's larger, more powerful, flexible and more rapidly deployable modern force to fight in an extremely rapid, noncontiguous decentralized manner. Building upon lessons learned and employing the most advanced technology available from the best of industry, FCS will implement a highly progressive C4ISR architecture that unites the many functions of battlespace command. Enabling this advanced capability is the ongoing FCS development of battle command systems, networked communications, sensors and integrated computers. The system will offer a collaborative information environment that will be rich in relevant intelligence tailored to the needs of multiple echelons and soldiers' roles, while seamlessly intertwining advanced technologies in a manner transparent to the warfighter. It will use a performance-optimized capacity to process data efficiently and provide a comprehensive capacity to transfer information wherever it must go in the battlespace. The C4ISR network will facilitate improved situational awareness, real time sensor-to-shooter linkages, increased synergy between echelons and within small units and greater flexibility in unit of action (UA) command.

Today's warfighter has been introduced to numerous technological advances which have been developed over recent years to enhance command and control (C2). While there have been clear benefits from each of these stand- alone systems, the inability to efficiently integrate these individual solutions has frustrated many soldiers.

FCS will network and integrate the many Army C2functions into one seamless system. Tasks like mission planning, platform and soldier logistics management, battle- space analysis, collaboration, fires and effects control and network management will all be coupled. The C2 applications are being developed simultaneously, enabling full interaction among the FCS-equipped units of action. Therefore, as battlespace details change, the networked system will propagate updates relevant for a given role or echelon to ensure warfighters have the most current, pertinent information available. The C2 capabilities will be common and integrated, and will achieve the long-desired goal of an integrated and interoperable system with no hardware, software or information stovepipes.

This transparent linking of information will enable greater battlespace awareness at all echelons. Historically, C2 was limited to battalion level and higher. FCS pushes the C2 ability down to the individual soldier level. This fundamental change in capability will better enable the UA commander to progress from a constrained C2methodology to a more fluid and agile mission command style of leadership. The FCS family-of-systems will be connected to the C4ISR network by a multilayered communications and computers (CC) network with unprecedented range, capacity and dependability. This network will provide secure, reliable access to information sources over extended distances and complex terrain. The network will support advanced functionalities, such as integrated network management, information assurance and information dissemination management, to ensure distribution of critical information among sensors, processors and warfighters both within and external to the FCS-equipped organization.

The CC network will not require a large and separate infrastructure because it will be embedded in the mobile platforms and move with the combat formations.

The FCS communication network will be composed of several homogeneous communication systems such as joint tactical radio system Clusters 1 and 5 with wideband network waveform and soldier radio waveform, network data link and warfighter information network-tactical. FCS will use all available resources to provide a robust, survivable, scalable and reliable heterogeneous communications network to seamlessly integrate ground, near-ground, airborne and space-borne assets for constant connectivity and layered redundancy.

The FCS integrated computing system (ICS) will provide an integrated common operating environment to manage processing, security and local area network infrastructures for dynamic networks on the move. This hardware will support battle command applications, sensor processing, and communications, weapons and platform management in a single computing environment. Its embedded security and safety will assure a secure operating environment with certified firewall and network intrusion protection. The commonality of the ICS across FCS platforms will reduce life-cycle costs and size, weight and power requirements significantly over designs currently in use.

Organic to FCS, a distributed and networked array of multispectral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors will provide the UAwith the ability to see first. The ISR assets within the UA, as well as those external to the UAand at higher echelons, will provide for timely and accurate situational awareness (SA), enhanced survivability, precision networked fires and continuously maintained contact throughout engagement. FCS will process real time ISR data, blue force identification and SA data to update a common operating picture containing in- formation on friendly forces, battlespace objects (BSOs), BSO groupings and their associated intent, threat potential and vulnerabilities.

In the past, sensors were optimized for individual platforms; situational awareness was conducted at the platform level but it was not shared with those beyond the platform. The power of FCS will lie in the network and its ability to increase warfighters' situational understanding so that they can see what's happening anywhere on the battlefield. In addition, the network will have the capability to heal itself. If one sensor goes down, warfighters will be able to rely on another sensor's data to perform missions.

Tapping into powerful technology such as multifunction radar, electro-optical, infrared, acoustic, radio frequency, millimeter wave, laser, magnetic, chemical-biological and others, the new sensors will protect the Army's warfighters and put unparalleled resources in their hands.

With FCS, the Army will acquire 21st-century technology for the 21st-century warfighter. With this singular networked system of sensors, communications, battle command and computational power, soldiers will be able to see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively.

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