Persistent Surveillance and Its Implications
for the Common Operating Picture
The idea of persistent surveillance as a transformational
capability has circulated within the national intelligence community
and the Department of Defense (DOD) for at least 3 years.1
Persistent surveillance, also known as persistent intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); persistent stare; and pervasive
knowledge of the adversary, is an often-used term to describe the
need for and application of future ISR capabilities to qualitatively
transform intelligence support to operational and tactical commands.2
The idea surfaces in many forms, including defense program reviews
and congressional testimony.3 Each expression
envisions a system achieving near-perfect knowledge and removing
uncertainty in war.
Persistence means that when global, theater,
or local reconnaissance finds something of intelligence or actionable
interest, ISR systems, including processing and analytic systems,
maintain constant, enduring contact with the target. This increases
understanding about the target, which enables a faster decision
cycle at all levels of command and supports the application of precision
force to achieve desired effects.
Persistent surveillance integrates the human
component and various technologies and processes across formerly
stovepiped domains; it is not a permanent stare from space or from
airborne imagery platforms. In essence, the targeted entity will
be unable to move, hide, disperse, deceive, or otherwise break contact
with the focused intelligence system. Once achieved, persistent
ISR coverage will, in theory, deny the adversary sanctuary, enabling
coherent decision-making and action with reduced risk.
Persistent surveillance in its objective form
does not exist today; it is still a concept, albeit a promising
one. The promise of a persistent ISR system is to create transformational
conditions for acting against the adversary within the battlespace.
Whether or not nearly perfect knowledge is possible across multidimensional
battlespaces with multivariant actors is a contextual and situational
question. Even so, persistent surveillance will increase knowledge
and the speed with which the knowledge is shared and understood
at all levels of command, provided the system is developed in a
holistic manner that addresses human, organizational, and technological
aspects of the strategy.
Will Persistent Surveillance Change Battle
Integrating persistent surveillance with an
Information Age common operating picture (COP) will dramatically
increase the potential to transform warfighting and peace management.
Continuous sensing of the battlespace; a fundamental reordering
of information distribution; and advanced, integrated sensemaking
will create asymmetric advantages for the United States. Recognizing
the global nature of the protracted challenges we face, a coherent
national defense system must embrace a new means of control, one
that can reorder information flow and move actionable intelligence
and analysis directly to the individual level.
Persistent surveillance represents a qualitative
change in the content and delivery of intelligence to those at the
operational and tactical levels of war, a change that increases
the speed of decision-making across all battlespace domains and
at all levels of conflict, thus multiplying the options for applying
both kinetic and nonkinetic force.4
The qualitative change will evolve with and leverage a revolution
in intelligence affairs.5
With persistent surveillance, sequential analytic
and distribution rules become obsolete. Higher echelon analysts
will no longer get the data first, but in parallel with users, including
those at the lowest levels of organizations. Analysts will not simply
send reports to those they believe require the information; rather,
the end user will define the information required, demand it, and
be able to create the knowledge directly. Users will define information
requirements based on specific decision-making needs and planning
horizons. Serialized reports will become secondary; collaboration
and a focus on user real-time support will become primary. Networking
tools will connect analysts with other analysts, analysts with end
users, and end users with other end users. A "smart" pull
system will support all entities on the network, and lower level
users will access relevant data as it is generated in real time.6
Advanced preprocessing tools will support the user immediately in
a variety of user-defined, immediately usable formats-all done in
parallel to other networked users.
The Essence of Persistent Surveillance
The essence of persistent surveillance is to
use enterprise systems to detect, collect, disseminate, and characterize
activity in the battlespace. The recognition of anomalies or change
measured against an established baseline will prompt action from
decisionmakers. Persistent surveillance has three core components:
• Multimode and multidimensional continuous
collection across all battlespace environments (sensing).
• Near-real-time data and knowledge distribution
via enterprise systems with tailored, user-defined presentation
• Horizontal integration of data and
advanced, distributed analytics (sensemaking and understanding).
(See figure 1.)
Persistent surveillance will create enterprise
(intelligence) data and understanding to support an extended operational
enterprise. "Enterprise data," "enterprise systems,"
and "extended enterprise" are information-management concepts
emerging from the increased capacity of digitized information and
distribution networks, namely the World Wide Web, virtual private
networks, and industry intranets.7 These
concepts allow simultaneous access and use of enterprise data generated
from internal and external organizational environments, enabling
a friendly networked element to leverage knowledge rapidly at the
point of competition.
Examples of enterprise systems include mobile,
networked sales representatives leveraging dynamic sales and inventory
data to make pricing decisions when negotiating with current or
future customers; air traffic controllers collaboratively assessing
severe weather effects on regional airports, then making rerouting
decisions and impact assessments in near real time; and point-of-sale
transaction systems with above-normal sales levels generating a
supply-chain response to restock shelves quickly at local stores
without requiring unnecessary human intervention, thus reducing
The new rules firmly acknowledge the need to
maintain persistent coverage capability against all threats, whether
they are nation-state, non-nationstate, or transnational. This capabilities-based
approach, unlike the Cold War threat-based approach to designing
defense systems, recognizes the requirement to wage war and peace
at the individual human or "entity" level, a re-conception
that transforms the reconnaissance paradigm of snapshot views and
periodic samplings. Persistent surveillance means longer term collection
on a target to completely understand a problem. This change will
provide more data and continuity to analysts and warfighters.8
ISR logic co-evolved with that of our enemies
during the Cold War. The new logic evolved after 9/11 as a "new
rule set" for success against a massively distributed, decentralized
Implications for the COP
The integrating mechanism to create a complete
capability is the COP, "a single identical display of relevant
information shared by more than one command."9
The COP is also an enterprise information system, supporting an
extended operational enterprise beyond DOD.
In a highly distributed information environment,
a single COP display might remain appropriate if the information
distribution moved hierarchically and the information remained static
for periods of time. However, the single identical display creates
its own problems when the future COP becomes a real-time enterprise
information system supported by a continuous-data environment. Single
identical displays are less useful than displays created dynamically
for specific missions and domain views of the battlespace. As the
Joint Forces Command study on the collaborative information environment
(CIE) finds, collaboration capabilities allow users to tailor COP
displays yet maintain common, relevant aspects of the operational
picture.10 The study also finds that
a realtime environment significantly increases the COP's value if
the user can define and dynamically tailor the views.11
The key word is "if." We must transition to a COP with
a dynamic tailoring capability to support real-time operating requirements
and future planning requirements.
The COP must enable adaptive planning across
planning horizons to achieve coherent, systemic effects. Complex
systems survive by anticipating the future.12
A transparent, tailored, integrated COP supports this anticipatory
function. Each domain and level of war has echelons and suborganizations
regardless of how flat a networked force becomes. Each level must
operate within the appropriate time horizon. Parallel levels of
war and parallel domains must remain nested in purpose, and enterprise
behaviors are driven by intent. Effects can transit multiple domains
and levels of war instantaneously, so purposeful adaptations through
effects-planning must be thoroughly integrated.
Platoons, squads, and individual actors focus
on real-time execution. Higher, more complex organizations focus
on setting conditions for the future. Companies and battalions live
in the near future, 12 to 48 hours ahead of the adversary's decision
cycles. Brigades and divisions might live in the 48- to 96hour future.
Joint task forces and national decision-makers must create advantageous
conditions beyond the 96-hour mark.13
With a coherent, COP-enabled view of the planning horizon and persistent
surveillance of adversary systemic changes, tempo control and effects-sequencing
will provide the desired shaping and battlespace depth that units
need to conduct operations. Enterprise planning systems help produce
Examples of enterprise planning systems integrated
with real-time data and anticipated change include the National
Weather Service, which uses real-time weather data and advanced
simulations to anticipate hurricane effects so local officials can
issue alerts, conduct highway traffic flow analysis, and establish
evacuation priorities. The U.S. Forest Service uses real-time weather
data and forest fire simulation models to dynamically adjust its
assets and plan with far greater insight about the scope and emerging
conditions of a problem. Wal-Mart uses environmental, social, and
cultural data to forecast and adjust inventories.14
By identifying and generating options, anticipatory planning can
streamline the decision cycle.
Developing and supporting proactive, option-seeking
behaviors and exploitation-capable frameworks is difficult under
current ordered, linear, deliberate planning constructs. In today's
process- and plan-centric execution models, commanders often become
prescriptive in intent, creating reactive tactical plans because
of the perceived need to plan in detail for anticipated conditions.
Rapidly shifting enablers across dispersed battlefields is problematic
and adaptation is slow, especially at the operational level. Ordered,
mechanistic, linear thinking limits the ability to capitalize on
options and exploit new conditions created at the tactical level.
Deviations from the anticipated, and an appreciation of new, unpredicted,
and continually emerging circumstances, led Prussian General Helmuth
Von Moltke the Elder, to view strategy as a system of expedients
(options) and to caution that plans should only go as far as the
first encounter with the enemy.15
Commander's critical information requirements
(CCIR) filter information and allow humans to better synthesize
it to support decision-making. Decisions are forecast in advance,
often based on assumptions. Where information systems find and report
the required elements to support CCIR, other information, which
could lead to new, improved decisions and superior execution, often
falls outside the scope of "the plan" and is not seized
on. For all the commander's admonishments to "fight the enemy,
not the plan," staffs often present only information that supports
or denies the plan's key elements. Brigadier General Huba Wass de
Czege writes: "Anticipatory planning and adaptive execution
can address the unpredictable will of the enemy and the chance factors
which make forecasting the future difficult regardless of how much
information we possess. . . . The object is to achieve sound, adaptable,
simple and decisive plans based on the best available information,
understood and coordinated . . . so that vigorous teamwork can produce
the desired results. . . . Shared understanding and anticipatory
planning combine to produce adaptive execution, which is the systemic
ability to adapt plans to emerging situations in time to ensure
continuous deliberate operations. . . . New planning and execution
systems will be needed to implement this process.16
An execution-centric model with real-time intelligence
to identify and predict changes in enemy systems will create new
information, reduce operational risk, and enable bold option exploitation.
U.S. Army Field Manual 6-0, Mission Command: Command and Control
of Army Forces, which calls such information exceptional information,
states: "Exceptional information is specific and immediately
vital information that directly affects the success of the current
operation. It would have been one of the CCIR if it had been foreseen;
it is therefore treated as one of the CCIR. Exceptional information
usually results [from] discovering something unanticipated about
an enemy. It allows the commander to take advantage of an unexpected
opportunity. . . ."17
Exceptional information increases when persistent
surveillance capabilities integrate into the COP, particularly as
near-real-time effects-sensing generates feedback. Enemy system
adaptations become more clearly identified. An operational paradox
emerges, however, because tightly coupled, detailed elements (the
basis for synchronization) often make large shifts in execution
The multiple, simultaneous, distributed, decentralized
nature of combat operations that joint operating concepts describe
requires commander-led, execution-centric planning. Collaboration
tools in a CIE allow parallel planning to move away from the ordered,
timeline-sequenced actions described in Joint Publication 5-0, Doctrine
for Planning Joint Operations.18 After-action
reviews from Operation Iraqi Freedom indicate Force XXI Battle Command
System Brigade and Below's collaborative capabilities are already
supporting moves in this direction. Executing multiple, simultaneous,
distributed, decentralized actions requires relevant operational
information fusion across all levels of command and in presentation
formats accessible to all, including multiagency, civil, and coalition
Reordering Information Distribution
With persistent surveillance, information pathways
will move information directly to collaborative users (rather than
through successive headquarters) and empower all echelons, given
the right tailoring of the COP. Real-time data distribution will
transform all previous information-control mechanisms across the
joint force and its partners.19 An
enterprise COP means "exclusivity of data is not the defining
attribute of decision."20 An extended
operational enterprise relies on multiple, decentralized, and distributed
actors to achieve its purpose.
The agent or actor is any individual, individual
element, or entity that can interact with its environment to create
effects against other actors and the environment.21
From a single rifleman to a Tomahawk missile, from a policeman to
a Computer Emerging Response Team, agents exist throughout the domains
of conflict and levels of war, all interacting to create effects
across each domain and level of war.22
Under current information dissemination architectures,
the means of control coexists with levels of command. To synchronize
action at the various levels of war, information is rationalized
and integrated with direct, centralized command guidance. With an
enterprise data-generation system, including direct dissemination
capabilities, COP control parameters must change. Control mechanisms
remain the means of regulating behavior, as they always will, but
in the 21st-century COP, they will move from centralized command
nodes to distributed processing nodes, which become Knowledge Advantage
KACs enhance self-organization, self-synchronization,
and self-empowerment down to the lowest levels. The Army endorses
this in the "2003 Transformation Roadmap": "A focal
point of DOD's thrust to fully exploit network-centric warfare is
the development of persistent surveillance. In support to this goal,
the Army will develop supporting persistent surveillance capabilities
throughout the global battlespace. This provides the commander near
continuous access to the priority intelligence targets. The objective
is to develop network-sensing suites that tailor their observations
to the adversary's rate of activity. The goal is to combine the
broad spectrum of current and future sensors into an effective intelligence
tool that is geared to the activity of an adversary. The amassed
information is input into an Internet protocol where it is universally
available to all warfighters. This approach involves a paradigm
shift in how raw data is entered into the network. Instead of analysts
processing raw data into information for input into the network,
the raw data will be placed on the network for empowered users to
exploit for their own particular requirements. The decision on what
is important moves from the entity that captures or analyzes the
data to the person who uses it" [emphasis added].24
Animated and three-dimensional presentation
will allow users to understand specific mission sets and effects-generation.
Current tools, such as Topscene and Falcon View, allow combined
domain views, such as a synthesis of terrain data with the infrastructure
views of the signal or information environment. Future tools will
increase the value of enterprise data, creating an even greater
ability to perceive each domain's dynamic environment.
Right now, the logic driving most service and
joint ISR is the Cold War reconnaissance paradigm: periodic, linear
snapshots and samplings.25 The logic
reflects the adaptations and co-evolutions of the past and is increasingly
inadequate for the future. (See figure 2 for a summary of the differences
between the reconnaissance paradigm and the persistence paradigm.)
We must consider the emergence of persistent
surveillance in the context of future combat and national-security
capabilities, and as such, persistent surveillance should be nested
in the higher operational capability it serves. Form follows function.
The guiding vision-a globally coherent national-security system-requires
a coherent operational system to exercise all elements of national
Distributed Effects Over Time
With decision distribution, operational art
becomes a fully collaborative exchange, and leaders and planning
staffs primarily focus on operational tempo, set conditions through
anticipation, and describe desired effects. In the past, effects
ran concurrently with battlefield actions, but distributed, decentralized
operations create asynchronous effects. Tempo control and effects-linkages
across the levels and domains of war affect the adversary in time
and space. For example, logistics preparation and movement of actors
are often indicators and precursors of action. With persistent surveillance,
we identify enemy precursors and act on them in a greater variety
of ways. We might delay or prevent collusion, seize key assets or
finances, or deny commercial transportation means. Each action increases
friction and reduces the enemy's operational capacity, which creates
an internal focus that continuously forces him to adjust his plans.
We achieve a temporal advantage by creating deep, systemic effects.
Tempo control becomes the most important element of operational
An integrated COP environment supported by
persistent surveillance will enable commanders to create tempo through
effects planning. Control will be indirect. Commanders will direct
KACs to alter mission parameters and effects sequences. Mission
formation will take less time because key players will collaborate
to construct effects elements in each domain and level of war. Collaboration
begins with a shared understanding of the commander's effects-based
intent.26 The objective must be clearly
defined. Lack of purpose to provide context to an effects-based
intent results in incoherence.
Mission command at lower levels will be established
through self-regulating behaviors and self-organization, all related
to mission purpose and clear intent. Rule sets will outline a maximum-minimum
behavior set to follow.27 A commander
then takes in information, makes judgments, and directs subordinates
as situations change. In a distributed-enterprise COP, a commander's
direct intervention will be greatly reduced because subordinate
actors and systems will collaborate to generate desired effects.
Commanders will lead from the center of the network (rather than
from the top as in a hierarchical organizational structure), provide
umbrellas of enabling resources, and ensure freedom of action. The
commander will also fight to extend the view deeper into the battlespace
so he can determine how to shape the environment and create broader
options. Self-synchronizing actions will occur in parallel, distributed
operations in each domain and at each level of war, but even in
execution-centric environments, purpose remains the most important
Coherence of action and continuous operations
will require a program-management mindset and a long-term view of
decisive operating advantages and conditions, not a project-management
mindset focused on producing activities of transitory usefulness
that support a single end state. Coherence will come from correct
effects design (supporting a larger purpose) and tailored information
distribution, not direct controls over single actors.
Because of a lowering of what constitutes the
operational level of war, lower level actors will face diverse response
requirements as they integrate with other actors in the battlefield.
Today's battalion commanders often deal directly with non-DOD elements
in ways a corps commander might have 15 years ago. As one senior
joint force commander emphasized: "There are nearly 30 interagency
elements operating in Iraq today."29
A senior Army commander added: "[There is] only [an] illusion
of control. Consider the integrated operations of SOF [special operations
forces], Interagency, Coalition and [nongovernmental operations];
[military commanders] don't really own it [their battlespace]-this
is real."30 What the contributing
effects are, or should be, must begin with a common understanding
of the adversary as a system.31 Coherence
includes purposeful combinations of kinetic force, arrests or seizure
of material and funds, nonkinetic efforts through computer-network
operations or the initiation of public diplomacy, and messages disseminated
through global media to shape perceptions. Some actions might not
be military in nature, but military commanders might coordinate
and develop plans for nonmilitary actors to execute in order to
create necessary effects. Such actions might include acting through
interagency partners and nongovernmental actors, with or without
attribution to the military command.32
The Major Combat Operations-Joint Operating Concept states that
joint force commanders will find themselves increasingly engaged
in peer leadership outside the organizations they command and control.33
Lower echelon commanders will find themselves in similar situations
as their forces increasingly act in complex environments as we prosecute
the Global War on Terrorism.34 In short,
the need to create unity of purpose and coherence of all effects
in the operational environment has expanded. Each effect adds to
the desired outcome, creates continuous pressure, and changes the
enemy's decision cycles. Moreover, because of an increased ability
to identify key relationships and vulnerabilities across an enemy's
global operating systems, effects might be initiated in many operational
areas that create desired effects in others, and vice versa.35
A COP supported by distributed persistent surveillance
is also likely to support actions against precursor behaviors, adversarial
collusion, and physical or virtual node associations. Cumulative
effects can preempt or diffuse conditions requiring lethal force.
By denying the enemy opportunities, we also deny him key conditions
for success.36 Effects-based operations
are outcome-based and do not depend on a particular organization
to generate input. In the past, the focus of intelligence was on
named areas of interest, a term nearly meaningless in a persistent
surveillance paradigm. The new term is "named relationships
of interest." As the enterprise mind gets stronger, we become
increasingly able to predict events, our actions become more preventive,
and we reduce the use of lethal force.
Magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) is a form
of persistent surveillance in the medical field. Affordable scanning
has produced more frequent imaging and improved the evidentiary
base that, in turn, has allowed case-based reasoning and inference
models with which doctors could compare a single patient's results
to previous scans as well as anomalies to the base. As the data
built a greater understanding of the disease, doctors could identify
precursor attributes leading to definitive cause and effect linkage.
As a result, preventive medicine and treatment options grew tremendously.
More effective use of medicines and chemotherapy (nonkinetic treatments)
led to increased survival rates. With image-guided surgery, doctors
could operate with more precision, because MRI devices scan in real
time during surgery (kinetic treatment).37
The COP should allow a similarly precise and effective use of force
across the battlespace.
Exploitation is an operational term. In the
past, cavalry created the next battle and exploited success. In
the Napoleonic era, there was no deep cavalry because there was
no next battle. Industrial Age commanders formed cavalry when they
realized that a single, "decisive" battle would not end
a war. Now we see continuous operations and global (small-unit)
battles. In the future, the cavalry might not exist as an organization,
but as a global sensing system of systems; that is, as persistent
surveillance and agents conducting exploitation operations.38
However, just as cavalry reporting is not perfect, neither is persistent
Persistent surveillance will enable the Joint
Operations Concept's (JOpsC) attributes and result in new organization,
strategy, and authority distribution.39
Leaders, actors, and agents will adapt through training, simulation,
and experiential learning to create new operational values and cultures.
Perhaps the most significant noninformation technology-related effect
from integrating the emergent persistent surveillance capability
into the COP will be on human capital and security organization
design. Rethinking training models, leadership skills, and retention
requirements, and better leveraging of individual experiential factors,
will help achieve the broad security and operational goals JOpsC
Training. We must incorporate collaborative
problemsolving and simulation to reinforce recognition-primed decision-making
at platoon, squad, and team levels. We must use physical and virtual
scenarios with dynamic mission changes, rule sets, and authority
modifications as scenarios unfold and distribute changes to the
force through individualized COPs. Physical-skills training for
close-combat operations should incorporate real-time COP feeds and
advanced technologies as soon as spiral insertions allow, as we
practice connecting soldiers and entities to the network. Training
should reinforce adaptation, virtual and physical collaboration,
and mental agility within the mission set. Operational level training
should focus on operational design and planning for parallel, distributed
actions, using dynamic systems thinking as a basis for a new military
Leadership. Shared persistent surveillance
and an integrated COP will require leaders who are comfortable with
exercising indirect control over decentralized missions. Leaders
must also develop enhanced skills in peer leadership and informal
leadership of non-DOD elements within the battlespace. Battlespace
visualization and understanding increasingly comes from the COP,
not a single commander. No single commander is likely to understand
all the complexities and necessary, tempo-sensitive interactions
within the battlespace, particularly "on the edge" events
during tactical operations. Leaders at battalion-level and below
should receive enhanced training to handle greater authority. Those
who can achieve effects should have the authority to do so. Organizational
leaders should develop around dynamic systems and enterprise leadership
models. Senior leader training should teach how to influence and
indirectly control distributed operations through adaptive mission
planning and effects design communicated through the commander's
effects-based purpose and intent.
Experience. We must improve retention incentives
and nurture operational experience. An enterprise mind-enabled force
having an integrated COP and persistent surveillance feeds requires
enhanced skill sets and increased levels of maturity. We also need
to leverage the collaborative skills of information-technology-savvy
soldiers who are comfortable with pervasive communications and computing
technologies. Junior leaders and soldiers have shown tremendous
adaptability during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
These soldiers are bloggers, on-line gamers, smart mobsters, and
chat-room influencers. Future tactical engagements might primarily
be at the platoon and below levels, with a brigade combat team (BCT)
headquarters serving as the enabler and integrator for dispersed
companies and platoons. Even SOF elements might break into individual
and split-team operations and work ever more closely with interagency
partners. The United States has the most experienced, educated Armed
Forces in its history, and our Nation's future will require leveraging
our best in this protracted war.40
Organizational design. New organizational constructs
should also emerge, with authorities following information flows
and an expanded capacity to act. Because strategy is reflected through
organizational design, force designers should continue to emphasize
empowerment of formations at company through team levels and the
interaction of conventional and special operating forces. Future
force designs should continue to emphasize soldier and soldier-level
empowerment. Enablers for integrating force, whether the force is
from interagency, multinational partners, or the joint force, should
be the product of coherent operational design and planning from
the joint task force through BCT levels, with emphasis on shaping
and condition-setting. With enhanced COP capabilities and a more
direct flow of information resulting from the changed, distributed
nature of information enabled by persistent surveillance, it is
unclear what the role of the division headquarters G2 might be.41
Theater- and national level planning must focus on deep, global
operations and long-term success in protracted war.
Experience levels. Increased complexity will
require seasoned leaders and mature staff in battalion and below
combat formations. Leader-to-led ratios must increase. Companies
should have intelligence sections to fully leverage persistent intelligence
distribution and enable tactical planning beyond immediate engagements.
We must track and manage intangible assets across the force; namely,
specific experience, specialized skill sets, and demonstrated proficiencies.
Each of these suggestions raises the operating capacity of edge
organizations and empowers the lowest levels of the force to act
with speed and precision.
Force structure. We also must create an integrated
force structure that combines special operations elements; rapid,
strike-capable conventional elements; and deep operations forces,
including interagency teams. These forces should engage in theater
security and cooperation initiatives and operate with specialized
rules of engagement and authority to create preemptive or preventive
effects. This force would likely have the agility and judgment to
be a shaping force for global operations that can intervene decisively
to prevent larger crises from forming.
The COP. The spiral development and integration
of information technologies can provide the force with an asymmetric
capability if technologies are integrated correctly with the human
component. The COP must allow-
• Access to all mission elements and
to real-time enterprise data via the tailored COP with assurance
in content and reliability.
• Mounted and dismounted support to extend
support to individuals, rather than just platforms or command posts.
We must ensure COPs reach DOD and non-DOD partners. Tailorable COP
designs should support dismounted operations in remote areas just
as seamlessly as they support a teammate in a hotel room operating
in dial-up-access mode.
• Robust planning and simulation tools
that reside on-line and allow users to integrate real-time data
with planning products automatically. Tactical planners should be
able to integrate the same enterprise data into tactical simulation
and visualization tools to create dynamic mission-rehearsal and
• Layered security and smart distribution,
so support users can operate securely within their mission environment
and the appropriate planning horizon.
• Reinvention of display and visualization
because one size does not fit all. We must allow users to design
and test new COP presentation displays for anticipated operating
environments. There might never be an end goal to build to, but
rather a steady move to bring understanding to the individual through
continuous advances in technology.
Integrating persistent surveillance with the
COP allows us to reconceive security mechanisms to meet today's
threat. Today's threat is not regional but global, mobile, and intertwined
with civil and even commercial infrastructures. We must leverage
persistent intelligence to meet our requirements through a shared
COP that supports the police sergeant as well as the Army sergeant
with relative, actionable data. We must also create mechanisms and
technologies to allow broader access to non-DOD and non-U.S. elements
based on the mission. A multinational-capable, tailored COP would
foster global agility and coherent actions.
1. Office of the Secretary
of Defense, "Transformation Study Report: Transforming Military
Operational Capabilities," Executive Summary, Washington, D.C.,
2001, 2, on-line at <www.defenselink.mil/news/Jun2001/d20010621transexec.pdf>,
accessed 31 October 2005.
2. Terms such as persistent
or pervasive denote the same basic operational capability. I Corps
Commander LTG James M. Dubik used the term pervasive knowledge during
a lecture at the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS),
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 4 October 2004. The concept is consistent
with the concept of persistent surveillance.
3. Donald H. Rumsfeld,
"Quadrennial Defense Review Report," Office of the Secretary
of Defense, Washington, D.C., 2001, 30, on-line at <www.defenselink.
mil/pubs/qdr2001.pdf>, accessed 31 October 2005. See also Stephen
A. Cambone, "Statement of Dr. Stephen A. Cambone, Under Secretary
of Defense for Intelligence, before the Senate Armed Services Committee,
Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance,"
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense-Intelligence, Washington,
D.C., 7 April 2004, 4.
4. The battlespace includes
three competitive domains: physical, informational, and cognitive.
These domains are also distributed among the three levels of war:
strategic, operational, and tactical. See David S. Alberts, John
Garstka, Richard E. Hayes, and David T. Signori, Understanding Information
Age Warfare (Washington, DC: Command and Control Research Program
Publication, 2001), 10-15.
5. VADM Lowell Jacoby,
"Revolution in Intelligence Affairs," presentation at
the Armed Forces Communications Association's Spring Intelligence
Symposium, Langley, Virginia, 22 April 2004.
6. Alberts and others,
7. Kenneth C. Laudon
and Jane P. Laudon, Management of Information Systems: Managing
the Digital Firm, 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,
8. VADM Jacoby, interview
by author, September 2004, the Pentagon.
9. Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Joint Publication (JP) 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of
Military and Associated Terms (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office [GPO], 2003).
10. Joint Warfighting
Center (JWC) Pamphlet 5, Operational Implications of the Collaborative
Information Environment (CIE) (Fort Monroe, VA: JWC, 4 June 2004),
11-12, on-line at <www.stormingmedia.us/48/4893/A489324.html>,
accessed 31 October 2005. On page GL-2, the pamphlet defines the
CIE as "a virtual aggregation of individuals, organizations,
systems, infrastructures, and processes to create and share the
data, information and knowledge needed to plan, execute, and assess
joint force operations and enable a commander to make decisions
better and faster than the adversary."
11. Ibid., 11-12.
12. Kevin Kelly, Out
of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the
Economic World (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1994), 440. Kelly
observes that a system stuck in the present is reactive, prone to
surprise from change, and will die. A common operating picture (COP)
only capable of portraying real-time conditions creates digitized,
myopic views of reality and cognitively handicaps anticipatory actions.
13. The specific temporal
orientation is tied to resource allocation and regeneration capacity.
Future and associated "times" merely show varied planning,
decision-making, and action orientations vis-a_-vis adversaries.
These will vary. Joint task force commanders and national-level
decisionmakers should be future-oriented in terms of weeks, months,
and perhaps years. Moreover, a new field of computer science deals
with anticipatory computing in dynamic environments.
14. In each example,
the ability to maintain disciplined focus at the right level and
dynamically integrate relevant information and understanding seamlessly
with actors across all levels maintains the competitive advantage.
A COP view is possible because of the enterprise information systems.
15. Martin Van Creveld,
Command in War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), 145.
The literal interpretation of this does not convey the intent of
the statement; rather, recognition of the inability to conduct detailed
planning for tactical actions from higher headquarters. As Van Creveld
relates: "The true essence of the Prussian command system was
not to try to foresee every move in war as if it were a railway
16. BG Huba Wass de
Czege and MAJ Jacob D. Biever, "Future Battle Command: Where
Information Technology, Doctrine and Organization Meet," Army
Magazine (August 2001): 10-12.
17. U.S. Army Field
Manual 6-0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces
(Washington, DC: GPO, 2004), 3-13; COL Stefan Banach, discussions
with author, November 2004, Fort Leavenworth, KS. Properly taskorganized
tactical units (mounted and dismounted maneuver, fires, intelligence,
interrogation, and translation capability) with seasoned leadership
and support (including pulsed sustainment, casualty evacuation,
joint fires, air and ground quick-reaction forces, and robust secure
communications) can conduct one tactical engagement after another
(roll from target to target) to generate and continue generating
exceptional information. Further empowering lower tactical levels
with better organization, including the addition of unique capabilities,
creates the ability to roll from target to target under an adaptive
execution construct. Special operations forces with interagency
support do this now. A transformed conventional force should also
be fully resourced to execute operations under an adaptive execution
18. JP 5-0, Doctrine
for Planning Joint Operations (Washington, DC: GPO, 1995).
19. Partners might
be U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), non-DOD, or non-U.S. coalition
elements. This empowerment through decentralized data distribution
requires relinquishing expert control to all stakeholders across
the enterprise, to even the lowest levels, to allow adaptive planning
20. Louis Andre, Chief
of Operations, Defense Intelligence Agency, interview by author,
the Pentagon, September 2004.
21. If agents or actors
cannot act, they cease to be agents or actors.
22. Even the most
"strategic" actor or agent must take action in the tactical
realm. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the opening air strike against
Saddam Hussein (at his suspected location) was still bound by the
tactical, physical employment of the aircraft delivering precision
munitions. Newtonian physics dominate the tactical level of war.
A tactical component exists in each domain of war.
23. BG Wayne Michael
Hall, Stray Voltage: War in the Information Age (Annapolis, MD:
Naval Institute Press, 2003), 158-69. I use Hall's terminology,
but U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has similar concepts and varied
terminology. JFCOM foresees the creation of distributed knowledge
centers for the CIE. Knowledge centers are composed of humans, information
technology, and information.
24. U.S. Army, "2003
Army Transformation Roadmap," 7-17, on-line at <www.army.
mil/2003TransformationRoadmap/>, accessed 31 October 2005.
26. Vision is a function
of articulating the linkage between the guiding purpose and the
effects-based intent. The use of specified tasks in operations orders
in execution-centric, decentralized operations can inhibit initiative
and create incoherence. Creating task lists from centralized planning
activities is increasingly too slow and too limiting to address
emerging conditions and can constrain actors from seeking and exploiting
opportunities because finite resources are prioritized and committed
to fulfilling prespecified tasks from "higher." These
insights are from an address on U.S. Marine Corps operational planning
observations during Operation Iraqi Freedom by the 1st Marine Expeditionary
Force to the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, 6 December 2004.
Tightly coupled task lists for operations resulted
in continuous streams of fragmentary orders (FRAGOs) when situations
changed. Many FRAGOs were irrelevant by the time they reached lower
level units. In other cases, units were already engaged in the actions
the FRAGO specified. Had the units waited for an order (even verbal),
the action might have been too slow to produce the required effect.
Because the units perceived the need to act, and did so without
orders, one can question the validity, or at least the necessity,
of the higher headquarters' order that followed. This places the
debate about effects and tasks firmly in the "Decision Cycle
Battle" forum. Task and purpose might be replaced by effect
and purpose. To be sure, tasks to subordinate units or elements
will not be wholly replaced, but the default behavior of specifying
discreet actions to subordinates vice articulating effect-based
intent might require more thoughtful investigation and doctrinal
27. The rule sets
for authority to take action should clearly reflect the maximum
latitude an actor has and a minimum level of control logic to accomplish
the mission. Thresholds should be identified within the mission
set, along with purpose and effects-based intent.
28. Purpose drives
behavior. Commanders describe effects to modify and shape organizational
actions to achieve an overarching purpose. Nested purpose and effects
create coherence across the domains and levels of war.
29. Anonymous senior
joint force commander, lecture to SAMS, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
30. The illusion of
control exists when someone has the perception they can control
dynamic and complex interactions "from the top."
31. The effects design
(purpose) describes the "what" with the actors creatively
determining the "how" without centralized direct control.
Remember, control is maintained through indirect means.
32. JCS, Stability
Operations-Joint Operating Concept [Stability Joint Operating Concept
(JOC)] (Washington, DC, GPO, 3 October 2003), 19.
33. Major Combat Operations
(MCO)-Joint Operating Concept (JOC), 7. No other information given.
34. COL Leonard Wong,
Developing Adaptive Leaders: The Crucible Experience of Operation
Iraqi Freedom (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, Strategic
Studies Institute, 2004), 3-6. Wong describes the complex interactions
junior officers are experiencing in Iraq today. Company-level leaders
and soldiers routinely interact with coalition, multiagency, and
non-DOD elements as they transition daily (sometimes hourly) from
humanitarian and stability support operations, to close combat operations,
and back again to noncombat-related actions. Junior leaders have
demonstrated remarkable adaptability, mental agility, and operational
35. The persistent
surveillance capability might determine linkages among financial
transactions in Asia, the transshipment of materials in Africa,
and the training of an action cell in South America. This is certain
to create new methods of developing and executing operational art.
We will need new mechanisms to describe, induce, and assess coherent
effects. If persistent surveillance is a major contributor to generating
this understanding for coherent action, it must include tailored
COP as the distribution mechanism for each element taking action.
The continuous Complex Adaptive System (CAS) view of the adversary
creates the ability to do this.
36. Sun Tzu observed:
"The highest realization of warfare is to attack the enemy's
plans" (Ralph D. Sawyer, Sun Tzu: The Art of War [Oxford: Westview
Press, 1994], 177).
37. Ralph J. Begley,
Mark Reige, John Rosenblum, and Daniel Tseng, "Adding Intelligence
to Medical Devices," Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry
Magazine (March 2000), on-line at <www.devicelink.com/mddi/archive/00/03/014.html>,
accessed 31 October 2005.
38. A key doctrinal
component of the cavalry mission is to "gain and maintain contact"
with the enemy.
39. For a definition
of JOpsC, see on-line at <www.jfcom.mil/about/fact_jopsc. htm>,
accessed 22 November 2005.
40. Wong. We should
carefully consider how we can leverage the force that has "been
through the crucible" to enhance new force and organizational
capabilities. We should not squander demonstrated mental agility
and capacity to handle authority with responsibility well beyond
what was considered appropriate for them just a decade ago.
41. The Intelligence
and Security Command Overwatch Initiative is already supporting
units in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Division G2s and the Analytic
Control Element will continue to have a purpose, but emphasis might
shift from real-time support to supporting adaptive planning and
effects assessment, allowing the Overwatch to provide real-time,
"Knowledge Advantage Center-like" direct support to tactically
engaged elements through Distributed Common Ground Systems-Army.
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