New Battle Command Network Offers Unprecedented Micromanagement Opportunities

The U.S. Army’s ‘Cyber Center of Excellence’, Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., hosted a multi-service ‘NetWar’ to show, and build, cyber Warrior capabilities Tuesday, June 10. Twenty-eight Soldiers, Airmen, Navy and Marine Corps computer professionals comprised four teams representing the U.S. Army’s active, reserve and National Guard with one Joint-services team that included a U.S. Special Operations Command civilian. The scenarios tasked teams to reach three kinetic objectives given notional operation orders and varying levels of difficulty. Manipulating in miniaturized city structures the mimicry encouraged communication and knowledge sharing. “It reinforces the idea of a truly blended battlefield,” Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sam Blaney, (center) an information and technology manager for the Georgia National Guard’s joint force headquarters in Marietta, Georgia. “It challenges us while testing our mettle to overcome in a crunch.” Team Bravo, the multi-state U.S. Army National Guard team, completed the first mission through innovation and teamwork. “They were the first to write their own script (computer specific algorithm code) and use SQLMAP (an open source database takeover tool) to clear their objective,” Tim Medin, SANS Institute CyberCity co-creator and exercise facilitator, said. (Georgia Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith)

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The U.S. Army unveiled its latest digital command and control system, allowing commanders at higher echelons to make decisions at increasingly lower levels of responsibility.

“We hear all this talk about Carl von Clausewitz and ’empowering subordinates’ in ARDP 3-0” said Brig. Gen. William Burleson, Commander of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, referring to the Prussian officer’s influence on the Army’s latest operations manual. “But what I think we’re forgetting is that Clausewitz never said anything about empowering subordinates. The guy was actually a huge micromanager. With this new battle command network, we can micromange our troops in ways Clausewitz never dreamed of.”

Officials at the Mission Command Center of Excellence demonstrated how commanders could monitor whether or not soldiers were wearing reflector belts through an “exquisite” computer network linked to imagery from surveillance drones. Other unique features allow generals to examine down to the individual soldier level, such as whether or not they had complied with mandatory Consideration Of Others (CO2) training.

Burleson added, “Leadership is based on mutual trust, and if you can’t trust us generals to make decisions, honestly, who can you trust?”

Army officials also noted that, by concentrating on mundane details like individual soldier equipment and company-level PT formations, senior Army leaders were freed from messy, time-consuming issues like budgeting, force levels, and formulating a clear exit strategy from Afghanistan.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, praised the new system.

“When I was a lieutenant — back before email — I could plan and execute an entire M-16 range by myself,” Odierno said. “But thanks to the advent of email in the 1980s, I had the ability to plan and approve the same M-16 range as a company commander. Now, thanks to our battle command networks, I can schedule, arrange, plan, and approve an entire M-16 range myself.”

“The great part about modern technology is that it allows us generals to re-live our glory days as 22-year old lieutenants.”


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