Command Interim Concept
12 October 2007
Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre
COMMAND INTERIM CONCEPT
The Command Interim Concept Page 1
Scope, Provenance and Definitions
Future Command Environment Page 3
Scientific and Technological Trends Page 5
Legal Trends Page 6
Agile Command out to 2030
The British Approach to Command
The CA, The EBA and Joint Action Page 7
Network Enabled Agile Command
Command Organisation Page 12
Human Aspects of Command Page 13
Implications of Agile Command Page 16
Combined, Joint Integration Page 18
Comprehensive Approach and Interagency Integration Page 20
Working Effectively in a Dispersed Organisation
Commanding an Agile Force Page 22
Balance Issues Page 23
Way Ahead Page 26
COMMAND INTERIM CONCEPT
1. Effective command is critical to the successful conduct of military activity in order to
balance ends, ways and means in the achievement of objectives, both in relation to an
opponent and in specific situations. Although the current British Way of Warfare and
Command are doctrinally well established, there is no endorsed vision for a future that will
be characterised by an exponential technological expansion and situations requiring high
levels of agility.
2. The aim of the Command Interim Concept is:
To provide a conceptual view of how Defence should best develop Command out
to 2030 in order to inform decisions about Capability Development.
SCOPE, PROVENANCE AND DEFINITIONS
3. Scope. In expanding on the High Level Operational Concept (HLOC), 1 the Concept
focuses on command on Joint contingent operations overseas. The degree to which the
principles apply to other types of operation may vary and the implications for wider UK
command capability - for example, standing military tasks - will be the subject of later
development. This Concept should not be read in isolation, but as one of the suite of Joint
Interim Concepts (JICs),2 based on the Defence Conceptual Framework (DCF), which
inform Capability Development across the Defence Lines of Development (DLoD).3 This
Concept deals with the practice of command, not the C4ISTAR4 enablers. These are
addressed in the Inform Interim Concept.
4. Provenance. This Concept is consistent with themes in Defence Strategic Guidance
(DSG) and NATO Comprehensive Political Guidance.5 It derives from the HLOC and
takes forward the Agile Command philosophy already evident in NATO, US and UK
practice that is discussed in the Network Enabled Command and Control (NEC2)
Analytical Concept6 and other papers.78 The Concept draws from, and contributes to,
ongoing conceptual and doctrinal work, such as British Defence Doctrine (BDD), Joint
Doctrine Notes and Environmental Concepts.
Endorsed by COS(I) on 5 Jun 07 and divided into HLOC Framework and HLOC Commentary.
Operate, Command, Inform, Prepare, Project, Protect and Sustain.
DLoDs: „Training, Equipment, Personnel, Information, Concepts and Doctrine, Organisation, Infrastructure
& Logistics.’ 2005 DIN 03-012. Sep 05.
„Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and
Reconnaissance.‟ JWP 0-01.1 - UK Glossary of Joint and Multi-national Terms and Definitions. Jun 06.
NATO Secretary General – Comprehensive Political Guidance. Dec 05.
DCDC – NEC2 Analytical Concept: Network Enabled Command and Control out to 2025. May 06.
CBM J6 Agile Command Capability: Future Command in the Joint Battlespace and it‟s implications for
Capability Development. 30 Apr 04.
DCDC – Agile Mission Groups – A discussion paper. 14 Aug 06.
Definitions. The definitions of command and control in HLOC are:
COMMAND is the authority vested in an individual to influence events and to order
subordinates to implement decisions exercised by, or on behalf of, commanders
and comprising three closely inter-related elements: leadership, decision-making
(including risk assessment); and control.
CONTROL is the coordination of activity, through processes and structures that
enable a commander to manage risk and to deliver intent.
5. Command and Control is therefore the mechanism by which military activities are
directed. The two elements have traditionally been closely linked and complementary but,
in certain circumstances, can be separated in order to improve synchronisation, agility,
tempo and unity of effort. Discrete discussion of each element encourages ideas about
ways in which processes can be evolved for network-based structures and operational
practices in order to optimise integration with the full range of possible partners. In broad
terms, command is a human function concerned with decision-making that deals with
action and activity whilst control concentrates on the exploitation of time and space and is
likely to adopt an increasing degree of automation. Control is normally delegated to
specialist staff or associated systems and organizations, except where a commander
needs to intervene to ensure that his intent is achieved. It is information heavy and is
characterised by human dependence on technology, processes and procedures. It is also
important to differentiate between the control of military forces, in terms of both the
direction and ways of control - for example, Battlespace Management (BM)9 - and the
techniques and structures required to achieve wider control of a situation.
6. Role of assessment and validation. A significant volume of research work has
been undertaken to analyse command issues, including the Command and Battlespace
Management (CBM) Change Programme10 and the development of the themes from
VCDS‟ NEC C2 Workshop.11 Further work, based on more detailed studies, Operational
Analysis and experimentation will reinforce development of the Concept. This work will
comprise 2 phases:
a. In the latter part of 2007, focused experimentation and analysis will provide
some limited refinement and validation of the findings, in parallel with the production
of a JICs Deductions Paper.
b. Thereafter, ongoing analysis and validation will support a biennial refresh of the
JICs, appropriately sequenced to influence successive planning rounds.
CBM J6 - Joint Battlespace Management. Oct 06.
JSP 777 (1 Ed) – Network Enabled Capability. MOD. Jan 05. Part 2.
CBM J6 – VCDS Network Enabled Capability Command and Control Workshop 2006. MOD. August
FUTURE COMMAND ENVIRONMENT 12
7. The future operating environment will be more diverse and complex than at present,
with activities ranging from state-on-state conflict to the more likely, but equally
demanding, wars among the people and actions in response to humanitarian crises, all
with the potential for the use of violence by regular or irregular opponents and actors.
Operations will usually be conducted in a Joint, inter-agency or multi-national context, as
part of a Comprehensive Approach (CA),13 and the UK military approach will be effects-
based, expeditionary and manoeuvrist in character.14 To be able to deal with this diversity,
unpredictability, uncertainty and complexity, future commanders, their HQs and units
under command, will need to be agile and appropriately configured, trained, equipped and
organized, either as a unit, if they have sufficient adaptability, or as a wider community, by
drawing on a wider pool of command experience and expertise, or through networking.
The need for these attributes is reinforced by the fact that, especially in the early stages of
an operation, Command may have to be exercised without the benefit of a clearly defined
National/International Strategic Aim and its associated Strategic Objectives.
8. In certain situations, the activity and assets required to realise effects and produce a
favourable situation within a CA is likely to be overwhelmingly military in character,
especially when levels of security are low or adversaries have to be defeated or contained.
On these occasions, it would be sensible for control of the situation and command of
forces to be vested in a military commander, although with suitable support from, and
linkages to, other relevant authorities and agencies. Conversely, a mature CA might
require the Military to play a role in support of the broader realisation of effects and the
achievement of a strategic outcome by a non-military personality or entity. In these
circumstances, the person delivering the strategic outcome could reasonably expect to
receive military advice from the senior military commander, but the control of the situation
and the overall responsibility for the realisation of effects would necessarily fall to him.
This would leave the military commander the task of commanding activity and achieving
military objectives in support of effects. The inference is that commanders can expect to
exert varying degrees of control over the situations in which they might be employed, but
would still expect to command forces including associated non-military ones such as
contractors, either directly or indirectly, in circumstances, especially those implying
urgency and criticality, where military activity is required. Thus, the extent of military
control of situations will be determined by the requirement for military engagement in
relation to other activities assigned to achieve strategic objectives and realise favourable
outcomes. History has provided numerous examples of this arrangement working in
practice, if not in theory.
9. The strategic, operational, and tactical levels of warfare will remain valid as a
doctrinal framework within which to rationalise and categorise military activity, but it is
important to clarify the inter-relationships between the various levels. The fact that
discrete HQs will not deal with individual levels recognises the inevitable compression and
blurring between the levels, and reflects their dynamic inter-relationship and non-linear
interaction. For example, the operational and tactical levels will be characterised by
increased complexity in terms of activity, objectives and their effect on the strategic level.
DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036. 3 Edition. MOD. Jan 07.
DCDC - Joint Discussion Note 4/05: - The Comprehensive Approach. MOD. Jan 06.
BDD (Op. Cit.). Chapter 8.
Similarly, modern communications and media technology will tend to compress levels of
warfare, especially at the Operational level and allow politicians to engage in the decision
making cycle. Strategic decisions will always have tactical implications, but there is an
underlying theme in modern life that tactical events will have a potentially powerful
influence, for good or ill, on the strategic level of decision-making. Meanwhile, the
operational level is still required in theatre to translate strategic plans into coherent tactical
activity.15 It is therefore important that the command functions at different levels are
clearly defined and that the structural and functional implications for HQs reflect the new
context and culture. Emerging interest in environments such as Space, ideas such as „soft
power,‟ and the implications of the virtual domain need to be reflected in command
thinking and arrangements, the subtleties of which will be examined during conceptual
10. Most importantly, advances in technology and access will mean that organizations,
groups and individuals, not amenable to control, will be able to communicate and operate
across the world in real time. This aspect will require robust, reliable military strategic
communications, and decisions managed at a tempo that matches the pace of the
operating environment. This trend must be recognised, particularly when command is
exercised in a context in which there is no clearly defined strategic end-state to work
towards, and ways of command must be developed to exploit and manage the tempo and
complexity. This requires a responsive understanding of the military means by which
political freedom of action and initiative can be maintained, as well as anticipation of
constraints and the generation of military plans that support the achievement of political
success. At the highest level, it is essential that a generation of senior officers is
developed and exercised to ensure they have the aptitude and ability to advise on and
direct military operations at the truly strategic level, not only because of the enduring
political nature of military activity, but also because of the possibility of the re-emergence
of major state-on-state warfare within the horizon of this Concept. Senior commanders will
need a strategic level of comprehension and commanders at every level will need to
understand the political dimension, acting in an agile, responsive manner within political
intent. To support them, subordinate organizations need improved measures of
effectiveness and inter-disciplinary collaboration for operational and strategic level
11. The fundamental nature of the role of Front Line Commands will be unchanged in
terms of their Full Command and parenting function - for example, in the provision of
forces, their basic and collective training, environmental expertise, and maintenance of
ethos. However, the Joint character of operations requires co-ordination, especially
through interoperability, training, force generation and doctrine, to optimise the range of
employment. In command terms, Joint does not simply imply tri-Service representation,
but a mix of complementary, relevant skills to fit various HQs for their intended use.16 Not
only should the command arrangements match the character of the situation with which
commanders have to deal, but also the dynamic principle of „supported‟ and „supporting
assets‟, both of which are likely to form the basis of adaptive, agile command.17
BDD (Op. Cit.). Chapter 2.
JDP 01 Joint Operations (Op. Cit.) – Chapter 4.
Ibid – Paragraph 332.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS
12. Technological advances in support of command18 are largely based upon the
continued rapid growth of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), linked to
cognitive science, sensor, and network technology, especially the increases in bandwidth
availability, information storage, and computing power. These have the potential to
increase the possibilities of collaborative working, decision support and Information
Management (IM), within networks, in working with other states and facilitating command
on the move. However, affordability and future proofing against unforeseen development
may constrain the potential exploitation of these advances. This will need to be
reassessed on each refresh of this JIC.
13. Aids to Collaborative Working. Rapid development in these areas, as distributed
working and personalised communications devices become common practice and more
sophisticated within Industry, will facilitate distributed collaborative planning and working,
especially with regard to Reachout.19 Although technically more challenging, collaborative
working should, ideally, be possible between all CA elements.
14. Decision Support.20 Revolutionary improvements in the ways that humans interface
with computers will mean that the use of decision support tools will assist the planning
process by automating the routine aspects of calculation and sense-making so that
humans have more freedom to think. The harnessing of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and
cognitive computing might permit Operational Analysis (OA) to be used in the field to give
rapid assessments of potential and alternative courses of action. They will not replace
decision-making, honed on intellect, intuition and „gut‟ instinct, but will assist commanders
and their staff in the assimilation and analysis of vastly increased amounts of data, as well
as in providing confidence in its accuracy in support of human awareness and decisions.
15. Information Management.21 Improved IM will address the current shortfall between
the increased ability to transfer information (in future, likely to be accelerated by Semantic
Web technologies) and the effective ability to store, retrieve, and validate it. This will allow
much smarter „pull‟ and selective „push‟ of information and allow commanders and staff
access to more dynamic information flows, thereby reducing the reliance on briefings and
focusing on more accurate decision making and increased tempo.
16. Working with Other States. Language translation tools under development will help
understanding about what is meant rather than simply what is written or said. If successful
this will benefit the CA in operations overseas and allow far more effective working within
coalitions, especially for those partners for whom English might not be a common
language. Human science research will also enable more sophisticated understanding of
the cognitive differences between cultures so that the performance of multi-national teams
can be improved.
17. Command on the Move. Existing and emerging technologies will enable „command
on the move‟ and allow commanders to access web and network-based information, on
demand and thoughout a theatre, especially when operating in a dispersed environment.
DSTL - Summary of Science and Technology Trends affecting Command. 2007.
„Reachout is defined as the ability to access, through NEC, expertise, information and functions in
distributed locations and from wider organizations.‟ NEC2 Analytical Concept (Op. Cit), Paragraph 26.
Ibid, Paragraph 17.
Ibid, Paragraph 27.
This will permit commanders to be situationally aware at all times, thereby reducing the
reliance on briefings and the need to be fixed in a location just to be able to access
information and their staff.
18. In order to protect themselves and promote the political, ethical and moral case for
operations, commanders at every level must ensure strict legal compliance, supported by
accurate record keeping. Furthermore, commanders should also recognise that they have
a personal liability for their decisions and their consequences, which will be available for
immediate and subsequent scrutiny in a variety of domestic and international media and
legal forums. Multinational or coalition command will also have to take account of the
different ethical viewpoints, treaty and other legal obligations of national contingents.
These national contingents are likely to require additional legal safeguards as the price of
their participation, while international bodies would seem increasingly likely in future to
wish to regulate the ways in which regular expeditionary and intervention operations by
states are conducted. These trends will occur at a time when potential opponents,
especially irregular and non-state actors, seem likely to be less constrained by legal, moral
or ethical considerations. These aspects will require commanders to understand the moral
case for action, their legal responsibilities and the restrictions on their freedom of action,
as well as the responsibilities that are implied by the exercise of direct control. They also
drive the continuing requirement for appropriate legal advice to be readily available as part
of the staffing process, in order to ensure legal compliance and to contribute to Influence
19. Public Exposure. Similarly, commanders will need to be aware of the growing
requirement to gain and maintain public support by accounting for and sustaining their
decisions, judgements and actions in the face of intense scrutiny by domestic democratic
institutions and networked home populations. This area will be complicated by the close
attention of aggressive, agile media, commercial organizations and individuals with
personal access to intrusive web-based monitoring and reporting technologies.
Commander's will need the means and understanding to balance the tempo of public
information with the requirements of OPSEC. As part of Joint Action, and within an EBA, it
will be necessary for commanders to integrate more carefully the real and virtual aspects
of their campaigns to ensure that the information tempo does not outstrip decision-making
and unbalance the operational tempo. Commanders will therefore need to be trained and
enabled to interact with a wide range of media outlets, personal communications devices
and evolving communications techniques and technologies.
AGILE COMMAND OUT TO 2030
THE BRITISH APPROACH TO COMMAND
20. The British Approach to Command, articulated in BDD,22 is characterised by well
proven structures and the best practice of seasoned practitioners, reflecting almost
continuous, varied employment in the past 60 years in a wide range of operations. In the
face of dynamic situations and the pressure of events, UK Command organizations have
adapted rapidly and are competent working within a broad range of coalitions as well as
dealing with people and creating social networks. This has had particular advantages
when acting as a lead or framework nation within a coalition. However, Command-led
Op. Cit. Annex 8a.
organizations and processes need to be supported by high quality personnel. They need
to be agile in thinking and action, well disciplined, trained, professional, and motivated, and
have the ethos, humanity, trust, and understanding to undertake delegated tasks and
responsible mission command.23
THE CA, THE EBA AND JOINT ACTION
21. An EBA is characterised by a greater flexibility and a wider scope of operations, as
well as more collaborative working relationships with civilian authorities and other
agencies, to achieve favourable outcomes in specific situations. Once the decisive
conditions that contribute to an outcome have been identified, activities will be
synchronised to realise effects, for which force elements will be task organized.
Depending on circumstances, these scaleable groupings might straddle Component
boundaries and include coalition forces and non-military elements. The introduction of
more flexible arrangements and groupings, as well as a different working culture among
partners, would mean that military, social, staff and professional relationships will have to
reflect the need to interact with OGDs, coalition elements, NGOs and unfamiliar partners.
Within a CA, commanders will need to reflect and incorporate these human and social
issues in the construction of their networks, but working trust and familiarity will be
stimulated by a sensible mix of remote briefing technologies, face-to-face meetings and
early personal interaction. The degree of familiarity and mutual confidence already
established will determine the balance and configuration of assets and commanders will
have to consider carefully, in assessing the delivery of fighting power, the implications of
their arrangements and the characteristics of the network.
22. First principles and historic example indicate that de-centralised command and
adaptive command and control processes will provide the most flexible and effective
mechanisms for improving synchronization, agility and unity of effort, especially within
networked and collaborative systems. Therefore, command-led, adaptive collaborative
planning and the intelligent use of Operational Art will continue to be required in order to
realise effects, define objectives and synchronise activities in fast-moving, multi-layered
operations. Commanders and staffs will need to control the real and virtual battlespace
concurrently. Through the implementation of Joint Action24 - the synchronization of fires
and influence - they will need to act on the capability, understanding and will of opponents,
while taking into account the need to influence other audiences within situations and the
wider world community. For command, this entails a need to gain a greater appreciation
and more sophisticated implementation of Influence Activities and for measuring their
effectiveness. Moreover, agility and tempo will require intuitive and experienced
commanders who are comfortable with flattened and dynamic command structures and
groupings and are able to work in a decentralised command organization.
NETWORK ENABLED AGILE COMMAND
23. The combination of technological advances in networking and increased agility of
command will underpin the Information Age premise of Network Enabled Agile Command.
Networked Capabilities promise to transform the exchange, exploitation and presentation
of information, as well as enabling more precise risk assessment and decision-making. In
Mission Command: „A style of command that seeks to convey understanding to subordinates about the
intentions of the higher commander and their place within his plan, enabling them to carry out missions with
the maximum freedom of action and appropriate resources.’ JWP 0-01.1. UK Glossary (Op .Cit.).
DCDC – Joint Doctrine Note (JDN) 1/07: - Joint Action. MOD. Feb 2007.
military terms, Networked Enabled Capability (NEC) implies near real-time gathering,
processing and diffusion of information and intelligence to support and promulgate
decision-making that enables the high tempo conduct of operations, as well as improving
commanders‟ ability to cope with, and exploit, high rates of change. It promises to allow
multiple individuals and organizations to have direct and simultaneous access to
information and to each other. Agile Command is based upon well-understood Command
Intent, SSA and decentralised Mission Command, together with flexibility of thought and is
supported by technological availability. Obscurity in any of these factors will have an
adverse impact on command agility.
24. Despite improved techniques and advanced technologies, command in conflict, crisis
and confrontation will not be any easier than in the past. Tactical fleet command for
Jellicoe at Jutland,25 or the art of generalship on the Napoleonic battlefield, was highly
complicated and difficult to control, despite the fact that the battlespace was, in broad
terms, linear, more localised, easily bounded and potentially understandable in terms of
cause and effect. In the Industrial Age, command and control were usually linked to
hierarchical structures that also reflected limitations in channels of communication. This
linkage may not always have been advantageous because historical examples show that
the demands and attractions of control have often inhibited or frustrated the proper
exercise of command. Conversely, an excess of zeal to command at the expense of
control has just as often led to failure or defeat.26 From now on, the implementation of a
networked capability and other conceptual shifts seem likely to alter the familiar
relationship between decision-makers and the tools, processes and staffs that have
traditionally supported them in the past. As such, command and control structures will
need to evolve to match the range of likely challenges and to accommodate and exploit
the range of possibilities.
25. At the national level, the availability of information on a widely distributed network
should usefully erode the tendency to stove-pipe information within traditional staff
branches. Task organization that is best suited to the situation may allow the employment
of federated command and control structures that are, in turn, enabled by agile networks.
In this way, improved flows of information and actionable intelligence, together with
distributed working, based on de-centralised practices and Reachout, offer the potential to
reduce staff and decision support numbers required in theatre. Indeed, more agile,
network-enabled control, centred on automated systems, open architectures and higher
levels of synchronisation, should encourage leaner, modular command and HQ solutions.
Such innovation, however, may not suit all environments or coalition partners and the
ability to be retrospectively compatible and to work with more traditional methods, where
appropriate, must be retained. At the very least, UK Armed Forces should work on the
basis of operating more fluently and quickly across Environmental seams, as well as
breaking down artificial and structural obstacles to coherent decision-making and the free
flow of information up, down and across traditional command structures. In any case, the
adoption of the CA is likely to require traditional military planning cycles to be refined in
order to identify, create and exploit a wider range of factors and opportunities.
26. Networking offers increased potential to decentralise command but, conversely, may
allow some control functions to be more centralised, providing a background, framework
co-ordinated, service to all. A further fundamental benefit of Information Age Command is
the option for command to be both geographically and functionally separable from control.
See: Gordon, A - The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command - Murray, London. 1996.
What Price Command? Essay in VCDS NEC C2 Workshop (Op. Cit.), Page 15.
However, although some functions will be common, such as ISTAR, communications, air
traffic, logistics and environmental support, this does not remove the requirement for a
command relationship between the commander and those elements of the network that
are acting in support. This aspect can act to increase the relevance of command,
permitting faster and better direction of forces whilst removing the constraints imposed by
procedural control measures through improved BM. Furthermore, higher states of network
connectivity27 have the potential to transform radically the way that control is exercised
because, although control will always require human oversight, it will be increasingly
automated, thereby reducing the load on staffs, increasing the tempo and fidelity of
decision-making, and freeing them to consider better solutions (ends).28 It will also allow
greater integration and encourage peer-to-peer interaction, permitting working amongst
communities of interest across more transparent boundaries to seize fleeting opportunities
and achieve a higher tempo without necessarily having to communicate up and down the
chains of command.29 This can lead to self-synchronization, where force elements
intuitively synchronise their actions without explicit control,30 reinforcing the tendency
towards a decentralised approach to command. It also has potentially wider benefits for
getting things done, because this dynamism will also break down the inertia inherent in
traditional collaborative, multi-discipline and multi-national organizational structures.
27. Agility. To achieve decision advantage in the face of unpredictable and more
complex future scenarios, appropriate levels of agility are required within the UK Armed
Forces, including command. The 5 attributes of agility are described in the Operate
Interim Concept.31 32 In addition, command requires two further attributes: Innovation -
the capacity of the commander to think laterally, to remain open-minded and develop novel
interpretations of the situation, out of which creative courses of action can be generated;
and Self-reflection: - the ability of the commander to reflect on his aim, methods and
command style, and the degree to which he needs to adapt in the face of changing
28. Command Intent. The unambiguous expression, widespread distribution, and clear
understanding of Command Intent are critical enablers for agility. In future, Command
Intent will arise from a quality of interaction between commanders and subordinates that is
enabled by technology. This will improve the ability of lower echelons to recognise more
often and to exploit more rapidly, opportunities without detailed forward planning. Through
the use of technology, commanders can already express their intent in the information
domain. However, this cannot capture all of the implicit and subtle nuances of face-to-face
communication. Consequently, future commanders will need to be sufficiently aware of
both the opportunities and limitations offered by networks. They should ensure that their
explicit intent is precise and that their ways of working enable appropriate opportunities for
implicit intent to be sensed and understood. Prior face-to-face interaction with colleagues
who then work in virtual environments will do much to help engender trust and
DSTL – Moffat and Alberts: - Maturity Levels for NATO NEC Command, Dstl - Dec 06.
HLOC Commentary Paragraph 203.
CBM J6 – Future Conflict: Insights from Interviews with Senior Commanders. MOD. 30 Jan 06. Page 33.
HLOC Commentary - Paragraph 204.
Responsiveness, Adaptability, Flexibility, Resilience and Acuity.
Power to the Edge (Op. Cit.), Chap 8 has a fuller discussion of Agile Command.
Agile Command (Op. Cit.), Paragraph 13.
29. Shared Situational Awareness. All participants in a shared enterprise are most
effectively employed when they are able to share information and gain a broadly similar
view of situations and events. Enabled by the aggressive collection and rapid processing
of information from a variety of open and discreet sources, the initial appreciation of an
unfolding situation is reinforced and refined by constant re-evaluation and assessment of
what is known and what is not known in order to provide the foundation for contextual
sense and decision-making. The resulting cognitive clarity and operational agility
delivered by this enhanced shared awareness should energise networked capabilities,
increase tempo and significantly enhance decision-making, especially in complex, dynamic
situations. However, it is self-evident that situations with a high proportion of variable or
unknown factors and susceptible to the operation of chance and human agency are
unlikely to be amenable to this depth and breadth of scrutiny. In these circumstances, a
commonly agreed picture and general themes are all that may be achievable. At best, the
enhanced level of SSA promised by better ISTAR and networked C2 connectivity should
deliver a more accurate picture in order to form a basis on which risk assessments can be
made. In these cases, a commander and his staff will need to rely on intellect and intuition
to supplement the picture provided, however imperfectly, by intelligence. The unavoidable
gaps in knowledge and the organic nature of crises and conflict confirm the sound
reasoning that human factors and processes, along with adaptive training, coherent
doctrine and the incorporation of operational experience, should continue to influence
decisively the design of systems that will enable future situational awareness.
30. Shared Situational Understanding. Good SSA combined with the unambiguous
transmission of Command Intent should allow sense-making, promote Shared Situational
Understanding (SSU) and lead to effective decision-making. However, in conceptual as
well as practical terms, this cannot be faultlessly attained, owing to differences in
perception, background and experience, so a realistic goal is a sufficient degree of SSU.34
Training, doctrine, and experience must be developed so that commanders and operators
share a common frame of reference even though they might interpret the results
differently. Furthermore, decentralisation requires regular contact through other means to
ensure that shared understanding, much of which is normally implicit, is explicitly or
formally maintained and differences in interpretation and understanding are quickly
31. Mission Command. Agility depends upon the appropriate, responsible delegation of
decision authority. In the Information Age, Mission Command will retain its relevance in all
types of envisaged operations, because the most effective system for command in
complex, dynamic situations is based on a combination of decentralised command and
flexible pragmatic doctrine that encourages lower-level initiative, enterprise and
operational competence. Furthermore, Mission Command provides a degree of resilience,
including safeguarding against degradation of the network, to ensure that decision-making
and tempo are maintained, even when networks are penetrated or unavailable. Although
a commander will, to a greater or lesser extent, share his subordinates‟ picture and be
able to monitor, influence or direct activities from remote and mobile locations, gaps in
knowledge, the operation of chance and the frictions associated with military activity will
persist. Commanders will therefore need to define missions and provide resources for
subordinates, but delegate authority wherever feasible to encourage freedom of action and
promote initiative and agility in the conduct of activity at lower levels. Mission Command
will be based upon giving subordinates a clear understanding of Command Intent within a
Unifying Theme and conferring both the means and freedom with which to achieve
NEC2 Analytical Concept (Op. Cit.), Paragraph 10.
objectives. It will retain its relevance because an operational commander who will, in a
fast-moving, complex situation, increasingly have to concentrate on the realisation of a
broad range of effects will necessarily delegate authority for the conduct of activities and
the achievement of objectives. In any case, the use of initiative will be needed in those
circumstances where the situation has fundamentally changed and the system as a whole
has not had time to recognise the resultant opportunities and risks. Precise command
arrangements and relationships will rely on the interplay of personalities, ethos and
competencies, as well as the degree of control and resolution that a commander assesses
that he has over the situation.35 However, as a general rule, it seems likely that
responsible delegation and de-centralisation will allow the most effective use of the talents
of enabled subordinates, especially in relation to the integration offered by increasingly
inter-connected networks and the separation of activities and effects inherent in an EBA.
32. Command Intervention. Selective intervention may be required by superiors to
exploit opportunities and mitigate risks that might not be appreciated by subordinates,
either because of overload, inexperience, mission-fixation or lack of visibility of the wider
picture. This aspect means that commanders, subordinates and staffs will need to be
constantly adaptive, with the presumption of delegation of command, realism and trust.
Intervention will still be possible at various levels if intent is not being followed – or if a
subordinate is lost or incapacitated by enemy or other action or, indeed, if elements of the
network are penetrated, degraded or destroyed. However, commanders should be wary of
allowing subordinates routinely to fall into a dependency culture, characterised by
deference to superior guidance and direction. Commanders, therefore, need to be
sufficiently experienced to know when and how to direct, and subordinates to know when
to seek direction or advice, although this is harder to achieve when forces do not share a
common ethos such as in coalition or wider interagency operations.
33. Collaborative Planning. Technology, a Joint mentality and culture, and the
networked environment promise to allow appropriately equipped commanders,
subordinates and staffs to plan collaboratively. This must be command-led and should
aim to improve the understanding of intent, the integrity of the presentation of shared
information and maintain operationally decisive tempo. In particular, it should enable near
synchronous planning and execution of a wide range of activities in support of effects.
Force elements will increasingly be able to plan and prepare for activities in response to
external cues and without necessarily being specifically ordered to do so, based on an
array of chat-room type Communities of Interest whose character will reflect the scale and
range of necessary activity. As such, improved SSA should allow continual adjustment in
response to events, while identifying significant risks and opportunities in time for them to
be mitigated or exploited.
34. Synchronisation. More flexible arrangements for command and control across
function, environment and coalition will inevitably lead to the alteration of existing methods,
particularly in relation to traditional hierarchical planning, execution and communication.
Self-synchronisation, high levels of assurance and reductions in friction within a sustained
operational tempo will only be possible if there is: clear and consistent understanding of
Command Intent; accurate and timely intelligence; SSA; sufficient SSU, collective and
individual competence at all levels of command; and trust in information, intelligence,
subordinates, superiors, peers and equipment. An adaptive, de-centralised command and
control process will seek to resolve the tension between freedom of action and the
requirement to align strategic and operational goals by synchronising subordinate actions
Stewart; - Mission Command in the Networked Era. (Op. Cit.).
with higher-level intent to restore freedom of action to the lowest possible levels. Although
difficult to achieve, more so in coalitions where cultures and command philosophies vary,
the result is invariably much higher tempo and greater agility.
35. Joint BM.36 This area of control includes SSA and collaborative planning.37 It will
become increasingly challenging in the future because of the need to maintain advantage
in high intensity warfare and to seize fleeting opportunities against irregular adversaries in
complex environments, all of which will make the traditional procedural de-confliction of
forces and their activities less appropriate or useful. The number of organizations involved
in planning and co-ordinating activities will also increase the complications involved in Jt
BM. The development of networked BM tools will increase automation of BM functions but
the requirement for human contact and liaison will endure. Furthermore, the ability to use
reversionary measures will be required to provide resilience in the event of the loss of the
network, driving a requirement for networks to degrade gracefully whenever possible in
order to avoid instantaneous catastrophic loss of functionality and awareness.
36. The organization of command is determined by many factors including geography,
environments, task or function based structures, Joint,38 Combined or Inter-agency bodies,
and communities of interest, such as air space co-ordination, intelligence or
communications, that have horizontal and/or vertical linkages. Levels and span of
command such as the NATO conventions of OPCOM and OPCON are also used39 and the
inter-relationship between of the various factors, and the way that they change through the
phases of an operation, are unlikely to diminish in the future and must be considered when
designing a command organization. However, it is often not the way that command is
organized that is critical, but the boundaries or seams and divisions that the organization
implies. The difficulties of working together in the same space without risk of conflicting
actions leading to unintended consequences, such as fratricide, usually fixes organizations
on either geographic or environmental lines, or through time in the form of sequencing.
These environmentally based command structures also bring a legacy of stove piped
doctrine, ethos, funding, and capabilities, especially communications architecture, tactics,
37. Evidence indicates that information sharing and collaboration tend to disrupt existing
organizational decision making processes, authorities and values based on information
compartmentalization, centralised planning and chains of command. Therefore, rigid
boundaries seem likely to become progressively blurred as military communities of interest
form, in response to specific circumstances, up and down, within each level and with
agencies and entities outside existing chains of command and organization. This
suggests that any framework should be adaptable in relation to the context of a situation
and should be flexible, with open architecture that allows contact up and down and across
boundaries. For this reason, no fixed generic solution will meet the requirement for all
situations, and a range of scaleable, flexible command organizations, that bring or are able
to access different skills and experience, and are able to adapt to meet the circumstances
of any given operation will be required. Furthermore, Commanders and their staff will
JDP 370 Joint Battlespace Management (Op. Cit.).
JDN 1/07 Joint Action (Op. Cit.), Paragraph 126.
JDP 01 Joint Operations, Chapter 4.
JDP 3-00 - Joint Ops Execution.
Future Conflict (Op Cit.), Page 33.
require maturity, experience and training to be comfortable and effective with this more
dynamic and fluid way of command.
38. Modularity. Command organizations must be designed to be agile and specifically
flexible, adaptable and responsive to be able to change to meet the demands of specific
operations and to be successful in the face of the enemy. Conversely, systems, command
structures and networks will need to have robustness and a degree of redundancy to cope
with technological failure and attacks on command and control capabilities. A modular
approach to HQ design will best achieve this and enable the exploitation of Reachout and
adaptive command that is required.41 With the advent of the EBA, the traditional J1-9 staff
branches may no longer be appropriate as generic, effects-based structures develop and
take on more flexible characteristics. More agile, network-enabled control, centred on
automated systems, open architectures and higher levels of synchronisation, should
encourage leaner, modular command and HQ solutions.42
HUMAN ASPECTS OF COMMAND
39. Command has key elements of leadership, decision-making, and risk taking which,
together with personal contact, underpin the way humans work together. The functions
and art of leadership are well represented in current doctrine,43 44 are unlikely to change
and need not be explored in any detail, save to note deductions for conceptual
development. However, the growth of information technology and ability to work in a more
dispersed organization raise challenges for these elements of command at a distance that
should be considered. Human factors and processes, along with adaptive training,
coherent doctrine and the incorporation of operational experience, must continue to
influence the design of systems that will enhance situational awareness. Not all civilian
and coalition partners will be able to operate fluently with novel, networked, and
collaborative command systems; therefore, the ability to operate with, and incorporate,
traditional and less sophisticated command structures will need to be retained.
40. Leadership. The commander alone has responsibility and authority for ensuring that
his plan delivers the best chances of success in relation to the prevailing circumstances.
Leadership will rely on the balance and range of personalities and human capabilities
within an organizational structure, but the character, style and experience of the
commander will have the greatest influence on the way in which leadership is exercised in
response to circumstances. The commander needs to have an almost contradictory
balance of character: “ingenious, energetic, careful, full of stamina and presence of mind
… loving and tough, straightforward and crafty, ready to gamble everything and wishing to
have everything, generous, greedy, trusting, and suspicious.”45 Furthermore, the
leadership of Service personnel needs courage and personal example to inspire others to
carry out their tasks whilst putting themselves in harm‟s way. It entails stress and potential
psychological implications, particularly the acceptance of taking and inflicting casualties.
Therefore, because warfare and operations will continue to be overwhelmingly a human
endeavour, leadership will retain its relevance and may increase its importance in the
Information Age, especially as commanders become, through networking, potentially more
BDD (Op. Cit.), Chapters 5 and 8.
Leadership in Defence. Defence Leadership Centre. MOD 2004.
Xenophon the Greek quoted in Brearley – The Art of Captaincy (2 Ed). Channel 4 Books. 2001.
41. Leadership Styles. Different situations will demand different styles of leadership,
implying varying amounts of regulation and delegation, inspiration and coercion.
Currently, the same broad dynamics apply in the exercise of command in all environments,
but there are differences of emphasis that reflect the nature of the tasks. In future, in more
dispersed organizations these nuances must be appreciated and considered. Whilst the
human element that lies at the heart of the function of command will need to persist, the
dynamics may be progressively adapted as network enabled command matures and the
integrated use of automated, over-the-horizon systems alters sensor-shooter-decision
maker relationships. Owing to technological and communications advances, the tempo of
events and decisions at the strategic level will in future usually require decisions and
actions to be taken at tactical pace. Furthermore, at the operational and tactical levels,
traditional competencies may not be enough and a much wider range of personalities,
aptitudes, and techniques will be required to reflect not only a higher tempo, network-
enabled environment, but also the dynamic and complex character of the need to interact
with a much more diverse range of partners and collaborators. Commanders will continue
to need intellectual agility, personal robustness, and appropriate experience and will
require both formal and self-education to cope with the significant, often unexpected, and
unfamiliar demands placed upon them.
42. Leadership in the CA. Non-governmental and even other UK Government
Departments have different agendas and more informal administrative arrangements, with
the accent on cooperation, consultation and inclusiveness, rather than formalised
command and control, unity of effort and order associated with military culture and
structures. Command will therefore need to explore methods that, when appropriate, use
partnering and other less formal arrangements to adopt a more consultative approach that
incorporates other agencies and the local population, addresses challenges and
overcomes existing power balances. A major contribution to achieve coherent action is
collaborative analysis of the problem. Failure to do this leads to an incoherent strategy
where differences are not resolved, but simply ignored and the effects felt throughout the
command chain. The hierarchical and output focused military approach needs to be
matched by a more consultative and transformational style that emphasises the value of
an inclusive and appropriate process.
43. Decision-Making. Decision-making is rightly the responsibility of commanders at
each and every level since “nothing is so important in war as undivided command ... long
discussions and councils of war will terminate in the adoption of the worst course, which in
war is the most timid or, if you will, the most prudent.”46 Timely, accurate and effective
decision-making will enable success in operations, adaptive command and the
optimisation of tempo. Decisions rely on human interpretation, judgement and intuition,
based on situational awareness and perception, but are assisted by and communicated
through the information domain. IM will be required to ensure that the potentially
overwhelming volume of information does not obstruct or overload the human capacity for
exercise of judgement and decision making. Commanders will need to be more precise in
determining their information requirements and decision paralysis should be mitigated by
discriminating technological applications, rigorous harvesting of information and more
flexible and adaptable user-friendly means of assessing, prioritising and presenting
information and selecting actionable intelligence.
Napoleon Bonaparte quoted by John Nott in an address to RUSI in reference to the role of the Prime
Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her leadership of the War Cabinet during the Falklands War. RUSI Journal
Vol 152 no. 2 pp 74-77. April 07.
44. Risk Taking. A fundamental difference between most civil management and military
leadership is the role of decision-making, especially when the judgement of risk involves
potential injury, loss of life or a threat to vital national interests. It also has to be accepted
that the judicious taking of risks is vital to successful warfighting and prevailing in marginal
situations. However, media influence and legal considerations increase the political need
to assume personal responsibility for activity at every level and in all circumstances,
leading to risk aversion, prevarication and indecision. To maintain agility and to avoid
decision paralysis, commanders need to recognise, understand and manage these issues,
by demonstrating the ethos and moral courage to confront and accept reasonable risks,
encourage prudent risk taking and sharing and to ensure freedom of action at appropriate
levels through Mission Command.
45. Personal Contact. In more flexible conditions, the commander will still need to
energise and inspire the human elements of the network, for which he will often be a
remote and rarely visualised figure, through elevated leadership, management and
communication skills, often reinforced by his reputation, the fluent transmission of his
intent, instructions and values and his public profile. Nevertheless, multi-national
organizations, such as Naval Task Groups or air packages, have for many years been
able to come together and work effectively with minimal face-to-face contact, building trust
on common doctrine, procedures, training and effective performance. However, there is
no real substitute for face-to-face contact and shared experience, particularly in the form of
exercises and training packages that reinforce teamwork, collaborative working and mutual
trust. Complex operations, such as those undertaken across the environmental seams
require, as a minimum, integrated training ahead of operational commitment. This
requirement is strongest where credibility, trust and implicit understanding are weakest
and potentially unable to support a distant relationship such as in coalition of unfamiliar
partners or wider operations.47 A significant factor in determining the location of the
commander will be the demands for his personal influence and contact, such as in critical
engagement with other leaders, both military and civil, or where such links are hardest to
replicate through dispersed means.
46. Unity of Purpose. It is likely that some allies and partners, even if they have the
appropriate technology, will have cultural, procedural or linguistic differences that create
friction and a slowing of tempo. These could range from ethical and moral differences to
the interpretation of Rules of Engagement (ROE). The British method of command may
not be practised by all likely partners, but most should be able to operate within the new,
streamlined effects-based philosophy, retaining as it does the central premises of unity of
purpose and, where possible, unity of command. In these consensual coalitions, trust and
decisions need to be bound by recognition of what can be agreed to avoid the
contravention of national caveats. This requires the nurture of appropriate influence and
UK Armed Forces will therefore continue to need experienced commanders and staffs who
have the necessary diplomatic, negotiating, and influencing skills and instincts to ensure
the engagement and effective cooperation of a diverse range of actors within a situation
and throughout the continuum of operations when in a leadership or supporting role. The
selection of well-placed, competent and trusted liaison officers at an early stage will
support this process.
Future Conflict (Op. Cit.), Page 25.
IMPLICATIONS OF AGILE COMMAND
47. In designing for agility, the ability to integrate with a wide range of potential partners,
the adoption of modular HQ structures and supporting organizations that can facilitate de-
centralised command, Reachout and dispersed working will, along with training
requirements, have implications for the peacetime administration of subordinate units,
especially for Land. Recent deployments illustrate how force packaging, particularly in the
Land environment, has led to redundancy in some areas between units and parent HQs,
as well as conflicting roles between the parent HQs and operational HQs. It suggests that
a review of the administrative and regional command of some units should be undertaken,
in order to optimise structures and assets for the demands of future operational situations.
48. Responsiveness. Command organizations need to be physically responsive to the
likely range, scale, duration and readiness requirements of operations. The continuum of
conflict requires commanders to anticipate and recognise changing circumstances, to
maintain tempo and the initiative in the transition points between phases of an operation,
to exploit fleeting opportunities and, in addition, to ensure the right mix of forces is
available to execute tasks. To insure against unpredictability, there needs to be command
activity before potential crises occur to establish links, build influence, and develop
understanding (acuity) of emerging situations. It is too late (and not agile) to try to learn
about a situation, especially complex human factors, once a crisis has occurred.
Moreover, without such activity the responsive opportunities to undertake deterrent or
coercive influence activity will have already passed, leaving no option, but to cede the
initiative. To be fully effective, there needs to be a unified cross-Government policy and
standing command relationships with OGDs to co-ordinate the role of Defence in wider
activity, for example Defence Diplomacy.
49. Adaptability. Current capabilities are characterised by organizations that are
configured for assumed circumstances, usually combat / warfighting, in a single
environment. However, HQs are often required to undertake a wider range of Military
Tasks, with responsibilities that differ from those for which they are designed, including
component or contingent command, operating in a broad multi-agency role, or acting as a
model for a JTFHQ.48 This requires a significant degree of ad hoc reorganization,
including a major augmentation bill, reliance upon the flexibility of personnel and has
penalties in terms of responsiveness or being fit for task. This reliance on ad hoc
arrangements through crisis management, rather than designing and building adaptability
into organizations, will not support the desired levels of agility in the future.49 Above all,
they will scarcely be able to cope with adversaries whose ways of operating and decision
cycles confer greater agility and tempo. For the future, UK Command organizations will
therefore need to have agility (in all its forms) at the core of their design, know which roles
and functions they can fulfil within readiness and what is required during force generation
to adapt to different roles, assimilate other functions and new equipment. Modularity and
the use of Reachout will assist here, and some HQs by virtue of their size, specialization or
more Joint nature are already better able to cope with this than others. These examples
may provide the initial basis for future work.
JDP3-00 (Op. Cit.), Paragraph 211.
Qinetiq: Dodd, L. - Future HQ Requirements – Far term Study: Deployed HQs, adhocracies or adaptive
organisations? Qinetiq report CR020627. Apr 2002.
50. Resilience. The physical and moral elements of resilience are largely the preserve
of the Protect JIC. In command terms, delegated Mission Command, widespread
understanding of Command Intent and training in basic skills enable the organization to
function effectively even in an uncertain environment or when under stress. It is important
that networks are able to degrade gracefully to lower levels of effectiveness and
connectivity and that control functions have the ability to revert to reversionary or
procedural measures, especially for BM.
51. Acuity. Future command agility requires a better understanding of adversaries, the
operational environment and cultural nuances, underscoring the role of the Inform function
as an essential enabler, especially in terms of ISTAR and Intelligence. Decision
advantage through SSA and SSU can only be achieved if appropriate information is
available in a timely manner. To turn information and intelligence into actionable
understanding requires agility, in terms of a responsive sense-making process, including
adaptable Information Systems and an adaptive decision cycle. This will have implications
for future development in the way in which future campaigning is planned and managed. 50
52. Flexibility. The ability to adjust rapidly to an unforeseen circumstance and dynamic
situation,51 and to achieve success through different ways 52 when engaged with a
consciously agile adversary requires the right people imbued with an independent ethos,
who are open minded and enabled by experience. The adoption of an EBA will require a
command organization that is flexible enough to sense change and adapt to achieve
success through well-practised Mission Command, especially the confidence among
subordinates to depart from a plan in order to take the most appropriate action. Such
flexibility supports the ability to seize the initiative and maintain momentum.
53. Legal Agility. Future commanders (and their staffs and C2 arrangements) will need
to consider the likelihood of increasing levels of scrutiny and legal compliance, especially
concerning decision-making and the use of force. Command therefore needs to remain
legally compliant and accountable at all levels and can achieve this legal agility by:
a. Demonstrating and cascading a robust understanding (acuity) of legal and
public service responsibilities and obligations;
b. Being responsive to legal issues, which requires agile legal support,
available to the commander, using pre-rehearsed anticipatory legal argument with
developed, approved and unambiguous Rules of Engagement;
c. Being resilient in the face of legal challenges, using comprehensive evidence
to support the case for seeking a justifiable exemption, embracing and making a
virtue of unavoidable compliance, protecting and supporting exposed personnel or,
when culpable, providing a straightforward admission;
d. Being adaptable and flexible when moving within complex situations, from
warfighting to constabulary or humanitarian operations, especially when operating in
an area of legal uncertainty, by applying common, natural and accepted legal
DSTO – Grisogono and Ryan: - Operationalising Adaptive Campaigning. 12 ICCRTS CCRP. June 2007.
Power to the Edge (Op. Cit.). Page 143.
54. Modular HQs. Modular HQs should have a core command capability, adding or
dispensing with skill sets as required to give them a wider range of capability. 53 This would
offer much improved flexibility and the ability to flatten or manage HQ size and numbers,
dynamically changing them through the phases of an operation. The choice of staff
elements can be from a scaleable parent organization or from supporting organizations,
including Reserves, which provide support through deployable teams or Reachout
services. These additional teams need to be task-organized, parented, trained, and able
to deploy and withdraw seamlessly as the situation dictates. Modular HQs will also need
to have a philosophy that welcomes the incorporation of new skill sets, especially those
which might in the past have been unfamiliar and from a wider range of expertise. The
implication of this is that common HQ templates, doctrine, operating procedures and staff
training, such as in the Joint Ops Standards or NATO STANAGs, is needed to promote
familiarity and effectiveness. Also, as recognised in the HLOC, this aspect will have
implications for the employment of Reserves. However, whilst diversity of experience is
considered a strength, this should not mean that each HQ is unrecognizable from another
or unnecessarily changed at the whim of individual personalities. The aim of this common
operating standard is not cloned HQs, but to ensure that support organizations are all
working to the same criteria. Personnel need to integrate quickly, concentrating on output,
without having to spend too long in establishing relationships and modalities.
COMBINED, JOINT INTEGRATION
55. Component and Contingent Command. US, NATO or other allies and potential
coalition members are likely to continue to employ a component command structure.
Therefore, UK forces will have to be able to operate in harmony with these arrangements.
UK forces also need to understand the difference between component command in a
national Joint context (or as a lead or framework nation) and when exercising national
contingent command within a Combined context. Maritime and Air forces integrate easily
within environmental components, contributing an element to HQs, often providing the
deputy commander, and contributing force elements that are usually tasked in
multinational groupings. However, the frictions and complexities inherent in the Land
environment, and differing levels of network integration, normally mean that operations are
carried out on a geographic basis and that national command is exercised at brigade level
and below. This is because that is the lowest level formation (based on traditional
warfighting practice) able to task organize organic (national) elements to take in the full
range of likely tasks. However, in recent operations, multinational formations have
increasingly looked to absorb smaller elements and ongoing practice indicates the
potential for more innovative designs and functions for Joint and Land environment HQs
that exploit the opportunities presented by collaborative working and network technologies.
It follows that the most appropriate level of command for holding national contingent
responsibilities within a coalition Land Component structure needs to be, and will be,
56. Provision of Coalition HQs. Coalition leadership drives the need for an enduring
capability to undertake component and contingent command in alliances and coalitions. 54
For warfighting operations, it will be necessary to train and maintain a cadre of
commanders, in each Service, capable of commanding forces at formation level and
above. In order to ensure UK influence on decision making and campaign design, it will
also be important to maintain the national capacity to contribute senior officers and
Ibid. Pages 155-57.
VCDS NEC C2 Workshop (Op. Cit).
experienced staff officers to the manning of complex multinational command and control
structures. This may warrant the provision of command organizations one level up from
that which would be required to command a purely national operation or contribution.
57. Combined Integration Issues. Technical interoperability with allies, especially the
US, will remain necessary to credible network delivery. The priority should be to achieve
Joint interoperability in the Combined context, to obviate the possibility of incomplete
networks, incompatible systems and inefficient use of resources and additional training.
However, a networked capability involves organizations and personnel as well as
equipment, and the integrating role of command is important through regular training, the
early establishment of liaison functions and by the design of UK command organizations
that are compatible, and able to interface, with the US or others.
58. Whither Componency? Experience and conceptual development already indicate
that environmental componency need not always be assumed, as long as there is
sufficient environmental advice and capability to exert the required control within a Joint
command. When an operation is focused on a single environment - or in small scale or
less complex operations led by the JFHQ55 - possibilities exist to use an organization
based upon different functions, or indeed utilising effects-based logic. Nevertheless, a
componency-based organization is more appropriate when the character and complexity
of a situation or operation means that the span of direct command of certain environmental
elements needs to be delegated to a specialist component commander. This would
typically occur at Medium Scale or above, especially at the transition point between a 1*
and 2* Joint HQ.56 Many specialist areas and strategic assets, such as submarines or
certain ISTAR capabilities, could be retained under centralised control, exercised either
directly by the Joint Commander or through the network.57 Also suitable for component
command are lower intensity or discrete sections of a campaign that do not require
additional Joint assets or oversight, such as maritime refuelling or force protection of the
land and maritime lines of communication in the face of low-level threats, and
environmental control functions, such as theatre Airspace Control.
59. Proponency. Environmental Commanders provide the parenting function for
deployed forces; they sustain them, prepare and re-role them for operations when not
actively engaged and provide expertise and advice to the Joint Commander. To describe
this function the term Proponency58 is more appropriate and, in the absence of formal
component or contingent arrangements, allowance needs to be made for proponency
functions within a command organization.
60. Environments and Componency. There is, therefore, an enduring requirement to
be able to command component based structures, but increasingly, all environmentally
based HQs of any significance will be able to command agile forces across traditional
environmental boundaries. A range of Joint and environmental HQs will be required, that
will, through more modular structures and networking, be able routinely to undertake an
increasingly broad range of tasks both within traditional environments and across seams.
PJHQ - Small Scale C2 and CIS: – A think piece and potential action plan. PJHQ. Apr 06.
VCDS NEC C2 Workshop (Op. Cit).
DOC Operational Lessons Study Report Nov 03. - Lesson 0162 (OPCON of SSNs).
Capewell; Brig David – The UK Approach to Componency: An audit of national Operational architecture
and best practice. PJHQ. Oct 04.
COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH AND INTERAGENCY INTEGRATION
61. Integration. The implementation of the CA has implications for future command
arrangements. Integration has proved difficult across government departments because of
different scales of manning, divergent philosophies and differing functions. The CA JDN59
points out ways in which co-operation, integration, understanding and collaborative
working can be improved and work to examine this further is under way through the CA
Working Group and several exercises and experiments. However, as in Joint integration,
the CA delivers a range of complementary skills that can be matched to individual
situations and the design and practice of future HQs and their functions need to take the
requirement for CA engagement into account.
62. Implications for CA Organisations. Therefore, HQs need to be able to understand
and co-ordinate the realisation of effects in a CA environment, either as a core capability
or through modularity by the incorporation of specialist cells and skill sets. In this respect,
Reserve Forces have an important role, with their links to civil populations and their needs,
in more complex, diverse situations. The command arrangements and how Armed Forces
interact with other agencies in the context of the CA will be the subject of further
development, in conceptual as well as in the other relevant DLoDs, notably Training,
Infrastructures and Organization.
63. Implications for Networks. To be effective within a particular situation, networked
capability needs to be delivered across and within the communities to allow common SSA
and SSU. In a mature network state, this means that the Armed Forces, on a Joint,
Interagency and multi-national basis, will be able to interact with all the necessary
connectivity, detail and latency that is appropriate for their needs. Agile command in these
circumstances will require sophisticated infrastructure planning and dynamic management
to ensure that appropriate connectivity and safeguards are maintained, while retaining the
agility and access required for the synchronisation of complex projects and activities.
WORKING EFFECTIVELY IN A DISPERSED ORGANIZATION
64. Future conflict will require the effective command and control of distributed forces to
deliver agility and realise coherent effects. Furthermore, networking will allow elements of
the command organization itself to be dispersed if desirable in order to balance the choice
of geographical location between where the command is best placed from a pure
command perspective and to realise benefits for other areas, such as deployed footprint,
force protection, and sustainment. However, dispersed HQs demand network resilience,
location, trust,60 team building, and assurances about accountability. 61 62 Despite being
away from the front-line, the collocation of operational level HQs offers a number of
advantages, through exerting influence in terms of face-to-face contact between coalition
and UK HQs, reduction in duplication of staff effort and economies of scale in terms of
DCDC - JDN 4/05 - The Comprehensive Approach. MOD. Jan 06.
Leggatt and McGuiness – Factors influencing information trust and distrust in a sensemaking task. BAE
Systems 11 CCRTS, Cambridge. Sep 06.
DSTL – De Looy-Hyde: - Dispersed Teamwork: Leadership, Communications and Relationship building
through technology. DSTL paper WP24162. 2007
Qinetiq: - Henderson, Molloy, Pascual, and Outteridge – Distributed and ad hoc teamworking: A review of
research since 1999. Qinetiq report TR0606919. May 2006.
65. Compression of Command Structures. Agility, and the way in which a more
developed NEC will allow improved sharing of information and the ability to work in a
dispersed community may enable the removal and flattening of command nodes and
structures. Although there is potential to site some functions at the operational level
elsewhere, away from theatre, the complete removal of an HQ in this way is undesirable
because of the need for operational command to be located in theatre for face-to-face
interaction with key civilian personalities or other military partners. However, once the
network is sufficiently developed and peer-to-peer interaction established there is potential
to flatten structures within the tactical level, for operational and tactical HQs to be co-
located, or for both functions to be managed within the same HQ, especially for the UK
national HQ within a wider coalition organization. Maritime and Air, currently networked
and with fewer moving parts have already made progress in this area and there is scope to
do so in the Land environment once the technological enablers become available. 63 The
implications for force packaging, for example, by moving towards more integrated
formations and for tactical level HQs to be able to command dynamically force packaged
more agile task groups, will be further investigated. However, there can also be a
tendency for the direction of operations to be undertaken higher up the command chains
because of political imperatives, thereby requiring compensation and re-adjustment to
reflect the realities of compression elsewhere.64
66. Distributed Collaborative Planning. As well as sharing information and supporting
a commander, collaborative planning requires a dispersed group to act as a single entity,
based on protocols and tools that promote the interactive exchange of ideas and the
coherent formulation of shared understanding. Skills must be developed through training
in IM, standard formats, the use of distributed, collaborative planning tools, automated
decision support and automated control. Commanders and their staff will have to develop
trust without, or with a minimum of, face to face contact with their colleagues within
Communities of Interest and across diverse chains of command and contact. They will
also have to learn to operate using Reachout across cultures and time zones to people,
who are subject to different cultural assumptions and operational imperatives. NEC will
require remote briefing technologies, face-to-face meetings, early personal interaction
within the electronic environment and specialist training. Consideration of human factors
involved in building and maintaining trust in this new environment is therefore required if
effective working in a dispersed organization is to be implemented.
67. Reachout. If the network allows, a dispersed HQ can be configured to use Reachout
to access a wide range of support without the penalties of footprint, logistical effort, force
protection, and risk to personnel.65 It will allow access to remote facilities and subject
matter experts‟ information and support from a wide range of communities of interest,
including military, OGDs, NGOs, academia, and industry.66 The functions of command
that are best suited to be detached from the core HQ need to be identified, with those that
need to be closest to the commander characterised by immediacy, complexity and risk.
Staff functions, such as deliberate and contingency planning, operational analysis and
mission wargaming, and architecture construction may be more suitable to take place
outside the theatre.67 However, Reachout has issues of accountability, responsibility, and
ownership centred on the maintenance of trust. There is a challenge for staff in terms of
VCDS NEC C2 Workshop (Op. Cit), Pages 69 – 70.
Ibid. Page 69.
Future Conflict (Op. Cit.), Page 7.
NEC2 Analytical Concept (Op. Cit.).
flexibility of thought and of sufficient SSU because there is a point when the need to brief
remote personnel outweighs the benefit derived from their support.68 Cost and resilience
of the network are also issues, and the balance between the use of Reachout and forward-
deployed personnel will require careful consideration in the C2 estimate, particularly with
regard to network capacity, bearer security and bandwidth availability. 69 Improved flows of
actionable information and distributed working based on Reachout should tend to reduce
staff numbers required in theatre and limit the potential for friction. The progressive
adoption of Reachout has significant implications for organization and infrastructure, both
in terms of support to HQs in theatre and in respect of the requisite infrastructure in the UK
and needs further study.
COMMANDING AN AGILE FORCE
68. A fundamental benefit of a well-networked force is the ability to command more
effectively by attaining decision superiority through a more agile state of network enabled
command than an opponent,70 especially in high intensity combat / warfighting situations.
Agile forces have the capability to achieve both self-synchronisation of Joint Action and the
dynamic grouping of agile and potentially dispersed force for operations, either in parallel
with other operations or as a discrete operation itself.71
69. In the future, military activity will be characterised by a kaleidoscopic operational
space that contains action areas, defined in time and space by the features of the overall
situation, the Effects that have to be realised and the activity set that is required. These
defined action areas would expand or contract depending on the task set and any
opportunities that might arise as a result of direct or collateral activity. Objectives would be
achieved by the actions of a combination of forces operating both within and from outside
the action area. In some cases, forces held on a cab-rank or loiter basis or non-military
assets might be assigned and controlled to cover multiple action areas at once, tasked by
a central authority, but available to apply force or influence under the positive direction of
the authorities controlling individual action areas. Within the action area itself, command
and control arrangements could be tailored or task-based according to the scale and
character of assigned forces, the range of collaborative partners and degree of footprint
required. However, the ability to share will also be determined by the nature of the task,
the suitability of equipment for it and the actual practicalities of sharing. Sharing does not
reduce the amount of combat capability in quantitative terms, but should increase the
tempo and effectiveness of its employment, especially in relation to an opponent. The
mechanisms of sharing, whether apportionment, bidding, trading, or dealing, and the
human factors of trust, competition and compromise, all affect the way in which activity is
conducted. This aspect of Agile command will be subject to further conceptual research
70. More agile control, centred on automated systems and with higher levels of self-
synchronization, should in turn encourage modular command, adaptive instincts and
headquarters solutions. It would require commanders and their staffs to operate within
flexible and adaptive structures, supported and supporting, acting, reacting and
configurable as circumstance demand. At the same time, the theatre commander will
have a much closer and more direct relationship to his commanders, suggesting flatter
Future Conflict (Op. Cit.), Page 35.
NEC2 Analytical Concept (Op. Cit.), Paragraph 28.
DSTL – Moffat and Alberts: - Maturity levels for NATO NEC Command. (Op. Cit.).
DCDC - AMG discussion paper (Op. Cit.).
command arrangements.72 This form of command would need to be adapted if there were
significant political or legal constraints, requiring frequent recourse to a higher level, or
when there are units under command that could not implement agility through networking,
such as less able coalition partners. These might include some Joint or Standing Military
Tasks, home based operations involving OGDs and other agencies, broad based Coalition
operations, or low intensity enduring tasks.
71. Dynamic Force Packaging. Agile Command of Dynamic Force Packages is an
Information Age Way of command when network enabled forces, which are agile in nature,
form into a task-Organised grouping (Means) to undertake a specific mission (Ends) that is
limited in time and space. This differs from Industrial Age processes by being network
enabled and therefore able to synchronise across traditional structural boundaries.
Dynamic Force Packaging requires common understanding of command intent within a
unifying theme. It assumes the provision of sufficient assets and the adoption of mission
command, including peer-to-peer interaction, based on mutual trust, common training,
ethos, and doctrine, as well as SSA, interoperable BM, and an increasing level of SSU.
72. Joint Command of Agile forces. To implement Joint Action, environmentally based
HQs, alongside their core functions, will need to be capable, both organically and through
modular design, of operating across an allocated span of Joint tasking if required. As well
as enabling such HQs to adapt quickly between component and Joint responsibilities, this
will also provide the skill-sets needed to ensure familiarity with the demands of a JIM
environment. The lowest level of Joint command is currently embodied in 1* HQs. In the
future, greater synchronisation will be possible lower down, probably at the tactical level.
This trend implies a requirement for more flexible plug and play arrangements between all
headquarters, as well as the need to provide a greater breadth of Joint experience for
commanders at the tactical level. Similarly, Joint commanders will be required at lower
levels (OF5 and below), and subordinate HQs should be more Joint and flexible in design,
to allow them to command Combined or Joint groupings such as Dynamic Force
73. Training. Agility and synchronisation need the regular, realistic integration of
appropriate Joint and Combined training at every level, implying more sophisticated
coherence and design of force generation cycles, both within and across Service
boundaries. For operational HQs to be more responsive and flexible, it may be necessary
to allocate force generation, training and peacetime administrative responsibilities
elsewhere. This would require a review of operational, training and regional command
structures to rationalise roles and resources. Facilities also need to be provided to support
the training of commanders themselves.
74. The maintenance and further development of coherent command arrangements out
to 2030 requires a number of policy and programme decisions. It is not the role of the
JICs to judge those priorities, but the balance issues should, together with the implications
already identified, be used to inform further development work.
75. Complexity / Mass. In the past, command organizations have been designed to
undertake the largest scale, highest intensity operations and have required ad hoc
Lloyd – Commanding Agile Mission Groups: a speculative model. Journal of Defence Science, Vol 8, No
3. MOD. September 2003.
adaptation to meet other tasks. In future, command will be based on modular HQs built
around a core and utilizing variable amounts of Reachout, which will change this focus to
one that can deal with complexity and diversity. However, sufficient redundancy and
potential for regeneration must be retained in both doctrine and practice to enable the
transition to a command structure and philosophy that can cope with the possible
demands of high intensity warfare against opponents employing mass and weight. This
necessity will be even more acute if faced with the prospect of a massed adversary that is
technologically advanced and network enabled.
76. Agility / Hierachical. A balance needs to be struck between hierarchical command
organizations, which are optimised for envisaged circumstances and the requirements of
administration, and agile HQs that are matched to the realities of contingent situations as
they arise and retain the ability to cope with uncertainty and complexity.
77. Joint / Environmental HQs. The implication of all studies in support of this Concept
is that future operations will be Joint in character and all HQs need, to a greater or lesser
extent, to reflect this. The conditions and environment within which HQs can expect to
operate on a routine basis will, of course, determine their core structure and composition,
but it is likely that increasing numbers of „flyaway‟ specialist teams will be required to
supplement and enhance core HQs, depending on circumstances. It is likely that those
HQs that have the most complex command and control function – those operating in more
than one environment and those operating in the environmental seams – will be the most
routinely Joint in character, with the most agility to implement a dynamic „supported‟ and
78. Joint / Combined. Future integration on a national Joint basis needs to be balanced
against the need to work environmentally with coalition partners. The most likely and
complex scenarios should dictate priorities but steps that preclude wider interoperability in
another dimension should be avoided. This balance differs with environment. For
example, a higher degree of technical and procedural interoperability is required on a
Combined basis in the Maritime and Air environments, specifically with the US and NATO,
while for UK Land forces the immediate priority may be Joint interoperability across the
seams and procedural co-operation with local security forces.
79. Centralised / Decentralised. A balance needs to be made between physical HQs
that are centralised and potentially collocated or more dispersed virtual HQs making
greater use of Reachout and collaborative working. This balance between the use of
Reachout and forward-deployed personnel will require careful consideration in the C2
estimate, particularly with regard to network capacity, bearer security and bandwidth
availability. The benefits to command also need to be set against the benefits to be
realised in other areas such as deployed footprint, Force Protection, need for sustainment,
and exposure to risk.
80. Technical / Human. The increased use of applications such as networking, IM,
decision-support and autonomous BM will require more technically minded commanders
and staff. With control functions more detached, automated or devolved to lower levels,
commanders will also be freed to concentrate more on actual command and Operational
Art. However, limitations in what can be achieved via the network, and how quickly, must
be recognised and, where a shortfall exists, the retention of traditional methods and skill
sets should provide a degree of resilience to maintain command and decision superiority
when NEC degrades. In all cases, commanders will need to consider carefully the impact
of their networks on delivering the moral component of fighting power.
81. Directed / Mission Command. The degree to which command and control can be
devolved will be influenced by the capability and ethos of subordinates and by the degree
of familiarity with the operational environment. That environment will always be dynamic
and, despite the most intensive and persistent ISTAR coverage, characterised by a high
number of variables and uncertainties. Where resolution is high, precise grouping and
allocation of assets can occur and the control exercised at each level can be minimised,
with force elements and other participants largely self-synchronizing. Thus, high resolution
of the environment is likely to encourage Mission Command, minimise interference by
superior commanders and enhance confidence in the system. Conversely, where
resolution is poor, both opportunities and risks will increase and tasking of groups and
individual units will have to reflect and compensate for the greater degree of uncertainty,
both in terms of insuring against the unexpected and in asset allocation. Poorer situational
understanding at each level will reduce opportunities for self-synchronization and control
may have to be exercised more procedurally and rigorously. In addition, within a
Comprehensive Approach, the actions of other, non-military participants may be very
difficult to discern. However, when environmental resolution is poor, sound doctrine, a
coherent and well-understood Unifying Theme and clear command intent at all levels are
critical. In all cases, command intervention will be appropriate to change or reinforce the
82. Organic / Pooled assets. The balance between pooled assets and those that
remain organic within a unit or formation (discussed in paragraph 70) needs to be dynamic
and, in part, depends on the level of assurance required by those directly in contact with
an opponent or dealing with a situation. In addition to issues such as availability in relation
to demand, and the practicalities of sharing, other aspects include the trust induced by the
expression of agile command and the demonstration of network maturity. Only through
long familiarity in suitable training and experience from operations will an appropriate
balance emerge between assets in direct and associated support. The bottom-line will be
that the requirement for mission success and the range of risks are likely to drive the
relative criticality of close and distant assets. The Commander must have confidence that
certain capabilities will be available when required, and delegated Command Intent needs
to be backed up by sufficient resources to be able to complete tasks. To this end, ideas
and practice about self-synchronisation, accountability and assurance of support and the
rules and mechanisms for sharing will be further explored in Concept Development.
83. Limited / Enduring. Deployment on Contingent Operations Overseas will rely upon
high readiness, formed, adaptable and modular HQs, with the assumption that these
physically responsive HQs will give way in time to longer-term, follow on organizations that
will have adapted to the circumstances of a campaign as it unfolds, reflecting the varying
intensities, complexities and characteristics of a dynamic situation. More sophisticated
analysis of effects-based, outcome centred situations is likely to result in more flexible
approaches to force generation and the long-term sustainability of formed HQs.
84. Generalist / Specialist. In future, it is certain that commanders will need to be men
and women of the world, experienced across, and attuned to, a number of dimensions and
disciplines and ready to confront a variety of familiar and unfamiliar situations. Whilst core
warfighting expertise will remain the benchmark against which command of fighting power
is assessed, it may even be that „generically trained‟ commanders may not be optimally
suited to deal with certain situations, or that it is not feasible or practical to train them in a
diverse range of skills. To deal with this shortcoming, and to increase overall agility,
specialists may need to be grown, retained and utilised. In some cases, this homogeneity
can be offset by building more diversity, expertise and reach-out potential into a command
staff, but „horses for courses‟ may be the guiding principle governing the selection of
commanders of the future.
85. Regular / Reserve. The majority of command skills and experience will be required
by Regular personnel, but the importance of more diverse attributes among Reservists
(especially those with scarce specialist skills) and other supporting agencies, particularly in
leading the more broadly based „campaigns‟ associated with the Comprehensive
Approach, should not be overlooked. Similarly, arrangements that are more flexible are
required to incorporate and direct contractor support to operations, or possibly in the
future, Private Military Security companies.
86. This Concept has identified a number of capability implications and balance issues,
based on the way in which UK Armed Forces will operate out to 2030. Those elements
that are mature will be synthesised with the implications from the other JICs to inform
capability development. Less defined areas will be subject to further research and
87. The Integrated Analysis and Experimentation Supporting paper (IAESP) provides the
audit trail for the Concept, reviewed against the extant evidence base,73 74 identifies the
gaps in knowledge and sets out questions and studies to advance the Concept, together
with the funding implications of those studies. There are new 10 studies required. Nine
will cover the themes of Dispersed Command, Reconfiguring Command, Lessons
Learned, Componency in Command, Personnel in Command, Equipment for Command,
Command Interoperability, Influence/EBA and Comprehensive Approach. The tenth will
capture relevant material being produced outwith the 9 bespoke studies.
DSTL - Court and Boddington: - Initial scientific evidence in support of the Joint Command and Control
(C2) Interim Concept. Sep 06.
DSTL - Nelstrop, Houghton, Miles and Lloyd: - Report on 11 International Command and Control
Research and Technology symposium (ICCRTS) held in Cambridge 26 -28 Sep 06. Oct 06.