The tactical command and control procedure in the mirror of time

Further developments in the Armed Forces of the Second Republic

Gregor Scheucher

The Austrian Armed Forces apply a multitude of procedures and processes in order to implement missions both in times of peace and deployment. There exist tailor-made procedures for the different command and control levels. The tactical command and control levels of the land forces certainly apply the best-known procedure, the tactical command and control procedure, which, like a chameleon, has changed its appearance in the course of the decades, but has kept its essence. These operative changes of the procedure and the methods of the procedure in particular, are to be gone over, in order to show the reader why adaptations to the actualities of a mission and/or to the general conditions of a mission have been necessary. Apart from a presentation of the turning points, the reasons for the changes are to be presented in detail. These turning points can be summed up as follows: a simpler work technique for planning and decision-making which was developed middle 1990ies, bundled with the re-development of the tactics manual. This was followed by establishing interoperability, whose effects were part of the instruction on the tactical command and control procedure, which was published in 2001 and included the graphical planning procedure in the Armed Forces. Observation of the conflict areas Iraq (since 2003) and Afghanistan (since 2001), where the main object of the mission had been the combat against insurgencies, required since 2009 to most of all enhance assessing the actors and conflict parties (irregular forces) and finally to incorporate the structured derivation of non-kinetic effectors (impact)into the information environment. The key for successful planning is comprehending the effect-based thinking of land forces as well as the “joint idea” (cross connecting components). A further development of the tactics of land forces could be imposed by further improvements in the field of digitalization. Thus, a consideration of the present procedures, principles and policies appears foreseeable due to changing (weapons-) technology. The trend towards miniaturization and amalgamation of reconnaissance sensor and effector already seems to be sketched out. The following question will also have to be answered: To what extent will the further development of communication technology and of weapon systems, with regard to automation, interconnectedness and miniaturization, and artificial intelligence, affect the basic conception of military planning and the implementation of missions? One constant is generally discernible during missions: Planning as well as command and control are always connected with the fight for initiative which is mostly expressed by the tactical factor of time. The role of technology is still to be defined. According to Martin Heidegger, however, technology as a frame supports man. It does not, however, replace the thinking individual, because only man can define objectives and intentions. How this is to be considered in relation to artificial intelligence is still to be examined in the course of planning tasks.