Command and control

Command and control or C2 is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... [that] employs human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or enterprise, according to a 2015 definition by military scientists Marius Vassiliou, David S. Alberts and Jonathan R. Agre,[1][2] The term often refers to a military system.

Versions of the United States Army Field Manual 3-0 circulated circa 1999, define C2 in a military organization as the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commanding officer over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of a mission.[3][4]

A 1988 NATO definition, command and control is the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated individual over assigned resources in the accomplishment of a common goal.[5] An Australian Defence Force definition, similar to that of NATO, emphasises that C2 is the system empowering designated personnel to exercise lawful authority and direction over assigned forces for the accomplishment of missions and tasks.[6] (The Australian doctrine goes on to state: The use of agreed terminology and definitions is fundamental to any C2 system and the development of joint doctrine and procedures. The definitions in the following paragraphs have some agreement internationally, although not every potential ally will use the terms with exactly the same meaning.[6])


US perspective

The US Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms[7] defines command and control as: "The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission. Also called C2. Source: JP 1".[8]

The edition of the Dictionary "As Amended Through April 2010" elaborates, "Command and control functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the mission."[9] However, this sentence is missing from the "command and control" entry for the edition "As Amended Through 15 August 2014."[10]

Commanding officers are assisted in executing these tasks by specialized staff officers and enlisted personnel. These military staff are a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units.

The purpose of a military staff is mainly that of providing accurate, timely information which by category represents information on which command decisions are based. The key application is that of decisions that effectively manage unit resources. While information flow toward the commander is a priority, information that is useful or contingent in nature is communicated to lower staffs and units.

Computer security industry

This term is also in common use within the computer security industry and in the context of cyberwarfare. Here the term refers to the influence an attacker has over a compromised computer system that they control. For example, a valid usage of the term is to say that attackers use "command and control infrastructure" to issue "command and control instructions" to their victims. Advanced analysis of command and control methodologies can be used to identify attackers, associate attacks, and disrupt ongoing malicious activity.[11]

Derivative terms

There are a plethora of derivative terms which emphasise different aspects, uses and sub-domains of C2. These terms come with a plethora of associated abbreviations – for example, in addition to C2, command and control is also often abbreviated as C2, and sometimes as C&C.

Embraer R-99 6750 (9502952605)
Embraer R-99 MULTI INTEL, an example of aircraft with C3I capabilities

Command and control have been coupled with

and others.

Some of the more common variations include:

  • C2I – Command, Control & Intelligence
  • C2I – Command, Control & Information (A less common usage)[13]
  • C2IS – Command and Control Information Systems
  • C2ISR – C2I plus Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  • C2ISTAR – C2 plus ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance)
  • C3 – Command, Control & Communication (Human activity focus)
  • C3 – Command, Control & Communications (Technology focus)
  • C3 – Consultation, Command, and Control [NATO]
  • C3I – 4 possibilities; the most common is Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence
  • C3ISTAR – C3 plus ISTAR
  • C3ISREW – C2ISR plus Communications plus Electronic Warfare (Technology focus)
  • C4, C4I, C4ISR, C4ISTAR, C4ISREW, C4ISTAREW – plus Computers (Technology focus) or Computing (Human activity focus)[14][15]
  • C4I2 – Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, and Interoperability
  • C5I – Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Collaboration and Intelligence
  • NC2 − Nuclear command and control
  • NC3 − Nuclear command and control and communications

and others.

Command: The exercise of authority based upon certain knowledge to attain an objective.
Control: The process of verifying and correcting activity such that the objective or goal of command is accomplished.
Communication: Ability to exercise the necessary liaison to exercise effective command between tactical or strategic units to command.
Computers: The computer systems and compatibility of computer systems. Also includes data processing.
Intelligence: Includes collection as well as analysis and distribution of information.

Command and control centers

Soviet command ship SSV-33
The Soviet nuclear-powered command and control naval ship SSV-33 Ural.

A command and control center is typically a secure room or building in a government, military or prison facility that operates as the agency's dispatch center, surveillance monitoring center, coordination office and alarm monitoring center all in one. Command and control centers are operated by a government or municipal agency.

Various branches of the US military such as the US Coast Guard and Navy have command and control centers. They are also common in many large correctional facilities.

A command and control center that is used by a military unit in a deployed location is usually called a "command post".[16] A warship has a Combat Information Center for tactical control of the ship's resources, but commanding a fleet or joint operation requires additional space for commanders and staff plus C4I facilities provided on a Flagship (e.g., aircraft carriers), sometimes a Command ship or upgraded logistics ship such as USS Coronado.

Command and control warfare

Command and control warfare encompasses all the military tactics that use communications technology. It can be abbreviated as C2W. An older name for these tactics is "signals warfare", derived from the name given to communications by the military. Newer names include information operations and information warfare.

The following techniques are combined:

with the physical destruction of enemy communications facilities. The objective is to deny information to the enemy and so disrupt its command and control capabilities. At the same time precautions are taken to protect friendly command and control capabilities against retaliation.

In addition to targeting the enemy's command and control, information warfare can be directed to the enemy's politicians and other civilian communications.

See also

US and other NATO specific:



  1. ^ Vassiliou, Marius, David S. Alberts, and Jonathan R. Agre (2015). "C2 Re-Envisioned: the Future of the Enterprise." CRC Press; New York; p. 1.
  2. ^ See also Ross Pigeau; Carol McCann (Spring 2002). "Re-conceptualizing Command and Control" (PDF). Canadian Military Journal. 3 (1): 53–63.
  3. ^ para 5-2, United States Army Field Manual: FM 3–0
    Headquarters, Department of the Army (14 June 2001). FM 3–0, Operations. Washington, DC: GPO. OCLC 50597897. Archived from the original (PDF inside ZIPSFX) on 19 February 2002. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
    Newer versions of FM 3-0 do not define Command and control, even though they use the term extensively.
  4. ^ Builder, Carl H., Bankes, Steven C., Nordin, Richard, "Command Concepts – A Theory Derived from the Practice of Command and Control", MR775, RAND, ISBN 0-8330-2450-7, 1999
  5. ^ Neville Stanton; Christopher Baber; Don Harris (1 January 2008). Modelling Command and Control: Event Analysis of Systemic Teamwork. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
  6. ^ a b "ADDP 00.1 Command and Control" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. 27 May 2009. pp. 1–2.
  7. ^ DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,
  8. ^ Command and control Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,
  9. ^ Joint Chiefs of Staff (U.S.) (8 November 2010). "Command and Control". Joint Publication 1-02. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (As Amended Through 31 January 2011) (PDF). p. 65. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  10. ^ Joint Chiefs of Staff (U.S.) (8 November 2010). "Command and Control". Joint Publication 1-02. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (As Amended Through 15 August 2014) (PDF). p. 44. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  11. ^ Command Five Pty Ltd, "Command and Control in the Fifth Domain" Archived 27 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, February 2012,
  12. ^ In modern warfare, computers have become a key component as cyberspace is now seen as "the fifth domain of warfare" – refer: Clarke, Richard A. (2010). Cyber War. HarperCollins. and
    "Cyberwar: War in the Fifth Domain". Economist. 1 July 2010.
  13. ^ TTCP Groups,
  14. ^ "Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms" Archived 23 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Joint Publication 1-02, US Department of Defense, 17 March 2009.
  15. ^ Sloan, E., "Security and Defence in the Terrorist Era", McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2005; see Ch. 7 for C4ISTAR discussion.
  16. ^ US Army PEO C3T – Project Manager, Command Posts Archived 11 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine,

External links

119th Command and Control Squadron

The United States Air Force's 119th Command and Control Squadron (119 CACS) is a space control unit located at McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tennessee. The unit augments the operations of USSTRATCOM on a continuous basis.

127th Command and Control Squadron

The 127th Command and Control Squadron (127 CACS) was a unit of the Kansas Air National Guard 184th Intelligence Wing stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kansas. The 127th was a non-flying squadron operating the Distributed Common Ground System. The unit was inactivated on 29 September 2014.

The squadron is a descendant organization of the Kansas National Guard 127th Observation Squadron, established on 30 July 1940. It is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.

128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron

The 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron is a unit of the Georgia Air National Guard 116th Air Control Wing located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The 128th is equipped with the E-8C Joint STARS.

The squadron's first predecessor is the World War I 840th Aero Squadron, which was organized on 1 February 1918 and, after training in Texas, served in France as a depot unit. It returned to the United States in the March 1919 and was demobilized .

The 128th Observation Squadron was allotted to the Georgia National Guard and was organized in May 1941. Four months later it was mobilized, and trained in aerial reconnaissance. In June 1942, the squadron began antisubmarine patrol missions over the Gulf of Mexico, being redesignated as the 21st Antisubmarine Squadron in the spring of 1943. After the Navy assumed control of the squadron's mission, it began training as a heavy bomber unit as the 818th, then the 840th Bombardment Squadron. It deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in 1944, and engaged in strategic bombing until the end of World War II, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations before being inactivated in September 1945 at Pisa Airport, Italy. During the war, it was consolidated with the World War I aero squadron.

In May 1946, the squadron was allotted to the National Guard as the 128th Fighter Squadron. It was mobilized again for the Korean War, but deployed to France to reinforce United States Air Forces Europe's fighter force. When its activation was ended in July 1942, it was inactivated and transferred its personnel and planes to the 494th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, activating the same day in the Georgia Air National Guard as the 128th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. The squadron trained as a fighter unit until 1961, when it assumed the airlift mission as the 128th Air Transport Squadron. In 1973, the squadron returned to the fighter mission as the 128th Tactical Fighter Squadron. It became the 128th Bomb Squadron in 1996, and assumed its current role in 2003.

12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron

The 12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron is a United States Air Force flying unit, assigned to the 461st Air Control Wing, stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The squadron flies the E-8C Joint STARS, providing airborne battle management, command and control, surveillance, and target acquisition.

153d Command and Control Squadron

The United States Air Force's 153d Command and Control Squadron (153 CACS) is a command and control unit located at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

222d Command and Control Squadron

The 222d Command and Control Squadron (222 CACS) is an Air National Guard command and control squadron located at Rome, New York and Chantilly, Virginia.

2d Command and Control Squadron

The United States Air Force's 2d Command and Control Squadron (2 CACS) was an Air Force Space Command command and control unit located at Falcon AFB (later Schriever AFB), Colorado. The 2 CACS commanded passive surveillance systems supporting USSPACECOM and theater warfighters’ requirements through continuous all-weather, day-night surveillance of on-orbit satellites.

505th Command and Control Wing

The United States Air Force's 505th Command and Control Wing is organized under the United States Air Force Warfare Center. The wing is dedicated to improving readiness through integrated training, tactics development and operational testing for command and control of air, space and cyberspace. It hosts the Air Force's only Air Operations Center Formal Training Unit at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The unit was first activated in 1947 under Air Defense Command (ADC) as the 505th Aircraft Control and Warning Group. It controlled radar units in the northwest until inactivating in February 1942 during a general reorganization of ADC.

It was activated again during the Vietnam War in November 1965. It initially commanded both aircraft warning units and forward air control squadrons, but in December 1966, those units were transferred to the 505th Tactical Air Control Group. It continued to manage the airspace over South Vietnam until the American withdrawal in 1973.

Airborne early warning and control

An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. AEW&C units are also used to carry out surveillance, including over ground targets and frequently perform C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions similar to an Air Traffic Controller given military command over other forces. When used at altitude, the radar on the aircraft allows the operators to detect and track targets and distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft much farther away than a similar ground-based radar. Like a ground-based radar, it can be detected by opposing forces, but because of its mobility, it is much less vulnerable to counter-attack.AEW&C aircraft are used for both defensive and offensive air operations, and are to the NATO and US forces trained or integrated Air Forces what the combat information center is to a US Navy warship, plus a highly mobile and powerful radar platform. The system is used offensively to direct fighters to their target locations, and defensively, directing counterattacks on enemy forces, both air and ground. So useful is the advantage of command and control from a high altitude, the United States Navy operates Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft off its Supercarriers to augment and protect its carrier Command Information Centers (CICs). The designation airborne early warning (AEW) was used for earlier similar aircraft, such as the Fairey Gannet AEW.3 and Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star, and continues to be used by the RAF for its Sentry AEW1, while AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) emphasizes the command and control capabilities that may not be present on smaller or simpler radar picket aircraft. AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) is the name of the specific system installed in the E-3 and Japanese Boeing E-767 AEW&C airframes, but is often used as a general synonym for AEW&C.

Boeing E-4

The Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post (AACP), the current "Nightwatch" aircraft, is a strategic command and control military aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). The E-4 series are specially modified from the Boeing 747-200B for the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) program. The E-4 serves as a survivable mobile command post for the National Command Authority, namely the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and successors. The four E-4Bs are operated by the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron of the 595th Command and Control Group located at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska. An E-4B when in action is denoted a "National Airborne Operations Center".


A botnet is a number of Internet-connected devices, each of which is running one or more bots. Botnets can be used to perform distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack), steal data, send spam, and allows the attacker to access the device and its connection. The owner can control the botnet using command and control (C&C) software. The word "botnet" is a combination of the words "robot" and "network". The term is usually used with a negative or malicious connotation.

Command (military formation)

A command in military terminology is an organisational unit for which a military commander is responsible. A commander is normally specifically appointed to the role in order to provide a legal framework for the authority bestowed. Naval and military officers have legal authority by virtue of their officer's commission, but the specific responsibilities and privileges of command are derived from the publication of appointment.

The relevant definition of "command" according to the US Department of Defense is as follows:

(DOD) 3. A unit or units, an organization, or an area under the command of one individual. Also called CMD. See also area command; combatant command; combatant command (command authority).

Command hierarchy

A command hierarchy is a group of people who carry out orders based on others authority within the group. It can be viewed as part of a power structure, in which it is usually seen as the most vulnerable and also the most powerful part.

Commanding officer

The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer, commanding general (CG), is the officer in command of a military unit. The commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as they see fit, within the bounds of military law. In this respect, commanding officers have significant responsibilities (for example, the use of force, finances, equipment, the Geneva Conventions), duties (to higher authority, mission effectiveness, duty of care to personnel), and powers (for example, discipline and punishment of personnel within certain limits of military law).

In some countries, commanding officers may be of any commissioned rank. Usually, there are more officers than command positions available, and time spent in command is generally a key aspect of promotion, so the role of commanding officer is highly valued. The commanding officer is often assisted by an executive officer (XO) or second-in-command (2i/c), who handles personnel and day-to-day matters, and a senior enlisted advisor. Larger units may also have staff officers responsible for various responsibilities.

Officer commanding

The officer commanding (OC) is the commander of a sub-unit or minor unit (smaller than battalion size), principally used in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. In other countries, the term commanding officer is applied to commanders of minor as well as major units.

Normally an officer commanding is a company, squadron or battery commander (typically a major, although formerly a captain in infantry and cavalry units). However, the commanders of independent units of smaller than company size, detachments and administrative organisations, such as schools or wings, may also be designated officers commanding.

The term "officer commanding" is not applied to every officer who is given command of a minor unit. For example, a platoon commander whose platoon is part of a company would not be an officer commanding. The officer commanding with power over that platoon would be the company OC. "Officer commanding" is an appointment that confers a level of additional powers and responsibilities on the appointee.

Officers commanding are generally given the same power and responsibilities as commanding officers of battalions and regiments. They are held responsible for the unit's properties and monies, can hear disciplinary charges against soldiers, sailors, or airmen under their command, and can delegate these powers.

Offutt Air Force Base

Offutt Air Force Base (IATA: OFF, ICAO: KOFF, FAA LID: OFF) is a U.S. Air Force base near Omaha, and lies adjacent to Bellevue in Sarpy County, Nebraska. It is the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), the 557th Weather Wing, and the 55th Wing (55 WG) of the Air Combat Command (ACC), the latter serving as the host unit.

Aviation use at Offutt began in September 1918 during World War I as an Army Air Service balloon field. Originally named Fort Crook, it was renamed in honor of World War I pilot and Omaha native 1st Lt. Jarvis Offutt in 1924.

Offutt AFB's legacy includes the construction of the Enola Gay and Bockscar, the planes that dropped Little Boy and Fat Man over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Offutt served over 40 years as the headquarters for the former Strategic Air Command (SAC) and home for its associated ground and aerial command centers for the U.S. in case of nuclear war during the Cold War. The population was 8,901 at the 2000 census.

Planned economy

A planned economy is a type of economic system where investment and the allocation of capital goods take place according to economy-wide economic and production plans. A planned economy may use centralized, decentralized or participatory forms of economic planning. Planned economies contrast with unplanned economies, specifically market economies, where autonomous firms operating in markets make decisions about production, distribution, pricing and investment. Market economies that use indicative planning are sometimes referred to as planned market economies.

A command economy or administrative command economy describes a country using Soviet-type economic planning which was characteristic of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc before most of these countries converted to market economies. These terms highlight the central role of hierarchical administration and public ownership of production in guiding the allocation of resources in these economic systems. In command economies, important allocation decisions are made by government authorities and are imposed by law.Central planning has been used in the majority of countries adopting socialism including those based on the Soviet model, though a minority have adopted some degree of market socialism, such as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Non-market socialism replaces factor markets with direct calculation as the means to coordinate the activities of the various socially-owned economic enterprises that make up the economy. More recent approaches to socialist planning and allocation have come from some economists and computer scientists proposing planning mechanisms based on advances in computer science and information technology.Outside the Eastern Bloc, a different form of planned economy operated in India during the Permit Raj era from 1947 to 1990. Government planning of the economy can also happen under other political philosophies, such as under fascism and other forms of authoritarianism. The unusually large government sector in countries like Saudi Arabia means that even though there is a free market, central government planning controls allocation of most economic resources. In the United States, the government temporarily seized large portions of the economy during World War I and World War II, resulting in a largely government-planned war economy.

Post-Attack Command and Control System Facility, Hadley

Post-Attack Command and Control System Facility, Hadley is a defunct Post-Attack Command and Control System facility that operated from June 2, 1958 until 1970. It is located on and under Bare Mountain in Hadley, Massachusetts. The facility was known by many different names: 8th Air Force Combat Operations Center (COC), "The Notch", and "Westover Communications Annex" since it was related to nearby Westover Air Force Base.

The facility has been described as having two underground stories amounting to 40,000 square feet. It was designed to house 135 people.

United States Strategic Command

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is one of ten unified commands in the United States Department of Defense. Headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department's Global Information Grid. It also provides a host of capabilities to support the other combatant commands, including strategic warning; integrated missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). This dynamic command gives national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.

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