Friday, September 17, 2010

Enhancing Joint Headquarters with ICT

Cover: Enhancing Army Joint Force Headquarters CapabilitiesThe report "Enhancing Army Joint Force Headquarters Capabilities" by Timothy M. Bonds, Myron Hura and Thomas-Durell Young (2010) is another in the excellent series of reports produced by RAND Corporation on how to improve military operations. These are worth reading even by those without an interest in defence as concise, well researched reports on dealing with problems common to many organisations. A summary
as well as the full report are available online.

In this report RAND looks at the problems of the US Army in supplying headquarters for joint operations. In recent years the number of military and civilian aid operations carried out by the US military has increased. Many of these are "joint" requiring co-operation by different branches of the military and also civilian organisations. The procedure for these has to been to create a new temporary joint headquarters to coordinate each new mission. RAND was asked by the US Army to look at the resource implications of this and how it can be improved. RAND has charted the rise in these headquarters, which now consume considerable resources, with thousands of highly skilled personnel required for years at a time.

RAND have provided some useful suggestions on how to improve staffing and operations of such headquarters. But they could have gone further and challenged some of the assumptions they were given. Modern military operations are commanded using electronic communicators, usually via satellite at the highest level. Computers are used for collecting and disseminating information and orders. The assumption that so many headquarters staff are needed, or that they need to be located in theatre (that is near where the operations are taking place) may no loner apply. An example of the new approach the new Italian EU Maritime Component Command (ITA EU MCC), which is land based in Italy, but intended to support deployed force headquarters worldwide.

Government and commercial organisations are now using computer based systems to replace many levels of management in organisations. Also they are using computer based systems to allow front line personnel to have a role in management. They also can assemble virtual management teams which work together online, while remaining at their desks. These techniques could also be applied to the military.

Providing a military headquarters in theatre is an expensive exercise, financially, logistically and in terms of causalities. Each person in a headquarters needs to be housed, fed and protected, with many many personnel needed to provide this support. While the HQ personnel may be reasonably safe from attack, the logistical tail needed to support them and the forces needed to protect them may not be.

HQ personnel spend most of their day in meetings, on the telephone and sitting in from of computer screens. They could do this at their home base on their other side of the world, as well as they can near the theatre of operations. While the popular image is of the commander on the battlefield looking through a pair of binoculars, the reality is a windowless room with a computer screen. Even if for political and morale purposes the senior commander needs to be near the troops, they only need a few dozen staff with them,while hundreds of lower echelon personnel can be located remotely.

One approach the US Military might consider adopting is the "following the sun" technique used by IT support. With this, three centres are located around the world in time zones spaced eight hours apart. Staff at each centre can then work during normal office hours in their location. At the end of their day the centre in the next time zone takes over. In the commercial sector this lessens the cost of overtime work. In the military it could be used to avoid poor decisions made by personnel struggling to stay awake. The US military could used headquarters in mainland America, Europe and East Asia, to provide global coverage.

The research in this document is aimed at helping the Army improve its ability to command and control joint, interagency, and multinational forces to accomplish diverse missions in a range of settings. The monograph describes steps that the Army might take to improve the ability of Army Service headquarters to command joint task forces. A particular emphasis was placed on suggesting ways to prepare Army headquarters, including Divisions, Corps, and Theater Armies, to perform as components of, or headquarters for, joint task forces. In addition, the monograph describes the capabilities that the Army will have to depend on others to provide to accomplish future missions — including the other Services, joint organizations, and government agencies. The research addresses specific concerns expressed by policymakers in the Department of Defense; these include the amount of time it takes to establish these headquarters, the ability to staff them appropriately, and the Army's ability to coordinate the efforts of their forces with those of other Services and agencies from diverse branches of the government and forces from different countries.

Pages: 138

ISBN/EAN: 9780833043993



Chapter One:

Chapter Two:
Challenges in Past and Ongoing Joint Force Operations

Chapter Three:
Potential Capabilities of Future Joint Task Forces

Chapter Four:
Approaches to Structuring Army-Led Joint Task Forces

Chapter Five:
Tailoring Joint Task Forces to Ensure the Integration of Joint and Interagency Capabilities

Chapter Six:
Conclusions and Recommendations ...

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