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A command and control system for WEU

WEU Assembly

Document 1621 5 November 1998

A command and control system for WEU

REPORT1 submitted on behalf of the Technological and Aerospace Committee2 by Mr Cunliffe, Rapporteur



on a command and control system for WEU

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM submitted by Mr Cunliffe, Rapporteur

I. Introduction

II. Command and Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I)

III. WEU CIS and situation evaluation

IV. WEU CIS and planning

V. WEU CIS and command and control

VI. Conclusions

Draft Recommendation

on a command and control system for WEU

The Assembly,

Considering that to conduct operations under its own aegis, WEU requires a communication and information system (CIS) for command and control, based on its member countries' assets;

Stressing that WEU should not only be able rely on having the use of such a system but that it should also be under WEU control;

Considering that the communication and information systems for command and control operate at strategic, operational and tactical levels;

Considering that WEU's task is to help countries take on a role that no individual nation can take on by itself and, in that context, WEU should operate at the strategic and operational levels;

Drawing attention to the fact that WEU could also make available resources and data not available in the NATO framework to countries taking part in joint military operations;

Stressing that the aim of a WEU CIS for command and control would not be to create a super-structure to take the place of national services but to strengthen the effectiveness of those services,


Consider pooling national assets with a view to WEU having its own CIS for command and control, and, to that end:

(a) in terms of situation evaluation requirements

task the Intelligence Section to draw up an intelligence plan at European level to identify areas of potential crisis, so that national resources and the tasks of the Satellite Centre can be used to better effect;

create a data-merge unit for national data and intelligence gathered using WEU's own facilities;

create an intelligence data distribution unit that can be consulted by the nations and the WEU Situation Centre;

anticipate the planning software requirements of the Planning Cell, data-merge and processing software for use by the data-merge unit and an on-line data-base with remote access via a standard modem and the Satellite Centre being equipped with the means to receive images direct from civilian satellites;

(b) in terms of planning requirements

provide support to the Planning Cell, tasked in the event of crisis with producing operation plans, in order to ensure that such plans include appendices on logistical and media aspects.

create a media planning unit, in particular to provide support to psychological warfare operations;

provide for the Planning Cell to be equipped with simulators to help validate planning and for the use of information highways, making it possible to set up a virtual headquarters for planning WEU operations, while staff remain stationed at their national headquarters or in NATO;

(c) in terms of control

enhance the role of the Situation Centre, given the need to coordinate the various operations carried out by WEU in different theatres;

in the longer term, possibly create a geographic support unit to coordinate the supply of essential mission data from the nations and a CIS support unit to manage and secure the facilities necessary for functional implementation and for verifying data circulating on the network, detecting instances of data violation and defining procedures to be used in such event.

Explanatory Memorandum

(submitted by Mr Cunliffe, Rapporteur)

I. Introduction

At its meeting in Erfurt on 18 November 1997, the WEU Council, approved inter alia, a recommendation from the Permanent Council on the establishment of the Military Committee and reorganisation of the military structure at WEU headquarters.

This decision undoubtedly represents a qualitative leap of signal importance toward the goal of equipping our Organisation with the instruments and assets necessary to carry out its tasks.

Nevertheless, although WEU now has a Military Committee, a Planning Cell, an Intelligence Section, a Situation Centre and a Satellite Centre, it will still not be possible to conduct military operations under WEU's aegis, without the Organisation first having a basic resource necessary to that effect: namely its own communication and information system, or CIS, for command and control.

The next step, then, is to give thought to the Organisation's need in this connection not just to have access to such systems but have direct control over them.

Military CIS command and control systems carry out tasks on three levels, namely:

the strategic level, corresponding to the politico-military interface. At this level CIS have an input into evaluating the world situation, crisis monitoring and the planning of possible military operations;

the operational level, corresponding to coordination of combined joint military operations. At this level CIS should offer the means of monitoring and integration of military operations and issuing orders.

the tactical level, corresponding to coordination of military operations within an area, usually by the army responsible for that area. At this level CIS should provide the means of command and control over operational support units on the ground, irrespective of whether they belong to an army or allied organisations.

WEU should seek to reinforce the roles that no individual nation can take on by itself. In this context, WEU should operate at the strategic and operational levels while tactical tasks are carried out by nations, possibly under the responsibility of a framework nation.

Furthermore, WEU could provide resources and data not available in the NATO framework to countries involved in joint military action.

II. Command and Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I)

The main aim of C4I activities is to ensure that the required resources are available to those that need them in the place and at that time they are needed. To achieve this is no mean feat as adequate coordination of the activities of many services, which may be located in different places, is essential.

The better to get the measure of the problem, it is necessary at the outset to draw up a list of standard terms. Hence "resources" stands for everything necessary to manage any type of military operation in the most efficient way possible in war or peacetime. More specifically, the word "resources" can refer to information, personnel, hardware, software, money or raw materials.

The meaning of such terms is plain. However, our attention should perhaps focus for a moment on the word "information". In this context it refers to a meaningful set of ordered data, the meaning being given by a process of analysis. Within that definition, the main players involved in the process of information production are:

the sources, that refer the data;

the analysts, who order the data and give it meaning;

the distributors, who convey information where it is needed and where it can be stored;

the users who need information in order to act.

Information is the basis of decision-making and most activities in connection with C4I in fact consist of information management. In addition, information is that particular thing on which all other resources needed rely, for without information transfer it is impossible to know what needs there are and to satisfy them. Moreover, information is also a very vulnerable good.

In the context of military operations, the goal is to achieve so-called "information dominance" i.e. to have better information management than the adversary and the most realistic possible grasp of reality. Military operations carried out to achieve the objective of information dominance are called information warfare (IW).

In particular, when referring to studies in the field of information dominance it is possible, according to Martin Libicki1, to distinguish three levels:

Intelligence, whose role consists in informing the chain of command about the position and characteristics of the adversaries’ troops, and about the battlefield in general;

Command and control, which consists in taking decisions and applying them according to the information gathered through intelligence;

Information warfare, having more realistic and better-managed information than the adversary, while at the same time preventing the adversary from achieving the same.

To summarise, this report will refer to the specific section of IW that deals with the management of information, along with the chain of command, since different depths of information are needed depending on the level - tactical, operational or strategic - of the operation.

C4I architecture is a tool that serves an organisation that produces, exchanges and uses information. For this reason, it is important to tailor the system architecture to the user organisation and to its security needs.

In 1990, our Committee devoted a report to this subject2, but it was during the Gulf war, the first computerised war in history, that issues relating to C4I, particularly linked to extensive use of the space segment, began to emerge. It should be observed, that the space segment is of paramount importance in C4I architecture, basically because it provides real time, worldwide links.

III. WEU CIS and situation evaluation

Tasks to be carried out

To carry out an evaluation of the situation, the Intelligence Section of the Planning Cell, which "monitors and reports on crises designated by the Permanent Council and passively tracks other potential hot spots on the basis of information supplied by nations or other organisations"3, will need to draw up an intelligence plan at European level.

The intelligence plan should meet the common need to detect zones of potential crisis and it should be drawn up so as to exploit to the full the most suitable national facilities and those of the WEU Satellite Centre at Torrej—n.

Intelligence data, once gathered, has to be interpreted. Therefore WEU requires a capability - a data-merge unit - to integrate national independently-gathered data (OSINT or open source intelligence) and data supplied by the Satellite Centre.

WEU's aim is not to create a intelligence super-structure to take the place of national services but to increase their effectiveness, by pooling shared intelligence. To do so, an intelligence dissemination unit needs to be set up which the nations and the WEU Situation Centre can consult.

The functional development of a WEU CIS is summarised in the diagram below:

(not available electronically)

Facilities required

The functional needs identified in the preceding paragraph are the starting point for determining the systems required which can be assembled from commercial products widely available in Europe.

The Intelligence Section needs planning software for the intelligence planning unit, data-merge and processing software for the intelligence data-merge unit and connection to a remote on-line data base via a standard modem.

The processing centre might have shared visual display facilities for data retrieved from the database. Finally the Satellite Centre should be equipped with facilities for receiving images beamed directly from civilian remote-sensing satellites, a topic already raised by this Committee on several previous occasions.

These requirements are summarised in the diagram below:

(not available electronically)

Possible developments

In the longer term, it could be envisaged that WEU would acquire dedicated facilities too costly for any one country to develop. These could be satellite-based facilities or UFVs for imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signal intelligence (SIGIN).

Strategic intelligence requires the use of UFVs capable of high-altitude long-distance flight. Such systems are known as High-Altitude Long-Endurance Systems. Implementation of WEU internal systems would require the installation of WEU CIS systems suitable for monitoring the operational status of platforms.

IV. WEU CIS and planning

Tasks to be carried out

It is impossible to take military action, in the event of a crisis without an operation plan defining the objectives of the intervention, the assets to be deployed and the rules of engagement. Hence there is a need to strengthen the Planning Cell whose task it is to draw up operation plans when a crisis occurs. Such operation plans should include appendices on logistical and media aspects.

Europe, given its lack of strategic airlift assets, must maximise coordination of its logistic action by expanding the Planning Cell's role in the area of logistics.

In every European mission to date, to secure strategic airlift assets, it has been necessary to hire Antonov aircraft from Ukraine. Hence it is desirable for European countries to cooperate and not compete with one another in this area. WEU could manage the hire of such craft through the Planning Cell.

In any military operation, nowadays, it is essential to have public opinion on one's side - whether in a war context or in peacekeeping and peacemaking operations. WEU has no central department to manage such media and public relations. It would therefore be advisable to form a media planning unit to coordinate WEU actions, particularly to provide psychological warfare support.

The range of functional improvements is shown in the following diagram:

(not available electronically)

Facilities required

In addition to standard office technology, the Planning Cell should have the use of simulators to validate its planning activities.

Strengthening the Planning Cell raises the problem of national staff. The trend, as far as the member countries are concerned, is to employ fewer staff. Technical solutions are available that make it possible to avoid increasing the number of staff working on national as well as NATO and WEU-level operational planning.

The use of broadband communications networks (information highways) makes it possible to set up a virtual HQ contributing to the planning of WEU operations, while staff remain stationed in the various national HQs or in NATO.

Facilities required to implement the above are as follows:

(not available electronically)

Possible developments

In the longer term WEU might purchase strategic transport systems that could be managed at European level according to each country's needs. Procurement of such systems would mean WEU developing its own CIS to track the status and availability of such assets.

In the even longer term, one might envisage WEU having media resources that do not exist in Europe, such as airborne systems for broadcasting media newscasts to civilian populations within a given theatre. Building up WEU's own assets in this way will necessarily imply the Organisation having its own CIS to monitor them.

V. WEU CIS and command and control

Tasks to be carried out

Theatre operations must be conducted through a CJTF CP (Combined Joint Task Forces Command Post) set up with NATO materiel and interfacing with tactical CIS. But the various WEU-led operations in different theatres need to be coordinated and it is necessary therefore to consider an enhanced role for the WEU Situation Centre.

The Situation Centre would be linked to the various CJTF CPS and supported at operational level by a number of units.

An initial operational need which has been identified concerns the delivery of geographic data to tactical commands. Thus a WEU geographic support unit would make it possible to coordinate the supply of essential mission data from the nations.

The various units identified in this report

require the setting up of communication and computer systems. Thus there will be a need for a CIS support unit with two inter-related tasks: (i) management and delivery of the facilities required to carry out CIS functions and (ii) checking the integrity of the data circulating on the network, detection of instances of data violation and defining the procedures to be used in such event.

The package of proposed enhancements is illustrated in the following diagram:

(not available electronically)

Possible developments

In the longer term in might be envisaged that the geographic support unit would draw on the Satellite Centre to produce maps not available in Europe. For it to be possible the Organisation has to have the facilities necessary to generate such maps from satellite data.

Military missions are increasingly dependent on tracking data at present supplied via GPS (Global Positioning System). However GPS reception can be scrambled and is reliant on the good will of the United States. A tracking support unit should be tasked with identifying WEU's military requirements to the civil authorities, checking the consistency of tracking data provided by the allies and setting up additional systems as necessary to plug any gaps in the American systems.

Finally the CIS support unit could be tasked in an information warfare context with analysing hostile CIS systems and defining the orders to attack them. This implies having software capable of analysing where CIS may be vulnerable.

VI. Conclusions

It seems a reasonable assumption that WEU will, in the near future, have its own CIS, without which the Organisation would be incapable of undertaking such missions as may be required.

The system should meet WEU's needs while avoiding any duplication of services and strive for optimum cost-effectiveness.

In this report, your Rapporteur has endeavoured to demonstrate, albeit summarily, that a WEU CIS for command and control can be set up using existing facilities and drawing on civilian assets and it is even possible to implement staff savings. All that is needed now is the political will.


1. Adopted unanimously by the Committee.

2. Members of the Committee: Mr Marshall (Chairman); MM Lenzer, Atkinson (Vice-Chairmen); Mrs Aguiar, Mr Arnau Navarro, Mrs Blunck, MM Cherribi, Cunliffe, Diana, Mrs Durrieu, MM Etherington, Feldmann, Hunault, López Henares, Lorenzi, Luís, Martelli (Alternate: Turini), MM Nothomb, Olivo, Polydoras, Probst, Ramírez Pery (Alternate: González Laxe), MM Sandrier, Staes, Theis, Valk, Valleix, Mrs Zissi.

N.B. The names of those taking part in the vote are printed in italics.

1. L'Armement. Dec. 1997-Jan. 1998, page 46.

2. Assembly Document 1229, Developments in command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I), Rapporteur: Mr Hill.

3. Second part of the 41st annual report of the Council to the Assembly (1 July-31 December 1995), (Assembly Document 1528, 28 May 1996).



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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).