mal time for preparation and deployment before entering the operational phase of a contingency.

The military that must play these roles has many different C4I systems, both old and new. Older systems often were built for single-purpose, stand-alone applications, and often rely heavily on military-specific technology. In contrast, current systems are increasingly being built to meet explicit requirements for interoperability and flexibility, and the Department of Defense (DOD)1 has been increasingly capitalizing on commercial information technologies for C4I systems. DOD's focus on using C4I as a way to empower the forces is an approach made easier by the fact that more and more military personnel are familiar with information technology.

The Potential

To make a smaller military force more effective, DOD is planning to rely more than ever before on the use of high-technology C4I systems to leverage its military assets. DOD's vision of the future—Joint Vision 2010—is one of information superiority.2 In this vision, combat planning and execution are much faster, and smaller forces are much more autonomous and lethal. Integrated C4I systems, which exchange data and work together, help military forces to prevail against adversaries by operating in a rapid, coherent, and coordinated fashion never previously achieved. Commanders at all levels can control their forces and apply their weapons with a high degree of precision, certainty of location, and awareness of the environment and of enemy actions and intentions. Responsive and reliable information technology provides timely intelligence, greater situational awareness, and a single integrated operational picture of the battlefield.

The Challenges

Joint Vision 2010 is compelling, but unrealized. The evidence to support it comes from a host of sources, including analysis, simulation, ex-


According to Department of Defense Directive 5100.1, promulgated September 25, 1987, the Department of Defense is composed of "the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Military Departments and the Military Services within those Departments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Joint Staff, the Unified and Specified Combatant Commands, the Defense Agencies and DOD Field Activities, and such other offices, agencies, activities and commands as may be established or designated by law, or by the President or the Secretary of Defense." This report adopts this convention, and the use of the term "DOD" without other qualification refers to all of the constituent elements described in this directive.


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 1996. Joint Vision 2010, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.

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