Joint Forces Command has increased role, but systems remain under the purview of agencies
After months of meetings to determine who should run the Defense Department's joint command and control (C2) programs, the Pentagon this week signed off on a plan that gives Joint Forces Command (JFcom) an increased role, but keeps the systems under the purview of the agencies that currently manage them.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials have been underscoring for months the need to better link the department's joint C2 investments to its warfighting capabilities as part of DOD's ongoing transformation.
According to a DOD official who has read it, the decision document says that in its battle management command and control (BMC2) capacity, JFcom also will assume an expanded role in increasing joint integration of operational- through tactical-level capabilities in many areas, including:
* Interoperable joint firing, maneuvering and intelligence.
* Situational awareness.
* Common operational and tactical pictures.
The DOD official, who requested anonymity, said the decision document also includes an expanded role for JFcom in "identifying system of systems capability requirements." The system of systems approach means that each system that contributes information is designed to work with other systems to give commanders an integrated picture.
The decision document, which was approved Jan. 8, appears to strike a balance among some Pentagon officials who are calling for JFcom to get complete control of joint C2 operations and other DOD workers who are leaning toward an increased role for JFcom. Among the former group was Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg Jr., director of command, control, communications and computer systems for the Joint Staff.
The Pentagon's new plan does not give JFcom complete control of joint C2 programs, but it does give JFcom influence at the strategic operational and tactical levels through the generation of requirements, the DOD official said.
Last month, Robert Hutten, director for strategic plans, programming and policy at the Defense Information Systems Agency, said that JFcom's role in the joint C2 arena would be enhanced, but mostly at the tactical, or battle management, level as opposed to the strategic or operational level.
Hutten said he believed that JFcom's role would be more related to "oversight and requirements-gathering and generation," but that the acquisition programs would remain with the individual services and agencies that have them today.
JFcom will now lead combatant commanders in the development of BMC2-related doctrine, concepts, requirements and architectures, the DOD official said, adding that this now enables JFcom to generate requirements that DISA can develop and execute in support of combatant commanders.
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