Troop Command and Control
Troop Command and Control
the activities of commanders, staffs, political bodies, and chiefs of the combat arms, special forces, and services designed to prepare personnel for combat and to direct them during the performance of assigned missions. Troop command and control in combat and operations entails various activities: ensuring the fighting effectiveness and combat readiness of military forces; maintenance of a high political and moral level among personnel; decision on the part of the commander regarding whether to enter a battle or operation; the planning of combat tactics; formulation of combat missions for subordinates; coordination of troop actions and combat, rear services, and technical support; and continuous direction of troops during combat.
The commander’s plan is the basis of troop command and control. It defines the combat objective, procedures for carrying out the plan, missions for subordinate units, timetables for fulfilling missions, and coordination guidelines.
Key factors in troop command and control include the following: indoctrination of personnel in a spirit of absolute devotion to their socialist homeland, hatred for the enemy, and loyalty to their oath of allegiance and military duty; a profound understanding of the basic principles of military science and a thorough knowledge of military regulations, manuals, and similar documents; anticipation of possible changes in the situation during the performance of specific combat missions; a uniformity of training requirements for personnel; the choice of forms and methods of conducting a battle or operation; and the institution of one-man command, which is an important condition for fulfillment of assigned missions.
The principal requirements of troop command and control include the following: firmness in carrying out plans that have been adopted; operational efficiency, necessitating execution of all troop command and control activities at the established times; flexibility, which entails the skillful use of available manpower and materiel to fulfill the assigned combat missions under existing conditions; continuity of command, which ensures uninterrupted control of troop actions in the battle or operation; and secrecy, which ensures that the enemy will not know beforehand the goal of forthcoming actions.
The commander has the principal role in troop command and control, and the staff is the primary agency. Other command and control agencies include political bodies and the directorates and staffs of the chiefs of combat arms and services subordinate to the chief commander. Various types of control posts, either mobile or fixed, are established in large and small units to direct troops engaged in combat. In the course of an offensive, the control posts advance by turns, following the troops according to a set plan. In order to increase the operational efficiency of troop leadership, some control posts function as backup or auxiliary posts.
The most important missions of the staff and other command and control agencies are support of the commander in the decision process, planning the battle or operation, delivering missions to the troops, coordinating activities and ensuring comprehensive support, and aiding subordinate commanders and staffs in the organization of combat tactics. The working methods chosen by staffs to fulfill the missions depend on the specific situation and the time allotted for preparing the battle or operation. Troop command and control during combat is highly complex and requires that commanders and staffs constantly study and analyze the situation and anticipate all possible changes. Precise troop command and control requires that staffs be provided with good materiel and that efficient use be made of automated equipment; this is made possible by the extensive introduction of computer technology and mathematical methods of modeling.
The appearance of new types of weapons and combat materiel has a major impact on the forms and methods of troop command and control. Special difficulties may arise when the enemy uses nuclear weapons capable of disabling entire control posts and communications centers; the result is an abrupt and radical change in the situation that often forces troops to switch from one set of combat tactics to another. Enemy use of effective electronic countermeasures will make it difficult to establish stable and uninterrupted communications. Under such conditions the success of troop command and control will depend largely on protecting the equipment and maintaining uninterrupted communications. In addition, commanders will be required to demonstrate initiative, independence, and ingenuity in finding the most effective ways to accomplish the assigned combat mission.
REFERENCESGrechko, A. A. Voomzhennye Sily Sovetskogo gosudarstva, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1975.
Voprosy nauchnogo rukovodstva v Sovetskikh Vooruzhennykh Silakh. Moscow, 1973.
Ivanov, D.A., V. P. Savel’ev, and P. V. Shemanskii. Osnovy upravleniia voiskami. Moscow, 1971.