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Proceedings Paper

Technology For Command, Control, Communications And Intelligence (C³I)
Author(s): John S. Burgess
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Paper Abstract

I am happy to be here this morning with this distinguished technical audience of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. You have recognized a very important problem area and I think that through this conference or seminar, you will address many technical aspects of the problems associated with Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C³I). C³I is a term that is gaining more and more visibility and acceptance in all areas of military operations. In the past, the transfer of technology into military operations has been concentrated on force effectiveness. Our leaders now recognize more fully that force effectiveness depends to a very high degree on the command and control functions which in turn need to know the status of enemy as well as friendly forces. Perhaps the best way to start this discussion of C³I is to arrive at a definition. Unfortunately, I'm sure that if I ask each of you to give me a definition of C³I, I would have just as many definitions as there are people in the audience. The situation is similar to the old story about the three blind men trying to describe an elephant. I would like to paraphrase a few remarks of Julian Lake in a recent editorial in Military Electronics/Countermeasures Magazine. As he points out, C3 is many things to many people. To the intelligence specialist who is so wrapped up in his intelligence community activity, C³I is simply an extension of the modern applications of intelligence. In fact, the intelligence officer feels that he is the actual center of the C³I structure. On the other hand, the communications specialist thinks that communications is the actual heartbeat of C³I activity, and this is right to a point because communications is a fundamental building block of the C3 function. The computer specialist will point out that C³I is merely a product of the computer age. One reason there was very little done about C³I in the past was the nonavailability of computer techniques and consequently this is what has really made C³I possible. The radar man believes that this other stuff is absolutely useless without information about the activities of the enemy other than those derived through the intelligence community. The display technologist feels that without some means of presenting this information to the commander, the process is meaningless. The commander needs to absorb a large amount of information quickly. Jerry Lawson of the Naval Electronics Systems Command has pointed out that in a typical situation, there will be at least twenty to one hundred objects about which the commander must be informed. For each of these objects, it can be shown that he will need an absolute minimum of about 300 bits of data before he can be an effective transducer of information into decisions and directives. Studies have shown however, that the human brain can process only 25 - 40 bits of information per second when they are presented as a time sequential string such as in a printed message. This implies that it would take about 15 minutes for the commander to understand what was going on; and the picture is changing continuously. Yet, our common experience tells us that we can easily process three million bits per second when they are presented as a two-dimensional picture. Thus, we have no alternative but to present the commander with a picture, a geographic display, so that he can absorb the large number of spatial relationships among the things with which he must deal. Moreover, on a plot of this type, we can express much of the data by the size and the color of the symbols we use to mark the location of things. Consequently, three important measures of the efficiency of this process are the locational accuracy, the informational accuracy and the timeliness of the picture which is presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 February 1980
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 0209, Optical Signal Processing for C3I, (29 February 1980); doi: 10.1117/12.958284
Show Author Affiliations
John S. Burgess, Rome Air Development Center (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0209:
Optical Signal Processing for C3I
William J. Miceli, Editor(s)

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