Military Command and Control

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To accomplish their missions, military leaders must be able to command and control the many activities of their forces. RAND has applied strategic analysis since its earliest work on game theory to develop scenarios and guide military and civilian decisionmakers on the most effective employment of command and control (C2) principles and technologies, and continues to do so with C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence).

  • Young man wearing virtual reality headset and trying to touch something, 3d rendering, photo by U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Drake NickelsAdobe Stock/Sergey Nivens; Cover design by Pete Soriano

    Report

    Developing, Disseminating, and Assessing Command Narrative

    In the contemporary era marked by informational competition, one of the most important activities of a strategic or operational command is the development, presentation, and support of the command's narratives. What are some best practices for the effective use of command narrative?

    Nov 15, 2021

  • 3D illustration of a conceptual maze. Shortcut between points A and B or finding the shortest path concept, photo by livier Le Moal/Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Report

    Leveraging Complexity in Great-Power Competition and Warfare: Volume I

    The United States should aim to minimize the element of complexity for itself while maximizing it for its adversary in great-power competition and warfare. But what does complexity mean in an Air Force context? And how can it be used as a method of attack?

    Aug 26, 2021

Explore Military Command and Control

  • Raphael S. Cohen discusses Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties in an overview of a September 5th congressional briefing.

    Multimedia

    Extending Russia

    What policies could the United States adopt to stress Russia’s military, its economy, or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad? In this congressional briefing summary, former Ambassador James Dobbins, Raphael Cohen, and Howard Shatz discuss Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties; nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue to stress Russia; and the costs, benefits, and implications of those options.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Report

    Report

    Distributed Operations in a Contested Environment: Implications for USAF Force Presentation

    This report's authors identify capabilities the Air Force needs to carry out distributed operations in a contested environment. They then assess whether the current force presentation model can provide such capabilities.

    Jul 17, 2019

  • A helicopter lands during the trident juncture exercise in the Netherlands

    Report

    NATO's Amphibious Forces: Command and Control of a Multibrigade Alliance Task Force

    At the request of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, RAND researchers facilitated three wargaming events exploring how to leverage and enhance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)'s existing amphibious capacity by organizing extant national forces into a coherent multibrigade command and control (C2) structure.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Report

    Report

    OCEANS 17 Tabletop Exercise: Findings and Recommendations

    In December 2017, the RAND Corporation conducted a tabletop exercise on air operations across the boundaries between geographic combatant commands. This report describes the exercise's design, key insights from our analysis, and recommendations.

    May 9, 2019

  • News Release

    News Release

    Nonviolent Ways the United States Could Exploit Russian Vulnerabilities

    Russia's use of information warfare and its conventional military arsenal make it a formidable opponent, but the state also has significant weaknesses that could be exploited. A range of nonviolent measures could stress Russia's military, its economy, and the regime's political standing at home and abroad.

    Apr 24, 2019

  • A game of chess between Russia and the United States, image by Petrik/Adobe Stock; design by Pete Soriano/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Extending Russia: Competing for Advantageous Ground

    The United States is locked in a great-power competition with Russia. What are Russia's greatest anxieties and vulnerabilities? How might the United States exploit these vulnerabilities? And what are the potential costs and risks of doing so?

    Apr 24, 2019

  • Red Square in Moscow, Russia, photo by mnn/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Nonviolent Ways the United States Could Exploit Russian Vulnerabilities

    Despite its vulnerabilities and anxieties, Russia remains a formidable opponent in a few key domains. What non-violent, cost-imposing measures could the United States pursue to stress Russia's economy, its military, and the regime's political standing at home and abroad?

    Apr 24, 2019

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    The Consolidation of Political Power in China Under Xi Jinping: Implications for the PLA and Domestic Security Forces: Addendum

    Document submitted April 11, 2019, as an addendum to testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 7, 2019.

    Apr 11, 2019

  • Members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard support Exercise Cyber Shield 17 at Camp Williams, Utah, May 2, 2017, photo by Col. Wayde Minami/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    Is It Time to Abandon the Term Information Operations?

    Operations in the information environment will be a critical part of future joint force operations and should be baked in to those operations as a fully valued tool in commanders' combined arms toolboxes. Reaching that goal will require greater acceptance and understanding of information across the joint force, new structures for information forces, and the evolution of how operations in the information environment are handled within the staff.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • China's President Xi Jinping (C) meets with Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, August 30, 2018

    Testimony

    The Consolidation of Political Power in China Under Xi Jinping

    China has experienced a striking consolidation of power under President Xi Jinping. Three trends have affected the People's Liberation Army and have implications for China's domestic security forces. What considerations should U.S. defense planners and officials account for and monitor?

    Feb 7, 2019

  • Report

    Report

    Improving C2 and Situational Awareness for Operations in and Through the Information Environment

    Every military activity has informational aspects, but the information environment (IE) is not well integrated into military planning, doctrine, or processes. Better understanding of the IE will improve command and control and situational awareness.

    Nov 1, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Requirements for Better C2 and Situational Awareness of the Information Environment

    Every military activity has informational aspects, but the information environment (IE) is not well integrated into military planning, doctrine, or processes. Better understanding of the IE will improve command and control and situational awareness.

    Nov 1, 2018

  • ALES wargame brings maritime and amphibious leaders together to explore command and control challenges, discuss future capabilities and interoperability, Official NATO photograph by JWC Stavanger/Released

    Tool

    A Wargame Method for Assessing Risk and Resilience of Military Command-and-Control Organizations

    Guide to conducting a command-and-control (C2) risk and resilience tabletop exercise, a new wargaming method of assessing metrics for C2 structures in terms of risks from adversary efforts or the operational environment and resilience to those risks.

    Jun 21, 2018

  • Air Force Maj. Travis Tucker, right, explains an AC-130U Spooky gunship’s weapons systems to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a mission orientation flight at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Oct. 19, 2016

    Commentary

    Improving the Effectiveness of Air Force Squadron Commanders

    U.S. Air Force commanders around the world understand their responsibilities. But they believe that many unrecognized duties interfere with mission performance. They are generally prepared by professional education and career progression to fulfill their responsibilities, but they could use more instruction on how to command.

    May 23, 2018

  • U.S. soldiers serving with deterrence forces perform a scenario-based situation exercise with Polish soldiers acting as civilians near the Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, February 6, 2018

    Report

    The Role of Deterrence in U.S. Defense Policy

    Deterrence is about much more than merely threatening an adversary. It must be conceived primarily as an effort to shape the thinking of a potential aggressor. Any strategy to prevent aggression must begin with an assessment of the potential aggressor's interests, motives, and imperatives.

    Apr 19, 2018

  • 2nd Lt. Peter Sprenger receives his second lieutenant bars from Gen. David Petraeus and his father, Nov. 19, 2009, U.S. Army Photo

    Report

    Malleability and Measurement of Army Leader Attributes: Personnel Development in the U.S. Army

    This review addresses the degree to which leader characteristics associated with attributes in the Army Leader Requirements Model can be developed through training and education and identifies approaches to measuring those characteristics.

    Apr 12, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Improving the Effectiveness of Air Force Squadron Commanders: Assessing Squadron Commander Responsibilities, Preparation, and Resources

    This study used a variety of data sources and interviews with squadron, group, and wing commanders to develop recommendations for how the Air Force can address commander responsibilities, improve commander preparation, and refine resource monitoring.

    Apr 11, 2018

  • Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army get ready for the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, July 30, 2017

    Testimony

    U.S. Responses to PLA Modernization

    In responding to the PLA's modernization, U.S. decisionmakers should consider two key facts. First, China recognizes a major war with America would likely destroy its national development objectives. Second, most of the PLA's modernization corresponds to capabilities the United States has already attained.

    Feb 15, 2018

  • Composite of Chinese flag and abstract globalization concept

    Report

    How China Seeks to Wage Modern Warfare

    The People's Liberation Army's approach to training, organizing, and equipping for modern warfare over the past two decades has been influenced by systems thinking. It now characterizes modern warfare as a confrontation between opposing operational systems rather than merely opposing armies.

    Feb 1, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Command and Control of Joint Air Operations in the Pacific: Methods for Comparing and Contrasting Alternative Concepts

    This report recommends methods for comparing and contrasting alternative organizational concepts for command and control of joint air operations in the Pacific in different scenarios.

    Jan 18, 2018