Response to Maj. Matthew S. Blumberg's “The Integrated Tactical Network: Pivoting Back to Communications Superiority”

Military Review, May-June 2020

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I am responding to the article “The Integrated Tactical Network: Pivoting Back to Communications Superiority” by Maj. Matthew S. Blumberg, U.S. Army.

I have commented before about mission command and I have said that the commander who can utilize the modern communications, signal, and data will be the one very successful in mission command.

Why? The radio was the tool that made mission-type orders happen in World War II. Corps would issue orders via the radio, division then pushed that down, as did the subordinate units. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army orders were on one piece of paper with an overlay on the back.

When looking at sustained operations in World War II, much of the day-to-day operations were not covered in any order unless there was a specific change. Staffs knew the other staffs up and down the chain. Staffs worked together to ensure that combat operations were not negatively affected by their jobs.

When you look at the size of a tactical operations center (TOC) from brigade on up, it is an anchor to the maneuver force. How can your tactical operations center maintain maneuver beyond sixty miles plus and keep up with the speed of battle? What is needed to keep the commander and the TOC moving, supplied with a current common operational picture and with a reduced signal footprint?

One brigade commander of the Third Infantry Division (3rd ID) who took part in Desert Storm fought from his M1A1 Abrams main battle tank. The 3rd “Phantom” Brigade, 3rd ID, with its infantry, armor, cavalry, field artillery, engineer, and forward support battalions conducted a 110-kilometer movement to contact in Desert Storm.

How do we do that today?

Master Sgt. Karlen P. Morris, U.S. Army, Retired


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July-August 2020