A Question of Command and Control

The last 10 years of combat in Southwest Asia has proved that all four military services can fight jointly for an extended period of time, Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters Wednesday. This has helped move the ball forward on the perennial issue of command and control of air assets. All services have contributed greatly to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the struggle over the control of organic assets fundamentally is about C2 and the difficulties in communicating across service lines, which emerge on occasion. “It’s really more a matter of ensuring that the troops on the ground have the opportunity to ask for help and get it immediately,” McHugh said. “I think most warfighters of any branch would say, ‘I want my guys to control that platform because when they want a strike they want it five seconds ago,’” he added, and they get worried about C2 across service lines. “We still need to work better on unified command and control,” McHugh added, “but I would never say, well, this service doesn’t show up when we need them.”