C2 Series: Clearing the Fog and Friction of Command and Control

Arlington, VA | January 9, 2023 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is proud to announce three new Forum Papers in a series on command and control (C2) by Col Frederick “Trey” Coleman, the commander of the 505th Command and Control Wing.

With an Air Force still pondering how it can accelerate change (or lose), as well as grappling with the requirements to realize a Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept, these short analyses come at a critical time in the conversation. Modern warfare increasingly requires rapid decision-making cycles, followed by seamless execution, highlighting the need for having a clear sight picture of future C2.

In the first, Forum 48, Clearing the Fog and Friction of Command and Control, Col Coleman outlines what command and control is and is not—a clarity that is needed to have productive strategy and policy discussions while avoiding building warfighting concepts around unclear but popular buzzwords.

The second, Forum 49, The Limited Utility of Mission Type Orders for ACE… and A Better Way to Execute Mission Command, uses a case study of how mission type orders, or MTOs, were temporarily successful in Afghanistan at pushing C2 forward in the battle space, and what lessons this example might extend to C2 in an agile combat employment (ACE) situation.

Finally, Forum 50, Distributed Control: Getting It Right breaks down the Air Force’s own semantic changes regarding “Centralized command, distributed control, and decentralized execution,” and examines how differentiating command and control can help the force move toward more truly distributed operational concepts, despite legacy operations, organizations, and infrastructures premised on centrality.

These essays help paint a broader portrait of where Air Force C2 has been, how it is changing, and where it needs to go to achieve successful mission outcomes in future informationized battlespaces against sophisticated adversaries. While these thought pieces are foundational, the Mitchell Institutes intends to continue this series and discussion on C2, as it underpins all Air Force operations, which, in turn, enable all joint force missions.

The Forum presents innovative concepts and thought-provoking insight from aerospace experts here in the United States and across the globe. As a means to afford publishing opportunities for thoughtful perspectives, Mitchell Institute’s Forum provides high visibility to writing efforts on issues spanning technology and operational concepts, defense policy and strategy, and unique interpretations of changing geopolitical relationships or doctrine.

For media inquiries, email our publications team at forum.mitchellaerospacepower@afa.org

Copies of Forum Papers can be downloaded at https://www.mitchellaerospacepower.org/publications

Cover photo: USAF

Forum Paper 48 Forum Paper 49 Forum Paper 50
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