BAGHDAD, Iraq --- Soldiers of the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division are putting transformational technology to work in their day-to-day operations in Baghdad.
The unit is the first to employ the “Command Post of the Future” in an operational environment. The new method allows commanders from battalion level and higher to feed real-time situational awareness into the system and have that information available in text and graphic representation immediately by fellow commanders and operations officers at all levels.
The division is responsible for operations in and around Baghdad. The division’s assistant commander, Brig. Gen. Jeff Hammond, explained how 1st Cav came to use the system in Iraq.
He said Division Commander Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli brought the system with him when he became division commander in July 2003. Before that, Chiarelli had been responsible for the Army Operations Center in the Pentagon when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. He had seen demonstrations of the new command-post system by officials from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency and immediately saw its value in operational situations, Hammond explained.
Hammond said the unit’s staff trained extensively on the new command-post system in the pre-deployment period. “We were the first ones to take on the challenge, and there was some risk involved, to take this into an operational theater,” he said.
Hammond described the system as a valuable planning and management tool, but said he didn’t always believe in its usefulness. “I was a skeptic,” the general readily admits. “But it only took me about a week to buy into it.”
During a June 16 visit to the division’s headquarters, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz sat in on a briefing to the division headquarters staff, through the new command-post system, from the unit’s five brigade commanders at their various locations throughout the city.
As each brigade commander briefed, the other commanders and division staff were able to access the same map overlays instantly and listen in on the briefing.
The system allows commanders “to access real-time situational intelligence,” Hammond said.
The 1st Cav is employing the system at the brigade level. However, it can be used effectively down to the battalion level, Hammond said.