Table of



FM 100-6 Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Information Systems

Microprocessing, miniaturization, communications, and space technologies have combined to permit almost real-time intelligence and information sharing, distributed decision making, and rapid execution of orders from a wide variety of forces and systems for concentrated effect.

FM 100-5

INFOSYS allow the commander to view and understand his battlespace, communicate his intent, lead his forces, and disseminate pertinent information throughout his chain of command and his AO. Effective military and nonmilitary INFOSYS help the staff get the right information to the right location in time to allow commanders to make quality decisions and take appropriate actions. This chapter describes how INFOSYS operate as part of IO. Specifically, the focus is on the functions, role, security, and management of INFOSYS. These INFOSYS consist of--

The entire infrastructure, organization, personnel, and components that collect, process, store, transmit, display, disseminate, and act on information.

Joint Pub 6-0


INFOSYS include personnel, machines, manual or automated procedures, and systems that allow collection, processing, dissemination, and display of information. These functions cover all aspects of the organization, providing commanders with an accurate, relevant, common picture and a common situational awareness. Accordingly, a commander should consider his staff as part of the INFOSYS because its chief function is to plan and integrate IO. INFOSYS collect, transport, process, disseminate, and protect information in support of the CCIR. In addition, INFOSYS enable the commander to use information effectively to maintain an accurate view of his battlespace, coordinate the activities of his tactical forces, and help shape his MIE.

INFOSYS directly support battle command; however, all aspects of land warfare--operations, logistics, planning, and intelligence--depend on a responsive information system infrastructure. INFOSYS are able to simultaneously support current operational deployments and future contingencies. Interoperability and flexibility are critical characteristics of any INFOSYS, especially given the requirement for Army forces to conduct force projection and split-based operations using strategic systems.


The role of INFOSYS is to provide the infrastructure that allows the Army to interface with the GII. INFOSYS enable the integration of all IO activities. INFOSYS form the architecture that--

The accelerated development of information technologies has created new techniques for managing, transporting, processing, and presenting data. These include imagery, video, color graphics and digital overlays, mapping, and data base technology.

With the revolution of information technology, developments in satellite communications, network and computer technology, and the infrastructure of military and nonmilitary INFOSYS combine to provide the commander with a global reach capability. See Figure 5-1. Communications and automation architecture allow for modular C2 support for force tailoring during any phase of an operation. Operations take place in a global environment and demand information from a host of information sources. Military and nonmilitary INFOSYS provide that global capability to support commanders and units across the range of operations. Discussion includes the INFOSYS, the principles that form the foundation for their support, and the direction of future INFOSYS technology.

Figure 5-1

Figure 5-1. Global Communications Network

Military Information Systems

Military INFOSYS integrate fielded and developmental battlefield automation systems and communications to functionally link strategic, operational, and tactical headquarters. INFOSYS maximize available information networks through seamless connectivity as well as C4 interoperability. Figure 5-2 depicts the relationships of strategic, operational, and tactical architectures that tie the many distributed elements into an integrated, interoperable, and cohesive network.

Figure 5-2

Figure 5-2. Seamless Architecture


The primary national warfighting C2 information system is the joint Global Command and Control System (GCCS), which interfaces with the Army Global Command and Control System (AGCCS).


AGCCS is a seamless C2 system operating at the upper echelons of the ABCS and supports C2 for echelon-above-corps units.


ABCS is the primary Army warfighting C2 INFOSYS and employs a mix of fixed/semifixed installations and mobile networks, depending on the subsystem. ABCS is interoperable with theater, joint, and combined C2 systems across the full range of BOS functions. It is vertically and horizontally integrated at the tactical and operational levels. ABCS provides connectivity to combat information data bases and processes information pertaining to each BOS. In addition to the theater-level AGCCS, the other components of the ABCS include the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS) and the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below System (FBCB2).

Army Tactical Command and Control System

ATCCS is linked directly to AGCCS, providing the framework of seamless connectivity from brigade to corps. Moreover, it integrates the traditional disparate stovepipe functions into a coherent, seamless infrastructure that binds the BOS together. Figure 5-3 depicts this INFOSYS architecture. Tactical internet capabilities to establish the use and allocation of new IO capabilities offered by digitization of tactical forces are in development. The tactical internet has both operational and systems information architectures. The operational architecture is for required connectivity of force elements and the type and volume of digital information-sharing by elements within the force. The system architecture is for specific hardware and software to provide connectivity and dissemination of battle command information.The two evolving architectures account for predetermined user information exchange requirements throughout the tactical force.

Each node of the tactical internet can provide information services while on the move. Network management is an important feature of the tactical internet and is highly critical to the successful delivery of information across the battlefield. It enables the tactical information manager to track tactical users on the battlefield. It provides a tool to assist in the dynamic configuration of battle command information networks needed to conduct tactical IO.

Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below System.

In the near term, the FBCB2 system employs the GPS (POS/NAV) and communicates over the single-channel ground and airborne radio system/enhanced position location reporting system (SINCGARS/EPLRS) and the mobile subscriber equipment/tactical packet network (MSE/TPN). These systems form an integrated network to move information (data) between higher and lower echelons (vertically) and between adjacent organizations (horizontally) without routing through the brigade headquarters. Moreover, FBCB2 provides digital connectivity from brigade to weapons systems or platform level. It transitions from a network of three separate systems to a homogeneous network and system of systems comprised of--

Figure 5-3

Figure 5-3. Army Information System Architecture

Nonmilitary Information Systems

Information technology is growing exponentially and transforming how the world conducts business, diplomacy, and war, requiring that commanders have a broader and externally oriented view of all sources of INFOSYS when executing IO. Moreover, DOD has limited authority for securing this civilian infrastructure or influencing the content of its products. Technological improvements in mobility, directed-energy weapons, digitization, and sensors continue to reduce factors of time and space and demand faster tempos of operation across vast areas.

Increasing global population, rapidly expanding world economic markets, and unprecedented advances in INFOSYS technology continue to perpetuate a global explosion of information networks of a nonmilitary or commercial nature. These ever-increasing networks are rapidly creating a global web or infosphere of information. Important changes are occurring in broadcast communications technology, computing, and space-based technology. The global nature and speed of news broadcasts can elevate apparently obscure events into international spectacles and has created a market for news known as infotainment. The number of players in the GIE are growing rapidly and sharing new information over computer networks at a steadily increasing rate.

Cellular communications and data compression advances increasingly provide greater communications freedom to individuals in ever wider regions of the globe. These advances enable individual soldiers as well as independent media or other actors to independently reach home using the internet or broadcast and publication sources. Potential sources of immediate information and the number and variety of MIE influences (both intentional and inadvertent) are rapidly multiplying. The cumulative effects of these changes permanently alter the shape of organizations and C4I architectures in ways that are just becoming evident.

Like the rest of the nation, the Army relies on elements of an information environment it does not control. These nonmilitary INFOSYS include--

Historical Perspective

In 1944, at the Battle of Arnhem, the British First Airborne Division landed with the wrong radio crystals. They couldn't communicate with the outside, not even to their relief column at Nijmegen, a few miles away. They were isolated, under attack by superior numbers, and surprised at being dropped where they weren't supposed to be. During the entire multiday battle, members of the Dutch resistance in Arnhem were routinely talking to the counterparts in Nijmegen by telephone, because the national telephone system had not been taken down. It never occurred to a single paratrooper to knock on the door of a house and call Nijmegen, because the battlefield had been defined outside the civilian infrastructure. The Dutch underground assumed the paratroopers were talking by radio, and the paratroopers had never thought about using the civilian infrastructure.

The availability of nonmilitary INFOSYS often offer the command an alternative means to satisfy its informational C2 needs, but only after a careful assessment of security risks. As an additional benefit, use of available nonmilitary INFOSYS may reduce the requirement for deployed military information system packages. Operational use of a nonmilitary system allows planners to compensate for system shortages and to meet the surge of information requirements in the early stages of deployment.

The J6/G6 is responsible for standardization of nonmilitary equipment and software used throughout the AO. However, planners have to ensure the deployed modular INFOSYS packages implement open, nonproprietary, commonly accepted standards and protocols to interface with nonmilitary systems. Proper use of INFOSYS creates new challenges at individual user, organization, and system levels. Planners should consider these challenges in IO planning because they will affect the end user and the information management structure.

The user will be challenged by the digitization of the battlefield, by interface requirements between the operator and the system, and by the need to develop effective training strategies. The optimal use of INFOSYS ultimately depends on the availability of quality soldiers and leaders who are trained to employ advanced INFOSYS technology. Organizations will be challenged to develop flexible task-organization strategies that use the INFOSYS to adapt to the wide range of different conditions existing in the GIE. In addition, organizations will improve their battlefield functional capability in a digital environment by using advanced computer applications and tools. System challenges will emerge as a result of--

Meeting these challenges will enable and enhance the conduct of future operations.

Signal planning increases the commander's options by providing the requisite signal planning support systems to pass critical information at decisive times, thus leveraging and exploiting tactical success and facilitating future operations.

FM 100-5


Throughout all force-projection stages, a paramount need exists for a signal support means to transport information from the sustaining base power-projection platform at CONUS installations, through strategic gateways, to the forward-most warfighters. Signal support requirements to fulfill this task are enormous and vary greatly, depending on the type of military operation.

Mission-Essential Tasks

Information battlespace requires an end-to-end, protected, seamless, multigigabyte information-transfer and processing capability for the warfighter to conduct IO virtually anywhere at any time. This capability must be a multimedia system of systems that transports video, imagery, data, and voice information to create an infosphere that the battle commander can plug-in and pull what he needs to visualize the battle from the current state to a successful end state. The signal support mission-essential tasks to project and construct the infosphere are to--

Support Enablers

The enabling objective of signal support to IO is to provide the warfighter the capabilities he needs to obtain and share in near real-time. Signal support requires the total integration of all information management functions into a system of systems or ABCS. ABCS provides knowledge-based information that is adaptable and responsive to the commander's IO requirements. The ABCS has a suite of C4 hardware and software capable of collecting, processing, fusing, managing, transporting, disseminating, displaying, and protecting force-level information (status) and force-level control information (intent, plans, orders). The signal support mission-essential tasks to enable IO are to--

  • Digitize, compress, and broadcast multimedia battle command information in five categories, using increased bandwidth, high-efficiency transport systems. The multimedia categories control, monitor, alert, inquire, and explore critical information.
  • Encrypt and provide multilevel information security.
  • Manage information networks with smart software that dynamically allocates throughput capacity on demand and then routes and disseminates information.
  • Display via ABCS, a three-dimensional interactive knowledge-based relevant common picture (RCP).
  • While the core of the twentieth century land warfare has been the tank, the core of the twenty-first century will be the computer.

    General Gordon Sullivan, CSA (1993)


    As technology advances, the conduct of operations will continue to change. Each advance in information technology will--

    Nevertheless, technology is only an enabling tool. Quality soldiers and well-trained leaders remain the true centerpiece to successfully planning and operating this increasingly digitized and automated information system of systems. The following examples illustrate where information technology could enable military operations by the turn of this century.

    Figure 5-4

    Figure 5-4. Horizontal and Vertical INFOSYS


    Due to the present and ever-increasing dependence upon automated INFOSYS within the Army, INFOSEC and information systems security (ISS) has become critical. In both war and peace, computer systems and networks on which units rely for logistics, personnel, administration, maintenance, and financial data processing and transfer are vulnerable to attack. Often, the internet is a favorite communication platform for intruders. Gaining access to a unit's computer and communications network can be accomplished by a wide range of methods and techniques. Some of the more common methods include--

    These intrusions may be initiated during peacetime or at any point in an operation. It is even possible that a military system could come from the factory with an embedded logic bomb or virus. In the past, new commercial floppy disks used by government agencies have been found to contain a virus upon delivery from the factory.

    Accordingly, security measures and procedures must actively as well as passively preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and functionality of INFOSYS. Protection requirements include near-real-time measures that detect intrusions and alterations, then react and counteract by restoring the INFOSYS needed by commanders to support the military operation. A series of security measures that are facets of an overall C2-protect effort ensure ISS. The three primary security measures are--

    Historical Perspective

    In 1994 a computer hacker operating from the United Kingdom attacked the Rome Air Development Center at Griffiss Air Force Base, NY, where he compromised the security of 30 systems and penetrated more than 100 other systems before being caught in a 26-day international electronic manhunt. The victims included the South Korean Atomic Research Institute, NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

    The Defense Information Systems Agency estimates that DOD experienced 231,000 incidents, or security intrusions, in 1994. These incidents included destruction of data, modification of data or software, stolen data or software, and shut-down of hosts or networks. Affected DOD functions include--

    US Senate Permanent
    Subcommittee on Investigations, June 1996

    Procedures for Quality Assurance

    Quality assurance procedures include configuration control and reduction of inadvertent corruption of both data and processes. In order to protect automated INFOSYS, the first step is to understand the threat against them. Security threats to INFOSYS fall into two categories:

    Protection Against Intrusion

    Protection against intrusion into friendly computer networks is accomplished through denying unauthorized entry into these systems. The vast percentage of intrusion results from human error. Training and OPSEC compliance by system managers, operators, and users are the best measures to combat system compromises. In addition, systems administrators must be able to track down intruders.

    Hardening of Programs

    In addition to tracking down intruders, system programs should be hardened against intruders' attempts to gain vital information or damage information flow. No protection plan is perfect, and protection/restoration resources are finite. OPLANs and OPORDs specify the priorities of protection efforts.


    INFOSYS management consists of prioritizing information in a limited communications environment. The primary purpose of automated and manual INFOSYS is to achieve an information advantage by using and managing information for timely and accurate decision making in any type of operation. The focus of battle staffs is to leverage available technology by employing INFOSYS that give the commander the desired information at the right time and the right place. See Appendix C.

    General consensus is that the desire for information by higher headquarters is quickly exceeding the subordinate commander's ability to provide it in a timely manner. Commanders at all levels must carefully define their critical requirements.

    CALL Newsletter, July 1994

    Management Process

    All information that the staff provides is predicated upon the commander's intent, concept of operations, and supporting commander's CCIRs. The CCIRs govern the C4I architecture and its use. The CCIRs define the commander's information needs, thus focusing the staff and INFOSYS support on the rapid acquisition, fusion, and analysis of information that yields knowledge-based operations. The INFOSYS augment routine or periodic reports (established by unit SOPs) with specific requests for information from BOSs or other data bases.

    Technical Systems Management

    The ABCS spans several systems and requires technical management with similar spans. INFOSYS provide an efficient and rapid means of retrieving information, enabling the battle staff to develop and maintain a single, virtual (or logical) data base that satisfies both current and anticipated CCIRs. This allows battle staffs to continue coordinating, integrating, and synchronizing current and future IO. The ABCS, which works primarily at the SECRET classification level, poses both a technical and tactical INFOSYS challenge.

    Technically, the network of ABCS devices function as a seamless whole with redundant paths. Data flow among computers does not require intensive operator action. However, understanding and interacting with the information received is generally a user requirement. The INFOSYS architecture covers the entire battlefield, enabling the command and control of forces. This architecture consists of integrated local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and battlefield automated systems integrated into a single, seamless system subject only to the requirements of multilevel security (MLS) as depicted in Figure 5-5.

    Figure 5-5

    Figure 5-5. Battlefield Architecture Information Integration

    INFOSYS allow the commander and his staff to distribute critical information between higher, lower, adjacent, joint, and multinational forces. Voice traffic and data distribution are the primary methods of passing this information. Voice traffic includes user-to-user, conference, and broadcast type of transmission. Data distribution includes formal record traffic (joint message text), informal record traffic (facsimile and electronic mail), system-to-system data, and POS/NAV data.

    Technical systems management connects all INFOSYS devices into a multilevel secure network that supports the commander's concept of operation and maintains the correct security levels at each network node throughout the battle. Technical systems management requirements include--

    Tactically, the information flow must support the needs of commanders. Commanders and staffs must have the information they need to plan, direct, control, and coordinate an operation. The information must be secure and readily available. Tactical systems management ensures that information is exchanged inside and outside the unit and made available according to the needs of commanders and staffs to support the tactical plan.

    Within each BOS, the information flow, processing, and storage are managed according to the needs of the BOS. Flow, processing, and storage of information among BOSs are collectively managed according to the needs of the overall force-level commander. Tactical systems management includes--

    Appendix C contains detailed information on INFOSYS planning.

    Electromagnetic Spectrum Management

    In a dynamic battlespace, each echelon of command must effectively contribute to achieving a state of information dominance. To do so, it uses the EMS for its own purposes, while effectively preventing similar use by an adversary. The EMS is a valuable and finite resource. Controlling it is the linchpin for digitization. Commanders must have a battle staff with knowledge of the EMS.

    The J6/G6 or signal officer has staff responsibility for battlefield spectrum management. The spectrum manager under his supervision manages all spectrum use. Major considerations in IO planning include deconfliction of frequencies, development of joint signal operating instructions (JSOI), and development of the joint restricted frequency list (JRFL), as well as all other bandwidth requirements levied by intelligence, C2W, CA, PA, and signal elements. These elements must be balanced to ensure that users maximize the EMS effectively.

    Uncontested ownership of the EMS is not guaranteed. However, to gain control of the flow and content of information, units must effectively manage the EMS to reduce the likelihood of electromagnetic interference (EMI). For unopposed entry operations, the status of forces agreement made with a host nation defines frequency provisions and procedures to be followed in all frequency and radio regularity matters. Parts of the spectrum are reserved by nations and other international agencies and therefore are not available for use by the US military.

    Where agreements do not exist, coordination of frequency use is made through DOS. The United Nations (UN) recognizes the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as the specialized agency in the telecommunications field. The ITU allocates the international radio frequency spectrum, registers frequency assignments, and coordinates resolving interference. Forced entry operations create the greatest demands for flexible and adaptive spectrum management. An adversary will use the spectrum as he sees fit, creating potential interference with friendly usage. For example, a television station may interfere with combat net radios, yet the OPLAN may call for capturing the station intact for future friendly use, thereby hindering efforts to eliminate the interference. During initial spectrum planning, planners must consider adversary spectrum usage and management and adapt to events as they unfold.

    Communications dominate war; they are the most important single element in strategy.

    Mann (1907)