U.S. integrated command center in Gulf called 'transformation'

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

WASHINGTON The United States has prepared advanced command and control facilities in the Persian Gulf to conduct an air and ground war against Iraq.

U.S. officials said Central Command has installed advanced C2 systems in Gulf Cooperation Council states. They include facilities in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the facilities are reflective of a transformation of the military. Myers told a military industry conference on Jan. 14 that this has included the link between aircraft and ground stations and commanders.

"In Kuwait, the theater ground force commander has a command-and-control suite that is comparable to what the air-component commander has at Prince Sultan Air Base [in Saudi Arabia]," Myers told the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association conference. "This is a big leap forward for the ground component. What I saw last month was our joint team building a web, if you will, of shared information.

[On Tuesday, a U.S. civilian was killed and another was wounded in a shooting attack near a military base outside Kuwait City. U.S. officials said at least one gunman was involved in the attack on the Americans, identified as civilian contractors for the U.S. military.]

Myers said the facilities in the Gulf reflect what the military terms transformation. He said this this would allow commanders to issue quicker decisions regarding the situation on the battlefield and promote cooperation between air, ground and naval commanders for joint operations.

"If they have a common picture of the battlefield, they're able to share information, then they're much more likely to have trust and confidence in each other's ability to fill the gaps and seams that are going to occur in the battlespace," Myers said.

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