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For police agencies as well as military professionals, the key factor that makes all the difference is information.

Information that is made available to commanders and decision-makers must be accurate and relayed to the right people at the right time.

For government and military decision-makers, they must be able to send, receive and assess information in real time if possible, then collaborate with one another efficiently to achieve the mission. But in order for this to happen, effective systems and procedures must be put into place.

Today the term most commonly used pertaining to military information systems is C4ISR. This is a broad term that refers to systems, procedures and techniques used to collect and disseminate information. It breaks down like this:

  • Command and Control, or “C2,” does not have a strict, universally agreed-upon definition, but governments and militaries around the world agree that C2 can be generally described as the exercise of authority within a given environment in the pursuit of a mission. In the simplest of terms, it is where orders come from and where decisions are made.
  • Communications is another broad term, referring to the sharing and transmission of information.
  • Computer systems are an essential component of modern warfare, as well as in business and government. Simply put, no other component of C4ISR functions effectively in the 21st century without effective computer systems.
  • Intelligence is a term referring to information itself that pertains to the mission, or goals and objectives of the organization carrying out the mission.
  • Surveillance is the monitoring and observation of activities and behavior in order to gather Intelligence. This can be done in many different ways, including intercepting electronic communications, video and audio monitoring, and human intelligence gathering.
  • Reconnaissance is distinct from Surveillance (although the terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably) because it involves the act of sending personnel or equipment (such as drones) into areas outside friendly control for the purpose of gathering Intelligence.

C4ISR is ultimately about increasing situational awareness, giving decision-makers the information they need as fast as possible, and using the right materials, equipment, and systems to make that happen.

To achieve mission success, all the components of C4ISR MUST work together smoothly. It is the essence of any mission, and a fault in any link in the chain can have serious, even deadly consequences.

Want to learn more about C4ISR? Tonex offers several Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance courses.

Tonex also offers nearly 400 classes, seminars and workshops in close to four dozen categories of systems engineering training.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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