Battalion commanders in the infantry are expected to play decisive roles in
future wars, and as such, the army is equipping them with a revolutionary
command-and-control system that will give them more independence over their
battle arenas than ever before, a senior military source told The Jerusalem Post
The system, called Digital Ground Army (DGA), generates and
updates a computer map of all army and enemy locations in a given
Feeding it is an array of inputs from the Ground Forces – including
from tank operators, Artillery Corps-operated drones, infantry units and
surveillance posts – thereby keeping several IDF command levels informed of the
“The one who will win the next war is the battalion
commander, not a whole division that will invade an enemy capital. We want to
give the battalion commander these command-and-control systems, without
overburdening them,” the source said.
DGA was launched four years ago by
the C4i (Teleprocessing) Corps, and IDF divisions and brigades have absorbed it
The focus now is to equip battalion commanders, and even
the command level below them – company commanders – with the many advantages the
Essentially this means that battalion commanders can now
enjoy operational independence in their battle zones, that would have been
impossible just a few years ago.
A battalion commander can get immediate
information on the location of his own forces and those of the enemy, and use
the system to direct soldiers, tank fire, artillery fire, and the air force to
Within seconds to a minute of the target information
being acquired, it appears on the DGA map, giving commanders a full view of the
“To grant these capabilities to the lower tactical
level is precious. I’d even say very precious. It’s completely
new. This is a dramatic change,” the source said.
DGA has changed the
nature of training for commanders.
There are currently 12 training
classes at a major IDF training base that enable them to master the
“It gives them more independence, and lowers chances of
friendly-fire incidents. It allows battalion command posts to enjoy full
command-and-control capabilities over their arenas,” the source
“The commander can now be in his armored personnel carrier near the
front line, but still know what his command post behind him is seeing. He can be
close to a forward company and still look back to get a full picture of the
situation. This relieves him of the need to stay back at the post.”
changes are part of the wider, network-centered warfare revolution sweeping the
IDF. As part of this revolution, stringent encryption measures have been
developed to keep the DGA’s highly sensitive communications secure.
the Armored Corps, individual tank crews already use the DGA. Tank computers
tell the DGA’s other users when tank shells are fired, and in which direction
they are flying.
“It’s the main command-and-control system for Ground
Forces,” the source said. “The number of units seeking the system has risen
exponentially as people understand its contribution.”
DGA is “still very
young,” he added. “The IDF will become as reliant on it as civilians are on
their iPhones. Maps will soon be seen as medieval.”
DGA is now in use for
routine security missions like border patrols.
“We know it’ll work during
war, because it works now 24/7 in continuous security, in all arenas. It works
all day,” the source stated.
At present, the servers sit at army unit
headquarters, broadcasting interactive maps to units serving along all
frontiers, from north to south.
Work is also under way to connect the DGA
to the air force and navy.
In the past, the military’s branches had to
communicate such information via faxes and phone calls. Now, they are
Jets and combat helicopters can broadcast relevant data
they see to field commanders via the DGA. Military Intelligence can also use the
system to send information to commanders on the ground.
The risk now is
of information overflow, the source said.
“There’s no limit to the data,”
he explained. “We are looking at ways to deal with this information flood. How
to filter effectively, and get the specific data that the commander requires.
This calls for a different way of handling the system.”
One upgrade will
enable commanders to see their own position and their target’s position in
magnified areas of the screen, rather than seeing a flat map.
everyone has fully internalized the significance of the system yet,” the source
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