US and allies train to avoid fate of Ukrainian military commanders killed by Russia

US and allies train to avoid fate of Ukrainian military commanders killed by Russia

The Changing Face of Command Posts: Adapting to Modern Warfare

Australian army HX77 truck moves command-post components into place during Talisman Sabre

The Ukrainian military’s ability to track down and attack Russian military commanders has sent shockwaves through Moscow and militaries around the world. This success has forced the Russian army, as well as other armies such as the US and its allies, to reconsider how they set up their command posts and protect them from similar attacks.

Command posts are crucial nodes for military officers, intelligence and communications specialists, and other troops directing battlefield operations. Traditionally, these posts have had a distinct electronic and physical footprint, making them easy targets for enemies to locate. The proliferation of intelligence-gathering assets and precision-guided weapons has only exacerbated this vulnerability.

In response to this evolving threat, the Australian army recently showcased adaptations to command post setups during the Talisman Sabre exercise. One notable change was the use of camouflage netting and burrowing command posts nearly 10 feet into the ground, providing better protection and making them harder to detect. Additionally, the shape of the command posts was adjusted to allow for quick deployment and mobility, ensuring they could be set up and dismantled within minutes if necessary.

The success of these adaptations was evident during the exercise, where US and Australian soldiers worked together to disguise their command posts and quickly relocate them if discovered. By leveraging reconnaissance assets, they were able to assess the effectiveness of their concealment techniques and make real-time adjustments.

The importance of these adaptations in command post setups cannot be understated. Ukraine’s precision attacks on Russian command-and-control networks have proven highly effective, significantly degrading Russia’s ability to plan and execute coordinated operations. Attacks on command posts across the country have resulted in the attrition of senior Russian military leaders and forced the Russian army to move its headquarters more than 75 miles behind its forward lines.

The implications of these changes extend beyond just the Russian army. The US Army, for example, is recognizing the need to move away from the command post setups employed during Middle East conflicts, which were characterized by a lack of threats and an expanding mission set. Future command posts will need to be more data-centric, closely integrated with friendly forces, resilient, and agile. The goal is to be effective and survivable in large-scale combat operations against capable enemies.

During Talisman Sabre, Australian troops showcased a project known as “Headquarters on the Move.” This project involved the use of Bushmaster vehicles equipped with built-in satellite communications, consolidating equipment and making communication highly mobile. By eliminating the need for extensive manual labor and setup, it enables greater autonomy and independence.

In conclusion, the evolving nature of warfare and the success of Ukraine’s precision attacks on command posts have necessitated changes in how militaries set up and protect their command posts. The adaptations showcased during the Talisman Sabre exercise by the Australian army provide valuable insights into how command posts can be made more secure and agile. This shift in approach will be crucial for militaries worldwide as they prepare for future conflicts against capable adversaries.