Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Future Role and Shape of Corps of Signals

The Corps of Signals will be celebrating its Centenary on 15 Feb 2011. The journey of Corps through the last 100 years encompassing many wars and national emergencies not only in India but in other parts of the Globe, has been a Saga of rich heritage. Signal communications have come a long way from Heliographs, Lamp and Flag signalling to Satellite communications, Radio relay, Intranet and Cell Phone technology. This is an appropriate time to look at the future Role and Shape of Corps of Signals.

Nature of Warfare. A revolution is taking place in the way wars are being conducted. This has been so visible in both the Iraq Wars, NATO’s actions in Afghanistan and the manner in which world’s most powerful nations like USA, China, Russia and NATO are organizing and equipping their forces. At the heart of most military developments are the new systems and gadgetry incorporating latest electronics technology, for surveillance, target acquisition and weapons. Nothing above the ground/sea seems invisible. Weapons delivered from the air, ground, and on and even below sea have become highly accurate and devastating. Electronics have made distances immaterial.

In modern warfare, there is a need for sharing real time information amongst different echelons and components of a force, exercise of judicious command and control keeping in view urgency to speed up action employing the best possible assets and avoid casualties from friendly fire. Commanders and staffs need up to date tactical picture of enemy and own assets much before the enemy is able to do so, in order to coordinate own effort and preempt him. Nuclear weapons have not been used in any of the conflicts so far, except towards the end of World War II, against Japan, but their mere existence affects the strategic thinking and measures have to be taken for rare contingency if they are ever used.

Network Centric Warfare. This Doctrine has been propagated by the US Department of Defence and envisages “translation of information advantage”, enabled in part by information technology (combination of computers and communications) into a competitive advantage over the enemy. In order that information flows speedily vertically and horizontally, modern robust communication networks are necessary for real-time passage of information from the source to the decision makers and dissemination of plans and orders by them ie effective command and control.
Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh,PVSM (Retd)
Former SO in C
Published in the USI Journal Oct-Dec 2010 Issue: Click here to read the full article

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