By WO2 C. Boyle
1. The Brigade Signals unit has always worked closely with the brigade in providing the Command and Control required at all levels in support of planning and execution of the mission at hand. This support is provided by the Communications Management Group (CMG) within the Combat Signals Regiment (CSR) on behalf of the CO.
2. A CMG is formed by the senior deployed headquarters, is commanded by the senior CIS officer, and is responsible for the overall control of the deployed CIS. A CMG can support operations, exercises or raise, train and sustain activities. How each of these is supported can and will vary depending on the activity itself, services required and the Commanders intent.
3. The CMG is just part of a larger Defence CIS Technical Control Hierarchy which allows force elements, through the appropriate liaison authority to receive timely and accurate advice from the technical authorities. This more streamline hierarchy can at times bypass steps if sufficient authority is granted to achieve the mission or task.
4. The make up and requirement of a CMG has changed over the years with the development of technology and the size of deployed nodes. The Technical Control Hierarchy is often just a guide and changes between barracks, exercises and operations, with commanders able to control the fight from a distance if so required.
5. The aim of this paper is to identify how a CMG operates in today's Army and to determine how the role changes with the need of the brigade or Task Group. This paper will propose how the CMG can be best utilised in all aspects of operation and modified to suit the commander.
6. This paper will examine the Technical Control hierarchy and how the CMG fits within this hierarchy. Also the relationship Technical Control (TECHCON) has with command and control both in the barracks environment, on exercise and on operations.
7. It is important to note that TECHCON is not an Operational Command Authority but a sub-element of Administrative Authority. In command and control doctrine TECHCON is defined as 'the provision of specialist and technical advice by designated authorities for the management and operation of forces.' Although not an Operational Command Authority, TECHCON has an important relationship with command. The exercise of technical control may at times influence or even force a command decision, therefore the technical chain shadows the command chain at all levels to provide commanders the required advice. This advice needs to be offered in a timely and accurate manner and at the brigade level and above the trade warrant officers who make up the CMG have the experience and knowledge to provide this advice.
8. CIS technical control is the specialized or professional guidance and direction exercised by an authority in technical matters, and is based on the principle of centralized management and decentralized execution. The centralized management system allows for the necessary degree of guidance and control required for the integration of all CIS elements. Decentralised execution allows for flexibility and redundancy to be incorporated into lower level CIS plans.
9. The CIS technical control hierarchy is part of the overall CIS management. This hierarchy allows for a CIS network to be monitored, maintained and managed at each level providing the technical configuration and network changes required to support the commander's plan. Figure 1 below depicts the technical control chain, identifying the links between technical control and liaison.
CIS TECHNICAL CONTROL HIERARCHY
10. A CMG is the senior technical control element tasked with all planning, management and maintenance of communications within a designated area or operation. There is generally only one CMG and multiple Communication Control Groups (CCG), however depending on the scale of the exercise or operation there can be multiple CMG's or no CMG, only a CCG.
11. The role that a CMG has can vary greatly depending on the environment and the commander's mission. As commanders have became more enabled through technology that allows real time and near real time information the dependence on a CMG and other operations staff for deliberate planning has become limited in some cases. The CMGs role is now very different in barrack, on exercise and on operations.