Increasingly, the U.S. is being drawn into non-traditional military operations in complex terrain, including villages and cities occupied by a combination of non-combatants and hostile forces. This trend will continue, as the world's urban population continues its significant growth. Of all the missions faced by U.S. military forces, combat and peacekeeping operations in urban terrain present the greatest challenges. In response, commanders will need to employ network-/execution-centric combined arms forces and Joint capabilities at the lowest tactical echelons and with minimal staffs. To do so, commanders will need information, especially from networked unattended ground sensors (UGS), to rapidly and effectively plan and rehearse urban operations, synchronize ground and air forces, command and control mixed assets, coordinate effects (from weapons and actions), and determine logistics support.
Today, urban terrain operations’ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are transforming from painstaking ground assaults with large numbers of forces and excessively destructive remote strikes, to more efficient Joint operations which identify, isolate, and assault nodes with precision weapons and smaller forces. Successful employment of such TTPs will support future command and control (C2) concepts; reduce force requirements, civilian casualties and collateral damage; and shorten mission times. These TTPs, future C2 concepts, and the complex urban environment will drive the networked UGS requirements for future operations.
This paper will first address these emerging TTPs, future C2 concepts, and the complex urban environment; and identify associated networked UGS challenges. Next, the paper will discuss the recent uses of networked UGS in experiments and demonstrations. Finally, the paper will discuss the innovative employment of networked UGS in these experiments and demonstrations by Warfighters (e.g., for developing situational understanding, mission planning/rehearsal) and the many lessons learned about sensor information needs.