The Global Command and Control System has now replaced the
venerable Worldwide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS)
as the Department of Defense's computerized system of record for
strategic command and control functions. With GCCS, joint
commanders can coordinate widely dispersed units, receive
accurate feedback, and execute more demanding, higher precision
requirements in fast moving operations.
The new GCCS system provides combatant commanders one
predominant source for generating, receiving, sharing and using
information securely. It provides surveillance and
reconnaissance information and access to global intelligence
sources as well as data on the precise location of dispersed
With the Global Command and Control System, warfighters can
plan, execute and manage military operations. The system helps
joint force commanders synchronize the actions of air, land, sea,
space, and special operations forces. It has the flexibility to
be used in a range of operations: from actual combat to
humanitarian assistance. The Joint Operational Planning and
Execution System has been transferred into this new environment.
The nation's military plans are kept and updated around the world
using the JOPES system.
GCCS replaces the older WWMCCS network of large mainframe
computers in use since the 1970s with a client server computer
system built on modern information technology. The new
technology, based on a common operating environment, allows
greater software flexibility, reliability, and interoperability
with other computer systems. For example, commanders can
establish their own homepages at the secret level and communicate
securely through e-mail with counterparts around the world. GCCS
gives military personnel the same kind of plug and play
available with Windows-type operating systems on home computers.
Prior to being declared the system of record, GCCS underwent
thorough testing, including a rigorous two phase operational
test. Test databases were evaluated operationally from late
April to June 1996. In early July, databases containing real
world plans were moved
from WWMCCS to GCCS. Final operational testing commenced.
WWMCCS remained in a standby mode to provide back up capability
in the unlikely event of failure while GCCS was used as the
primary command and control system.
At the end of August 1996, the decision was made to
declare GCCS as the single system of record. WWMCCS has now been
terminated entirely for the day to day operations of strategic
command and control. GCCS proved its use during recent U.S.
military actions in Operation Desert Strike. The Joint Staff
witnessed first hand an operational system providing a picture of
the evolving battlespace in real time via GCCS workstations.
Implementation of GCCS is a major accomplishment.
Nevertheless, it is still only an early phase of a larger, more
ambitious effort known as C4I (Command, Control, Communications,
Computers, and Intelligence) for the Warrior. The C4I for the
Warrior vision is to bring together all command, control,
communications and intelligence elements in order to speed
information flow throughout the battlefield. The ultimate
objective is to link U.S. forces, allowing them to communicate
and trade information more rapidly than ever before. By putting
in place the basic infrastructure to support such a network, GCCS
represents a critical step in achieving this objective.