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Self-synchronization as additional approach to traditional C2

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Author: Eikelboom, A.R. · Kuijt, J.T. van de · Benda, R. · Pieneman, R.B.J. · Bemmel, I.E. van
Source:23rd International Command and Control Research & Technology Symposium 2018, 6-9 November, Pensacola, Florida (USA)
Identifier: 843593
Keywords: Defence · C2 approach · Self-synchronization · Agility · Defence Research · Defence, Safety and Security


The aim of this study is to provide further insight into the concept of self-synchronization and to explore the possible implications of adopting this alternative approach to traditional hierarchical C2. The central question is: How to continue the function of command and control1 without hierarchical commanding of entities? First, the C2 function is explored, including its sub-functions (leadership, control, decision making and attune2) and underlying principles (continuity, clarity, unity and integration). Subsequently, self-synchronization is explored, as this could prove to be a useful concept to diminish hierarchy and to allocate more decision rights down to field level. According to Albert & Hayes (2003) self-synchronization is described as the operating of entities in the absence of traditional entities for C2. To assess self-synchronization and the implications for the function of C2, this study analyses self-synchronization in terms of characteristics, composition, enablers and challenges. Improved insights on how to adopt self-synchronization helps identifying new opportunities for future implementation of the C2 function, which will increase C2 agility. This research is conducted within the Dutch research program NetForce Command and the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC) Information Age C2 project, cycle 2017-2018. Both look at self-synchronisation as possible alternative approaches to traditional hierarchical C2.