HQ-TO-GO The U.S. Army general preparing to lead troops into Iraq has a brand-new, built-from-scratch, mobile command center, the Wall Street Journal reports.When Lt. General William Wallace found out he'd be in charge of the Army's push into Iraq, he wanted to be able to survey the Mesopotamian battlefields -- without losing access to the latest, computer-borne intelligence.
"So he ordered up an airtight, pressurized vehicle that would be safe in chemical or biological attacks while allowing him to receive command-and-control data. He wanted big computerized screens, like those at his base, in the vehicle. He asked for electronic maps that could show him the location of the Patriot missiles intended to protect American troops from Scud attacks, and he needed access to secure e-mail systems."The Command and Control Vehicle (or "C2V") is Wallace's dream made manifest. Using the leftover chassis of old missile-rocket launch vehicles, it looks like a big tank from the outside, the Journal says.
"Inside, the general's C2V resembles a cross between a mobile home and a cramped version of Capt. Kirk's Star Deck. Screens fill one side. Tiny, uncomfortable pull-down chairs line another wall; the C2V fits eight people, including the driver and gunner. Wires hang from the ceiling. A map of Iraq takes up a big chunk of wall space. A coffeepot sits in a corner"The general's C2V was conceived just six months ago. Pentagon planners worked on a similar idea several years ago, but they aborted the project because it was too expensive."THERE'S MORE: Phil Carter calls Wallace's mobile HQ "dumb."
A Corps Commander is rarely close enough to the front lines to need a C2V. The Corps command posts stay behind the range of enemy artillery as a matter of Army doctrine... (Also), the C2V itself doesnt do the job that LTG Wallace wants. He wants to use it to drive up and see his commanders. Thats dumb. Time is of the essence for a commander, and the V Corps commander has a lot of helicopters at his disposal. Itnd be far wiser not to mention safer u for him to fly around the battlefield with an Apache helicopter escort as Gen. Schwartzkopf did in the first Gulf War.Carter served under Wallace in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. And back then, Wallace had a C2V prototype."Unfortunately, the vehicle didnt work that well," Carter says. "The digitization inside the vehicles worked okay, but the vehicles themselves were junk. They broke down all the time, and could not keep pace with a lot of other vehicles on the battlefield."AND MORE: Former 1st Infantry member "Wyatt Earp" disagrees with Phil, strongly. "One problem the United States has had since the Civil War is the fact that Colonels and above tend to never see the battle or talk to Lt. Colonels on down. If this C2V lets the General get a little closer and talk to a Major or a battalion command staff once or twice, it's worth the money and effort."