German Forces Add, Need New Battlefield Technologies

September 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

German military forces in Afghanistan have improved their command and control (C2) capabilities significantly, but they need more advanced technologies to move those advances down to the lower tactical levels. This assessment was stated by Lt. Gen. Carl-Hubertus von Butler, GEA, commander, German Army Forces Command, at the AFCEA Bonn Chapter's Koblenz Symposium on September 3, 2009.

Gen. Butler cited broadband solutions as a vital need for moving vital reconnaissance data down to warfighters. "What good will sensors do if they can't get [their information] down to lower levels?" he stated.

He called for better ability to transmit both voice and data at the tactical level. Many C2 advances in Afghanistan are bearing fruit, but the German army often finds it necessary to train its troops abroad on some new systems.

However, the general warned against information overload. Soldiers must be trained to recognize what information is relevant amid the flood of data that new sensors and networks are delivering. He expressed doubt that this goal is reachable.

And, interoperability remains a major challenge. Despite creating a joint French-German combat force, Germany found its forces were more interoperable with those of Norway and Sweden than with its French counterparts.

Maintaining technological superiority is the only way a modern military such as Germany's can defeat asymmetric threats, Gen. Butler declared.

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