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Article 1: WWMCCS
by Das Behaelter
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x Das Behaelter   - at 9:36 pm on Tuesday January 13 2004 x
x This article describes the nature of WWMCCS world wide military command and control system of the US Military and how it worked. x
x Das Behaelter NATO C3 Logo. World Wide - When working in G-3 Operations under the General's Staff of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, I was online to several wide area networks used by the military and educational facilities throughout the country. This is a first article in a series of events and projects that formed the ideas into what we came to call the Internet. I was quite lucky to be there for most of the original development. I hope you find these articles informative and enjoyable. Only unsensative unclassified information will be found here. @:o)

The first system I will include within this series is about the first large military system I came to work on, called WWMCCS. If you are familiar with WINS or GCCS, then you will be interested to know that these systems were successors to the WWMCCS project.

The WWMCCS (World Wide Military Command and Conrol System) was used worldwide by deployed U.S military due to the requirement of extensive long-range communications systems that can maintain contact with all of those forces at all times.

To enable national command authorities to exercise effective command and control of their widely dispersed forces, a communications system was established to enable those authorities to disseminate their decisions to all subordinate units, under any conditions, within minutes.

As initially established, WWMCCS was an arrangement of personnel, equipment (including Automated Data Processing equipment and hardware), communications, facilities, and procedures employed in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling the operational activities of U.S. military forces.

This system was intended to provide the president and the secretary of defense a means to receive warning and intelligence information, assign military missions, provide direction to the unified and specified commands, and support the Joint Chiefs of Staff in carrying out their responsibilities. The directive establishing the system stressed five essential system characteristics: survivability, flexibility, compatibility, standardization, and economy.

Since the system is no longer in use, I can describe its break-down:

FLTSAT and DSCS satellites communicated to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Air Force 1 (President's Aircraft).

Then SAC received and broadcast to:
SAC ground forces, Navy intelligence, Marine Corps Operations (this was us), The White House, The Pentagon, Minuteman launch control facilities, Military force elements, and other important agencies throughout the world.

This system moved through many different ways, using many different protocols. Some of these include microwave, radio, commercial telephone lines, Autovon Military Communications System (which has been replaced with DSN), MARS (not the planet @:o) ), and other forms of communication.

Originally, WWMCCS hadn't realized the full potential that had been envisioned for the system. The services' approach to WWMCCS depended upon the availability of both technology and funding to meet individual requirements, so no truly integrated system emerged. Indeed, during the 1960s, WWMCCS consisted of a loosely knit federation of nearly 160 different computer systems, using 30 different general purpose software systems at 81 locations. One study claimed that WWMCCS was "more a federation of self-contained subsystems than an integrated set of capabilities."

The problems created by these diverse subsystems were apparently responsible for several well-publicized failures of command and control during the latter part of the 1960s.

For example, during hostilities between Israel and Egypt in June 1967, the USS Liberty, a naval reconnaissance ship, was ordered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to move further away from the coastlines of the billigerents. Five high-priority messages to that effect were sent to the Liberty, but none arrived for more than 13 hours. By that time the ship had become the victim of an apparently mistaken attack by Israeli aircraft and patrol boats that killed 34 Americans.

A congressional committee investigating this incident concluded, "The circumstances surrounding the misrouting, loss and delays of those messages constitute one of the most incredible failures of communications in the history of the Department of Defense."

The result of these various failures was a growth in the centralized management of WWMCCS, occurring at about the same time that changing technology brought in computers and electronic displays.

For example, 27 command centers were equipped with standard Honeywell 6000 computers and common programs so there could be a rapid exchange of information among the command centers.

An assistant secretary of defense for Telecommunications was established, and a 1971 DOD directive gave that person the primary staff responsibility for all WWMCCS-related systems. That directive also designated the Chairman of the JCS as the official responsible for the operation of WWMCCS.

The World-Wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS) Intercomputer Network (WIN) was a centrally managed information processing and exchange network consisting of large-scale computer systems at geographically separate locations, interconnected by a dedicated wide-band, packet-switched communications subsystem. The architecture of the WIN consists of WWMCCS-standard AN/FYQ-65(V) host computers and their WIN-dedicated Honeywell 6661 Datanets and Datanet 8's connected through Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) C/30 and C/30E packet switching computers called Packet Switching Nodes (PSNs) and wideband, encrypted, dedicated, data communications circuits.

By the early 1980s, it was time to modernize this system. The replacement, proposed by the deputy secretary of defense, was an evolutionary upgrade program known as the WWMCCS Information System [WIS], which provided a range of capabilities appropriate for the diverse needs of the WWMCCS sites.

During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, WWMCCS performed flawlessly 24 hours a day, seven days a week; providing critical data to combat commanders worldwide in deploying, relocating and sustaining allied forces.

However, WWMCCS was dependent on a proprietary mainframe environment. Information cannot be easily entered or accessed by users, and the software cannot be quickly modified to accommodate changing mission requirements. Operational flexibility and adaptability are limited, since most of the information and software are stored on the mainframe. The system architecture is unresponsive, inflexible, and expensive to maintain.

This new WWMCCS Information System configuration continued to be refined until 1992 when the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, and intelligence terminated this latest attempt to modernize the WWMCCS ADP equipment.

Here is a link to an Executive summary...


The continuing need to meet established requirements which couldn't be fulfilled, coupled with a growing dissatisfaction among users with the existing WWMCCS system, drove the conceptualizing of a new system, called GCCS.

On August 30, 1996, Lieutenant General Albert J. Edmonds, Director, Defense Information Systems Agency, officially deactivated the World Wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS) Intercomputer Network (WIN). Concurrently, the Joint Staff declared the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) as the joint command and control system of record.

Replacing WWMCCS


The following is a news article I just found while checking my facts:

Defense Department Classic Becomes an Object of History
Courtesy of DISA Public Affairs
Verteidigungsministerium


The year was 1972. Americans were singing American Pie, tuning in to the television show, M*A*S*H, and buying handheld calculators which had just hit the market.

Meanwhile, that same year, the Department of Defense installed its first new system designed to streamline and automate military planning. That system, the Worldwide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS), was eventually installed at 35 major military sites with hundreds of remote locations. Thousands of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen used WWMCCS to plan and conduct real and exercise contingencies.

Twenty-five years and numerous upgrades later, like other classics of 1972, WWMCCS is just a memory to those warriors who developed and used it. It was replaced in 1996 by a new command and control system.

In July, LTG David J. Kelley, DISA Director, donated a WWMCCS terminal to the Armed Forces History Collections at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

"WWMCCS was a vital step forward in military history," said General Kelley. "The system contained information on every unit and support function in the Department. Designed for the Cold War, WWMCCS ADP provided us with the ability to partly automate planning for large scale military operations. It created an appreciation in the military for high technology that continues to evolve today. WWMCCS and the men and women who used it played a crucial role in our country's defense. They served our nation well."

As technology evolved, the WWMCCS became antiquated, costly to maintain and did not allow for easy expansion. Additionally, the Desert Shield deployment with its requirements for increased cooperation with our allies and for a worldwide common operational status of U.S. forces, revealed deficiencies that the WWMCCS architecture simply wasn't designed to handle. In 1993, the Joint Staff initiated the Global Command and Control System project to build the worldwide operational picture and to expand the functions WWMCCS performed.

On August 30, 1996, Lt. Gen. Albert J. Edmonds, then DISA Director, officially pulled the plug on the WWMCCS Intercomputer Network. Concurrently, the Joint Staff declared the Global Command and Control System as the joint command and control system of record. The deactivation of WWMCCS closes a chapter in our Nation's military history and opens a new era of information dominance.
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