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Military message, 1904.

Military communications involve all aspects of communications, or conveyance of information, by armed forces. It includes the whole scope of time from pre-history to the present. Humans started out on foot, progressed up to visual and audible signals, then advanced into the electronic age. Examples from the reference source Jane's Military Communications include "text, audio and facsimile", "Tactical and ground-based communications", Terrestrial microwave and tropospheric scatter, "Naval and satellite communications systems and equipment", Surveillance and signal analysis, Encryption and security and "Direction-finding and jamming".[1]


Historically, the first military communications involved the use of runners or the sending/receiving of simple signals (sometimes encoded to be unrecognizable). Respectively, the first distinctive tactics of military communications were called Signals, while modern units specializing in those tactics are usually designated as Signal Corps. The Roman system of military communication (Cursus publicus or cursus vehicularis) provides an early example. Later Signals and Signaller became a highly-distinct military occupation dealing rather with general communications methods (similar to those in civil use) than with weapons.

Present-day military forces of an informational society conduct very intense and complicated communicating activities on a daily basis, using modern high-tech telecommunications and computing methods. Only a small part of these activities are immediately related to the combat actions. That's why some prefer the term "military communications".

Modern concepts of Network-centric warfare (NCW) relies on network-oriented methods of communications and control to make existing forces far more effective.


The first things which helped to send messages over distances were drums, horns, flags, and horses used by riders.

Many modern pieces of military communications equipment are built to encrypt and decode transmissions and survive rough treatment in hostile climates. They use many frequencies to send signals to other radios and to satellites.

Military communications - or comms - are activities, equipments, techniques and tactics used by the Military in some of the most hostile areas of the earth not only geographically but also from the point of view of the conditions of operations and equipment functionality like in battle fields, on land, underwater, air and whatever other conditions one can encounter. Military comms includes Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, and were known as the C3I model before computers were fully integrated. The US Army expanded the model to C4I when they recognized the vital role played by automated computer equipment to send and receive large, bulky amounts of data.

The first military comms tool was the communication automobile designed by the Soviet Union in 1934. The basics of the communications in the beginning was the sending and receiving of signals – which were encoded so that the enemy would not be able to get hold of any top secret communication. Then the advent of distinctive signals lead to the formation of the Signal Corps, specialized in the tactics of military comms. They evolved into a distinctive occupation where the signaller became a highly technical job dealing with all available communications methods including civil ones.[citation needed]

In the modern world, most nations attempt to minimize the risk of war caused by miscommunication or inadequate communication by pushing the limits of communication technology and systems. As a result military communication is more intense, complicated, and often motivates the development of advanced technology for remote systems such as satellites and aircraft, both manned and unmanned, as well as computers. Computers and their varied applications have revolutionized military comms. Fortunately military communication does not always merely facilitate warfare, but often supports intelligence gathering and communication between adversaries, and thus sometimes prevents war.

There are 6 categories of military comms, the alert measurement systems, cryptography, military radio systems, nuclear command control and the signal corps. Another new concept is network-centric warfare.

The alert measurement systems – these are various state of alert or readiness for the armed forces used world over – be it a state of war, terrorism or military attack against a state. They are known by different acronyms or example – DEFCON, INFOCON and REDCON in the US military comms and BIKINI states in the British protocol.

Cryptography is the study of methods of converting readable messages into guised unreadable information, unless one knows of the methods of decryption. This military comms method ensured that the messages reached the correct hands and eyes or ears. Nowadays digital cash, signatures, digital rights management, intellectual property rights, and secure electronic commerce are its new purview. It is also being used in computing, telecommunications and infrastructure.

Military comms use many kinds of radio. A few are ACP-131, AN/ARC-164, AN/ARC-5, HWU transmitter, Hallicrafters SX-28, SCR-197, SCR-203, SCR-270 radar, etc.

See also

Forms of signalling


  1. IHS Jane's Military Communications Retrieved 2012-01-23

External links

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