To use a current phrase, "being on the same page," is not adequate for military communications. If your unit or aircraft is not on the correct frequency, with the correct call sign and encryption scheme, coordinated operations are in jeopardy and potential friendly fire situations develop rapidly. The establishment and use of effective tactical communications are instrumental to successful training and peacetime operations — and they are critical in combat situations. Vital command and control (C2) mechanisms rely on the ability to quickly transmit information across the battlefield and throughout the world.
Individually, the military services are well trained and knowledgeable in their use of service-specific communication procedures. However, joint operations significantly complicate standard operating procedures and introduce a myriad of factors that must be overcome to ensure joint communications meet and exceed C2 requirements. Some of these complications include the use of new technologies and equipment, unfamiliar communication equipment capabilities and stovepipe, proprietary type equipment issues.
Most joint communication interoperability factors are overcome by establishing communication plans that create and assign common procedures and standards. To this end, the U.S. military uses a number of communication documents. For example, the Navy's primary communication control document is called an Operational Tasking of Communications (OPTASKCOMS). The overall operational plan (OPLAN) includes an Annex K that serves as the communication plan for all services.
Unique to aviation missions is the Air Tasking Order (ATO) used to task and disseminate projected sorties, capabilities and forces for targets and specific missions to components, subordinate units and command and control agencies. The Communications Electronics Operating Instructions (CEOI) are issued to control and promulgate communication procedures and standards.
The CEOI (known by the U.S. Army as the Signal Operating Instructions or SOI) is widely used by the Army and the Marine Corps, and to a lesser extent by the Navy and the Air Force. When jointly used, the CEOI is called the Joint CEOI or JCEOI. The JCEOI is the most widely used communication control document in any given area of operation. It is used by aviators, communicators and technical personnel in control facilities and joint staff positions.
What is the JCEOI?
JCEOIs are the primary controlling document for single channel radio communications in joint operations and exercises. The Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) is a family of Very High Frequency (VHF), Frequency Modulated (FM) radio sets. SINCGARS is capable of short- or long-range operation for voice or digital communications. It can be used for single channel operation or in a jam-resistant, frequency-hopping mode, which can be changed as needed. Since SINCGARS provides the primary means of command and control for infantry, armor and artillery units, formal coordination and automated tools are vital.
The JCEOI is the "telephone directory" for single-channel radio communications. A JCEOI details radio information for joint forces, service-specific elements and units including:
• Daily changing and non-changing frequency assignments
• SINCGARS cue, manual and net identification assignments
• Call sign assignments (example: Xray 3 Tango)
• Call words assignments (example: shooter)
• Daily changing code words (example: sign and countersign words for challenge and reply)
Other information found in JCEOIs, includes document handling instructions, controlling authority data, effective dates and reproduction instructions. Because of the sensitive information in JCEOIs, they are almost always classified documents.
How is JCEOI information used?
A lesson learned f