Written by Major General M A Halim psc (Retd)
Connection, contact, connectivity or reaching desire destination- all these are the words which implies the same meaning i.e. communication. Communication plays a very vital role in all spheres of living creatures of the earth. For creation, advancement and development one has to communicate with other. Individual, societies or for that matter countries can’t remain isolated, they have to exchange ideas, views, sorrow and happiness and share these with each other for the betterment for themselves. The only way to accomplish these is by communication.
Communication remains to be major factor behind today’s scientific and technological advancement.
Now let us examine what is communication and how it is made. Communication is made with each other in various ways i.e. by personal or wireless and by sending messages through messengers. Nowadayswith blessing of advance technology one can make his presence from one corner of the world to the other corner within flick of a second. But things were not easy in early days. Greek messenger Philiphidis had to run 25 mile to give the message of the victory to the king in Athens.
The memories are still alive where pigeons were used to deliver message from one part of the country to the other part. In our days letter with envelope or post card was only the means to communicate with relatives and loved one who lived fore away far way from each other. Although telephone and radiophone were there but only few could avail these opportunities. We still remember people used to wait for the letters of their relatives and loved ones very anxiously. They all used to be looking out for peon (who delivers the letters) when he would pass by expecting if there were any letter for them.
These were the systems during our father and fore father’s days. If you talk to your son and grandson about this they will laugh and say `Grandpa you must be joking’.
The necessity of communication probably was felt right from the very creations of the universe. Almighty God controls and maintains communication with all the creations directly or through his angel. Therefore, communication is a phoneme without its existence the creation or the creature bears no significance.
Let us now examine what is communication and what are its functions. Communication is a system through which one expresses his demands, his desires, his feelings (sorrow and happiness) even anger to other, either in person or by other media. History bears testimony that in the prehistoric age people who lived in the cave used to communicate with others by making various sound. Even they used various symbols to imply various meanings. The animals have three own language to communicate. It will not be out of place to mention that even today in small military operation like raids and ambushes animal sounds are used for communication with other operational members.
As I mentioned earlier that communication plays very vital role in every sphere of living being may it be humane, be it animals or may be any other species; all needs communication for its survival and well being. Nowadays through internet and satellite communication has become so easy and simple that you have to only touch and it is done automatically. But few decades ago things were not that simple. Though telegraph and radio were discovered, that gave somewhat relieve in communication system but again lot of hassle had to be undergone for making contact.
Imagine how in the olden days ships used to navigate with the help of stars. They used flags, whistle and even smoke for the purpose of communication.
The importance of communication in conducting war can hardly be overemphasized. The key to its success lies in three ‘Charlie’ i.e. Command, Control and Communication.
Both in olden days and modern days the three `Charlie’ or c3 remain to be the dominating factors in conducting the wars. In the prehistoric days the methods used were Helios, Flags, Lights, Smoke, Drum bits and also Mirrors. The difficulties in these systems were that various groups fighting must be in visual contact with each other directly or through relay system. Those days the battles were not much spread in large area; it used to be within limited areas. Therefore, it was not very difficult to command and control.
As the days passed by, the battle area started spreading much beyond the commander’s visual and audio control, therefore, the need arised for wider, faster and reliable communication.
It is obvious that with the fast changing of world technology and science, the war is becoming increasingly dependent on technological weapon systems which are primarily the product of advance electronics. Thus in the battle field fast and secured communication has become an inseparable part of the command. But these electronics system of warfare suffer from serious setback of jamming and interception.
The protagonist in the modern war tries to dominate each othe’s electromagnetic environment (through which electronic waves travels) to gain ascendency over communication system. Thus we can see inany future war, the importance of seizing electromagnetic environment will override the importance of seizing any tactical important ground. If the adversaries are more electronically superior, they may jam our communication thus completely impairing the battle capabilities.
Under the scenario we might give a thought of refreshing and refurbishing the Helio and Flag system which our ancestors used. In the context of Bangladesh where our adversaries are more electronically capable the Helio and Flag system of communication may be the only answer for us.