List of command and control abbreviations

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In military usage, a number of abbreviations in the format C(x) followed by additional letters are used, based on expanded versions of the abbreviation C2 - command and control. These terms can be used to refer to infrastructure, a role of military units or individuals, or procedures employed.

Command and control refers to the ability of military commanders to direct forces. The addition of communications to the grouping reflects the fact that communications are required to enable this coordination, and that it compellingly also begins with the letters "co". In modern warfare, computers have become a key component as cyberspace is now seen as the "fifth dimension of warfare".[1][2] The common variations of this acronym are:

C2 / C2 / C&C (Command and control)
C2I stands for command, control, and intelligence
C3I stands for command, control, communications, and intelligence
C4I stands for command, control, communications, computers, and (military) intelligence
C4ISR is the similar term used by the U.S. military (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance).[3]
C4ISTAR represents C4 (command, control, communications, computers) and ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance).[4] (United Kingdom)
C2IS (command and control information systems)
C3 (command, control, and communications) [US DoD]
C3 (consultation, command, and control) [NATO]
C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence)
C4 (command, control, communications, and computers)
C4IS (command, control, communication, computer, and intelligence simulator system)
C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence)
C4I2 (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, and interoperability)
C5I (command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, and intelligence)
C5ISR (command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)
C3ISTAR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance)
C3ISR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clarke, Richard A. Cyber War, HarperCollins (2010)
  2. ^ The Economist describes cyberspace as "the fifth domain of warfare,"Cyberwar: War in the Fifth Domain" Economist, 1 July 2010
  3. ^ "Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms", Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense, 17 March 2009 [1]
  4. ^ Sloan, E., "Security and Defence in the Terrorist Era", McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2005; see Ch. 7 for C4ISTAR discussion.