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C2I stands for command, control, and intelligence.

C4I stands for command, control, communications, computers, and (military) intelligence.

C4ISTAR is the British acronym used to represent the group of the military functions designated by C4 (command, control, communications, computers), I (military intelligence), and STAR (surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) in order to enable the coordination of operations.[1]

C4ISR is the similar term used by the U.S. military (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance).[2]

C4ISTAR and its related terms can be used to refer to infrastructure, a role of military units or individuals, or procedures employed.


Command, control and communications

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 is required to enable this coordination. In modern warfare, computers are also a key component. The common variations of this acronym are:

  • C²/C&C (Command and control)
  • 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)
  • C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)
  • 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)

Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance

ISTAR stands for Intelligence (information gathering), surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance. It describes methods of observing the enemy and one's area of operations. Variations on this include:

  • I (intelligence)
  • S&R (surveillance and reconnaissance)
  • RSTA (reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition)
  • STA (surveillance and target acquisition)
  • STAR (surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance)
  • ERSTA (electro-optical reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition)
  • STANO (surveillance, target acquisition, and night observation)
  • ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)


Many subsets of these elements are used, or have been used in the past, as acronyms. These include:

  • C³ISTAR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance)
  • C³ISR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)
  • C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)
    • C4ISR: The Journal of Net-Centric Warfare is also the name of a journal published by the DefenseNews Media Group.

See also


  1. ^ Sloan, E., "Security and Defence in the Terrorist Era", McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2005; see Ch. 7 for C4ISTAR discussion.
  2. ^ "Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms", Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense, 17 March 2009 [1]


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