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Cursor On Target


The Future to Network Centric Warfare



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Last Updated:  10 September, 2006

Introduction   What is CoT?  
What Is CoT?  

The Air Force Material Command, Electronic Systems Center (ESC) at Hanscom AFB and the MITRE Corporation developed CoT using Extensible Markup Language (XML).  CoT focus's on the What, Where, and When information being passed from one system to another through the common machine language of XML.  XML is a simple and flexible format that was derived from SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) which is a common machine language to convert and transfer data from one machine to the next. 

Cursor on Target got its name from General Jumpers speech given at the C2ISR conference. His vision, “the sum of the wisdom is a cursor over the target”, focus’s on the ability to pass, correlate, and select information with the push of a button , ie the cursor.  The term often used is "Cursor on Target, Click to approve", which implies the information is being passed nearly simultaneously as all the parties involved in the targeting cycle are seeing the information and verifying its accuracy prior to targeting.

For example, a Special Operations Force (SOF) uses a laser range finder and a GPS to determine the coordinates of a hostile location.  This information is sent over a secure network to commanders and strike aircraft overhead.  The commanders and the aircraft, both using different software systems, can now see the target location immediately.  The commanders can easily approve the targeting and the aircraft can select the information for final targeting.  Without CoT this process could have taken 20-30 minutes of radio transmissions, note taking, retransmission, and verification.  Recent test have shown a >60% reduction in the passage of this information with CoT.

Using XML allows existing systems to receive the data digitally and intuitively know exactly what it means. Rather than waiting for someone to run down the hall and type the data from one system into another, everything flows through without human intervention. 

Requiring just a few thousand lines of code, Cursor on Target uses XML translator to share information.  CoT has been developed at a modest cost, with a total investment so far of only about $800,000, according to Air Force sources.

The following link is an example of the communication between a tactical controller and an airborne asset using a radar. Audio This lengthy exchange of communications is avoided with CoT.  



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