ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 17, 2020) – Senior leaders across the joint community recently met to synchronize technology, resourcing and experimentation efforts under the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept.
The event, hosted by the Army’s Network Cross-Functional Team (N-CFT) and Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), welcomed representatives from the Joint Staff, Department of Defense Chief Information Office, multiple Army agencies, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
During the meeting, joint leaders discussed the need to preserve solutions that are unique to each service, while finding commonality in activities and integration points across the joint force.
The Department of Defense defines JADC2 as “the art and science of decision making and the ability to rapidly translate those decisions into action, leveraging capabilities across all domains and with mission partners to achieve operational advantage in both competition and conflict.”
JADC2 applications include linking sensors to shooters and data via a command and control (C2) network - across all domains to all forces. Sensors -- such as aircraft, radar and Soldier-wearable devices, -- detect targets, while shooters refer to the weapons systems that attack targets. Under JADC2, all data regarding both sensors and shooters will be accessible across a joint network.
Joint Staff JADC2-Cross Functional Team
This top Defense Department priority is being coordinated through the Joint Staff JADC2-Cross Functional Team, which was chartered in January and charged with bringing the services together to achieve the JADC2 construct. Broadly speaking, the JADC2-CFT will work across services to identify technical solutions, enhance experimentation collaboration and recommend resource allocation while taking into consideration the distinctive capabilities each service offers.
The JADC2-CFT, which participated in the meeting, has already identified five “must have” operational imperatives, encompassing integrated long range and non-kinetic fires; enhanced decision speed and maneuver at the tactical edge; mission command enabled by C2; resiliency in contested environments and optimized combined warfare.
The Army is proactively postured to enable ground domain C2 integration into the JADC2 effort. Now two years into implementing its tactical network modernization strategy, the Army is supporting JADC2 initiatives via the strategy’s four lines of effort (LOEs): Unified Network Transport, Common Operating Environment, Joint/Coalition Interoperability and Command Post Survivability and Mobility.
Army Capability Set Fielding Supports JADC2 and Future Network
As part of its network modernization strategy, which is informed by both lab and field experimentation, the Army is delivering network capability enhancements on a two-year basis, starting with Capability Set (CS) 21 in 2021.
“The Army, through its tactical network modernization initiatives, is increasingly multi-domain capable,” said Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, Director of the Network-CFT. "We’re committed to continue to align Capability Set improvements with the JADC2 effort.”
The Army will support JADC2 with ground domain network transport and data management solutions to enable the flow of critical situational awareness and sensor data to connect sensor to shooter, all the way down to the dismounted Soldier.
As the Army prepares to field Capability Set 21, the Unified Network LOE prioritizes capabilities that ensure the Army and joint partners can communicate through a resilient network. Key to delivering a unified network is the Integrated Tactical Network (ITN). The ITN incorporates military and commercial off-the-shelf components and transport capabilities into the Army’s current tactical network, making it more resilient by offering units multiple network communication pathways through the use of military data radios, military SATCOM communications and access to commercial cellular networks. Available down to the small-unit dismounted leader, the ITN facilitates mission command, situational awareness and air-to-ground integration.
Starting this year, ITN components and Army data radios will be used in JADC2 experimentation activities later this year to assess the ability for lower echelons to push secure sensor and situational awareness up into the JADC2 construct via tactical radios. The Army is scheduled to field Capability Set 21 and ITN to select Infantry and Stryker Brigade Combat teams over the next two years, while working to integrate solutions to provide Armor formations with on-the-move networking as part of the next capability set - CS 23.
The Army’s work in support of CS 21 provides the foundation to incorporate Medium and Low Earth Orbit (MEO/LEO) satellite constellation services, initially using prototype ground terminals to inform CS 23 network design. LEO/MEO is expected to reduce stress on currently burdened military Geostationary SATCOM capability, enable more options for critical JADC2 edge sensor data transport and enhance the ability to leverage edge cloud services and Artificial Intelligence (AI) data aggregation. In addition, LEO/MEO will decrease network latency and expand network capacity, enabling data convergence of mission command, fires, sustainment and intelligence data to further enable JADC2.
Commonality Across the Joint Force
Throughout the JADC2 meeting, joint leaders discussed the need for common data standards across the community to meet JADC2’s all sensors and all shooters mandate. The Army has placed significant resources into integrating and now fielding a Common Operating Environment (COE), which provides a simple, intuitive single common operating picture through a single mission command software and hardware suite.
One of the most mature computing environments of the COE is the Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE). CPCE is converging existing Army mission command, fires, and intelligence applications onto a common software framework that will simplify data exchange and collaboration. CPCE efforts are also allowing the Army to pursue data translation and data management at echelon, as well as tactical cloud-based capability as part of CS 23 design efforts. Cloud-based capabilities are critical to enable a multi-domain common operating picture across the Joint Services, but the services must take into account bandwidth constrains at the tactical edge and optimize computing environments with signature management for survivability and resiliency.
Recent experiments between the Air Force F-35 aircraft and the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System network have shown that the underlying Army infrastructure can be expanded to joint partners to further enable future JADC2 end states. The Army will continue to provide capabilities for future JADC2 experimentation efforts.
“For Capability Set 23 and beyond, we are working across the IT industrial base to make converged mission command systems smarter using artificial intelligence and machine learning to bring in meaningful tactical cloud capabilities,” Gallagher said. “With LEO/MEO capability quickly maturing, we believe we can take advantage of commercial constellations to deliver much needed network transport bandwidth to push the aggregated data from our COE into the JADC2 network.”
Informed Developmental Operations
The Army, within the JADC2 effort, is aggressively executing experimentation to inform network design and integration. As part of the capability set construct, the Army is using the Developmental Operations (DevOps) process, which places developers side-by-side with Soldiers and commanders in operational units.
“By aligning our capability needs to the CS process using DevOps, we are gaining timely feedback that we never could have obtained under a strict, multiple-year acquisition process,” Gallagher said. “This construct enables us to be more agile and is critical to informing design decisions for JADC2.”
In May, the Army intends to use operational feedback from Defender 20 exercises in Europe to help inform the JADC2 concept of operations and Mission Partner Environment interoperability Additional exercises will provide another opportunity for the Army to inform developmental interfaces with the JADC2 architecture.
“We will come out of these meetings and experimentation with synchronization of opportunities and fidelity of capabilities,” said Maj. Gen. David Bassett, Program Executive Officer C3T. “As we discover areas for increased technology collaboration, we will also identify unique service capabilities that will enhance JADC2. Regardless of the outcomes, we will be better if we work together.”
The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical develops, acquires, fields and supports the Army's mission command network to ensure force readiness. This critical Army modernization priority delivers tactical communications so commanders and Soldiers can stay connected and informed at all times, even in the most austere and hostile environments. PEO C3T is delivering the network to regions around the globe, enabling high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications to a user base that includes the Army's joint, coalition and other mission partners.