AUSTIN, Texas – Standardizing data and utilizing a robust systems approach will be crucial for ensuring Joint Force interconnectedness on the battlefield, according to Army Futures Command leaders who recently shared insights from Project Convergence 2021 (PC21) with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
PC21, which took place in October and November at Army installations in Arizona and New Mexico, was 2021’s capstone event for Project Convergence, a multi-year campaign of learning and experimentation that is integrating the Army’s future warfighting efforts with those of sister Services.
“We've got to get seamless between the Joint Force so that you can pass data quickly between one legacy system or one weapon system to another regardless of what Service,” said Lt. Gen. James M. Richardson, Acting Commanding General of Army Futures Command.
Achieving greater levels of alignment and network integration across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force will allow for more rapid sensor-to-shooter capabilities and near-immediate decision-making, creating optimal conditions for tactical dominance regardless of domain.
“Speed increases our lethality,” Richardson said. “It also increases our survivability.”
“This is really about creating optionality for a Joint Force commander,” added Col. Toby Magsig, Deputy Exercise Director for Project Convergence.
“It's about giving him a range of plays instead of just one play,” Magsig said. “It’s about simultaneity – bringing in multiple technologies to be able to work together to create multiple dilemmas for our enemy.”
The final results of PC21 underscored the importance of converging multiple information sources skillfully and quickly through a Joint Integrated Fire Control Network, Joint All-Domain Command and Control, and an advanced network and data fabric.
During PC21, researchers and operators from all five Services tested more than 110 groundbreaking systems and tools, collecting in-depth data to measure the performance of new equipment and network capabilities.
The process, which involved the participation of more than 300 observers, data collectors and analysts, reinforced the importance of standardizing approaches and communications to maximize the efficiency of Joint operations.
“We’re really serious about enforcing standards and making sure that if a new capability is brought into anywhere in the Joint Force, that it adheres to these standards and it's built to do that – to be integrated, not Band-Aided in,” said Dr. Gary Lambert, Data Collection and Analysis Lead for Project Convergence.
Artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous weapons systems were among the state-of-the-art technologies assessed at PC21, with the help of a Joint, three-star board of directors, approximately 130 industry partners and 80 small businesses.
Project Convergence 2022 (PC22), which will take place in fall 2022, will demonstrate how the Combined and Joint Force solves operational and tactical problems through the application of Combined, Joint All-Domain Operations.
In keeping with the overarching aims of Project Convergence, the event will incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, robotics and common data standards and architectures to enhance decision speed and multi-domain maneuver and reduce risk at the Combined and Joint tactical edge.