The purpose is to improve the Command and Control (C2) capability to sense, make sense, and take action at all levels and phases of war, across all domains, through an informational advantage that heightens situational awareness and accelerates both decision-making and command dispersal to prompt high-speed operations.
This capability is particularly important given today’s fast-paced, time-sensitive threat situations worldwide, including among potential near-peer adversaries. As the C2 component of the DoD’s Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) framework, JADC2’s ability to achieve productive joint command and control of every domain – sea, land, air, space, and cyberspace – relies on coordinated cooperation from each service branch. An effective JADC2 architecture would help command personnel:
- Understand the battlefield quickly, thoroughly, and directly
- Direct U.S. and allied forces more rapidly than adversaries can
- Contain cyber / digital threats before they provoke kinetic battle
- Quickly coordinate combat efforts across all domains
The importance of speed to JADC2 success begins in collecting more data from sources quickly, but it also demands correct interpretation of that data in real time. That need for speed with informational accuracy is why JADC2 applies Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to the avalanche of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data. AI and ML can provide profoundly more rapid data processing, validation, distribution, analysis, and sharing to accelerate operational readiness – including the issuing and execution of orders – for every stage of potential or active conflicts.
Overcoming challenges to JADC2. Despite a range of technological, budgetary, and political hurdles to overcome, the proponents of JADC2 consider it a core necessity for giving warfighters the timely options they will need to fight the “all domain warfare” that is already in progress among our near-peer potential adversaries. A key goal of JADC2, in fact, is to continue evolving command and control rapid response structures to more aggressively meet current U.S. National Defense Strategy (NDS) demands to ready ourselves for increasingly authoritarian aggressors. In the past, each of the military services has traditionally developed, operated, and commanded their own tactical networks, but that has resulted in domain-specific technologies that often could not talk to each other. JADC2 and the JADO (Joint All Domain Operations) framework are designed to break through those silos – and siloed thinking– to accelerate and improve responsiveness to non-battlefield aggressions in all domains before they become battlefield conflicts.
How the DoD is implementing JADC2. As with any organization the size and breadth of the U.S. Department of Defense, implementation of a program like JADC2 requires time and coordination, but progress is being made. The offices of the DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment are leading a Joint Cross-Functional Team to explore JADC2 conceptually, with direct contributions by the Joint Staff, the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy.
- The Joint Staff added JADC2 to the Pentagon’s Joint Warfighting Concept and designated the Air Force as JADC2’s executive agent for technological development.
- The Air Force is developing the 5G digital network intended to connect all of those sensors, shooters, and other communications devices to make JADC2 function. It’s called the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).
- The Army Futures Command is the service representative developing JADC2, including making it part of its Project Convergence to unify certain communications and targeting avenues.
- The Navy's Project Overmatch will be part of JADC2, including a new architecture using AI and manned/unmanned teaming for Distributed Maritime Operations. It will also remove proprietary network standards to allow interoperability with other services.
Controlling the Network-of-Networks. As the command and control component of the JADO integrated framework, JADC2 uses numerous C4ISR technologies networked via the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) digital infrastructure. It collects, processes, and analyzes sensor data to accelerate decision-making, while also making it easier for forces across all domains to communicate and exchange data securely. A few of those C4ISR technologies include:
- Advanced Adaptive Sensors for multiple Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) platforms
- ISR sensor data collection, plus high-speed processing, analytics, and dispersion
- Cyber Resilience systems and protocols
- Secure Enterprise Communications
- Space Systems, including rad-hard components, SBCs, RF/IR sensors, and more
- Secure, real-time Communications, Navigation, and Identification Systems
Adopting and implementing JADC2, as well as the JADO frameworks, requires overcoming considerable structural, budgetary, training, and political challenges, so most U.S. military departments and intelligence agencies choose defense community partner companies for the advanced technology development. Partners with experience, structures, and personnel adapt at fast technological innovation have a significant advantage in satisfying the requisite demands of such a project.
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