Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Warfighting Concept, with a goal to align all services and domain (space, air, maritime, land, cyber, and electromagnetic spectrum) capabilities to respond more effectively, efficiently, and quickly to advanced technological threats. JADO includes Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), which will enable warfighters from all services and at all levels to “sense, make sense, act” using all available information. The JADC2 vision includes seamless decision webs that use AI/ML to transform data into actionable information, and a system with the ability to transport that information where it is best utilized, automatically.
To achieve this vision, the forces operating from their individual domains must act as one synergistic group, with access to the same data and ability to coordinate their objectives. Technology, both legacy and new, has been the limiting factor when trying to connect across platforms, but newer tech will also be leveraged to provide connectivity.
“With the influx of technological advancements over the past few years, we are expecting to see a new integrated data environment emerge,” said Steve Jameson, BAE Systems Intelligence & Security director of solutions architects. “This environment will serve as a backbone, interconnecting networks and platforms to make the JADO vision a reality, while increasing security through universal application of principles such as Zero Trust to prevent and isolate attacks on this backbone.”
For example, in a JADO-enabled environment, when an Air Force attack fighter senses a threat, that sensor information is immediately available to the Army, which may have the right solution to defeat the threat in the shortest amount of time. Platforms seamlessly share data across the services using an interconnected system – which has been taught via artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to ensure the best option is presented to an operator to deploy within seconds.
“The US has shown this ability to share data across domains, and with allied forces, as with a recent NATO exercise where a Dutch F-35 cued US Army forces to shoot down an ‘enemy’ UAS. However, we can’t do it at scale and speed to address hundreds or thousands of targets because of the lack of interoperability among different networks and the manual data processing that slows down decision making and targeting,” continued Jameson. “JADC2, in essence, is intended to deploy a seamless information technology enterprise that offers the capability to identify and target threats at speed and scale, delivering the target data and decision options to an operator who can make an informed decision faster to benefit warfighters on the front lines.”
The main issue: Interoperability
The main problem the DoD wants to solve today is the lack of interoperability due to disparate networks across the services and platforms. For example, F-35 aircraft cannot communicate high-rate targeting data with F-16s; they have their own data link so F-35s only “talk” to other F-35s. Forward-edge platforms like F-22s need to get information back to the rest of the fleet because other forces might have the right strike package for a particular threat that they discover, but again, the F-22 data link is unique to that platform. Most platforms can communicate via legacy data links such as Link-16, but such links are highly limited in both information capacity and richness of information types. Link-16 cannot accommodate real-time coordination of sensing and effects against an agile threat. This same problem applies to ground, air, and sea-based command and control (C2) systems, where different services, warfighting functions, and types of systems are limited in their ability to exchange data – relying typically on legacy standards and links, which limit capacity and functionality.
“Data standards are a key part of addressing this problem, but it is not affordable to back-fit all platforms in the next few years to meet current and new data standards,” said Jameson. “Instead, the government must develop architectures that increase adherence to existing standards, where available; develop and apply new standards, where needed; and incorporate strategically situated gateway or translation capabilities to enable interoperability, where necessary.”
These architectures must be modular and flexible so that new capabilities can be integrated with minimal cost and risk, and translation nodes can be removed when no longer needed. Moreover, cloud technology offers another key enabler for JADO, providing the capability to enable reliable and secure connectivity across C2 systems. Anyone granted access to a cloud network can both publish data and subscribe to data: they could contribute data, see other people’s data, pull down data, and finally act on data.
Handling data overload
Each service produces massive amounts of data and intelligence artifacts per day – so much so that it is impossible for an operator or analyst to process it fast enough. That’s why the government needs human/machine teaming, AI/ML, and autonomous solutions that can take the data, process the information, adjust it as necessary, and provide it to the right operator at the right time.
“The use of AI/ML and autonomy will enable greater mission success while keeping an operator in the loop, providing the collective intelligence and an optimal solution within seconds,” said Jameson.
How will all these systems work together?
Enter large-scale systems integrators, like BAE Systems Intelligence & Security, that architect and integrate systems (e.g., weapons, mission, IT) through use of digital engineering and model-based systems engineering to provide a system-of-system (SoS) architecture that enables connectivity across disparate networks while leveraging the latest technologies and capabilities. These systems consist of infrastructure that typically includes platforms and sensors, communications a.nd data links, databases and data management, and visualization and dissemination technology.
“Using a digital engineering environment, an integrator will architect and integrate a SoS, combining capabilities such as AI/ML, advanced analytics, data sciences, and hybrid cloud infrastructure, much like BAE Systems’ virtual testbed platform,” said Jameson. “With all of these capabilities working in sync, accessibility can be provided via interoperable data links and cloud-based data systems to all platforms across domains.” Systems integrators also will conduct studies, cost/performance trades, and system analysis to develop the architecture, allocate requirements, and integrate and verify the SoS.
Under JADO, with the right system architecture and data management in place, data from all platforms (e.g., sensors, radars, UAVs, SIGINT, sensory data) will flow up into the cloud, and a machine will use AI/ML to select the right strike package, generate the solution automatically, and then send that solution to the operator who has the authority to make the decision.
“These concepts are the warfare capabilities of tomorrow. Providing this decision advantage in seconds is the way of the future, and systems integrators will play a key role in making it a reality,” said Jameson.