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The Making of Joint All Domain Command and Control

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Joint All Domain Command and Control, commonly known as JADC2, is the new direction of the Department of Defense, focusing on connecting sensors from all of the military services—Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force—into a single network. This change in operations from the traditional Command and Control (C2) which is focused on a single command is in response to the reality of data becoming a critical weapon for our military and our adversaries. A multi-domain approach is needed to meet the threats being posed by potential peer adversaries using cyberspace as well as physical locations as their battlefield. 

Moving to Space

The creation of Space Force was the DoD’s most visible step into embracing space not just as the “final frontier” but as a real battle-space. Beyond the work happening in this newest branch, other military agencies are focusing on space as a way to support their multi-domain missions. The Army’s First Space Brigade was established in 1999 and is responsible for monitoring and maintaining U.S. satellites.  The command recently announced organizational changes where they will take the six-person Army space support teams, or ARSSTs, and create four-person space control planning teams, or SCPTs. These teams will “provide subject matter expertise on space support operations along with space-related capabilities, but focus on making war fighters more effective and efficient in their ability to shoot, move and communicate.”

Satellites as the New Tanks

Satellites are key to achieving JADC2 missions as they provide a transport for data  to remote, unwired locations. A recent demonstration showed how the military could securely use commercial cloud computing to process and deliver actionable information from low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to military ground stations, command centers, or direct to warfighters on the battlefield. This direct satellite-to-cloud communication allows DoD to combine satellite data with data already in the cloud, enabling advanced analytics capabilities that can power predictive modeling and uncover actionable insights.

Public Private Partnerships

In order to make all of this happen, Defense agencies need to closely partner with commercial entities to speed their time to field JADC2 supporting technologies. A number of programs are already in place to make this collaboration easier. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a new strategy that encourages staff to leverage more commercial technology moving forward. The National Reconnaissance Office has traditionally been responsible for developing, building and operating the nation’s fleet of spy satellites, but today its responsibilities also include acquiring satellite imagery from commercial providers. The agency recently issued a request for proposals to acquire access to electro-optical imagery being captured by private companies.

On GovWhitePapers you can find a host of resources looking at how the DoD (and other Departments) are combining aerospace and IT technologies for more complete access to data:

  • Tenets of Responsible Behavior in Space – Throughout its history, the Department of Defense has pursued its space mission while ensuring and maintaining the safety, security, stability, and sustainability of the domain. As more actors come to space, the domain is changing, with an increased risk of collisions, as well as of miscalculations or misunderstandings. It is incumbent on the Department to continue space leadership through demonstrating and acknowledging responsible behavior in space.
  • Space as a War-fighting Domain: Issues for Congress – Military strategists increasingly consider space to be a war-fighting domain—a location where offensive and defensive military operations take place— similar to air, land, and sea. Many governments have agreed in principle that space should remain a domain use for peaceful purposes and for the benefit of all humankind. Various treaties and agreements are the mechanisms in place to promote the principle of space as a peaceful domain, but these do not prevent nations from having or conducting counter-space operations. 
  • The Best Path Forward for AISR – Global intelligence gathering operations are increasingly conducted from airborne platforms. Effectively employing these manned and unmanned assets requires globally-portable, fully-connected and efficient beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) connectivity for Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED). As the government is evaluating its future data and communication technology to support these missions, Ka-band has emerged as the preferred path forward for the Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) community.
  • Satellite Communications: DOD Should Explore Options to Meet User Needs for Narrowband Capabilities – According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Defense (DOD) is not using the full capabilities of its latest ultra high frequency (narrowband) military satellite communications system, the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). MUOS provides secure communications less vulnerable to weather conditions or other potential impediments. 

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