ArchiveOODA Original

The Army Role in Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2)

We previously wrote that the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is perhaps the most important program in DoD today. JADC2 is a top-down concept which directs DoD service-specific battle management systems to conform to an interoperable framework that enables cross domain warfare – from sensor to shooter.

The criticality of completing this goal is obvious when you see the profound increase of unmanned systems and deployed sensors – all interacting with the battlefield in ways that could dramatically shorten the time it takes to engage multiple targets. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, coupled with the proliferation of unmanned systems loaded with sensors, shortens the OODA loop down to seconds.

Having a C2 structure that is organized around critical warfighting missions – not domain-specific or service-specific OPLANS – will be essential in future fights. JADC2 is really all about ensuring that warfighting decisions can be made rapidly, using all the information provided. Critical situational awareness and sensor data must be able to flow across all domains (joint and coalition) when needed.

As the JADC2 Joint Cross-functional Team (CFT) allocated assignments across the services, Army took the Joint Fires piece.  “Joint Fires” focuses on improving the Commander’s ability to orchestrate effects across strategic, operational, tactical and organizational boundaries.

Army has created Project Convergence to do this.  They pull many pieces from their 2018 U.S Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028, a pre-JADC2 ten-year look at how they would tackle some of the network convergence issues.   Key to this effort is the creation of the JADC2 Reference Architecture.  Army is preparing this as a high-level architecture that can be used as a foundation for all the Services as they implement JADC2.  This framework will guide and establish boundaries and evaluate development of JADC2 capabilities. Expect this to be an evolving document.

Next, Army is tasked with creating a joint federated experimentation environment where capabilities can be tested.  They are drawing from the Joint Experimentation Network and the JADC2 System Integration Laboratory to accomplish this.  Their first demonstration occurred in September and tested different ways to transmit targeting data using nontraditional methods.  In three phases, they explored ways that data could be exchanged faster, tested currently available AI and networked lethality capabilities, and bounced successes and failures against their future roadmap for Project Convergence S&T.  Future experiments will add coalition partners.

Finally, they are developing the JADC2 FY20-21 Campaign Plan for the CFT which will continue to evolve and will be based on lessons learned, initiative updates, new additions, etc.  JADC2 relies heavily on the concept of DevOps to gain quick feedback that can feed into future JADC2 decisions.

As an adopter of JADC2, Army will play a critical role in visioning the all-domain command and control network of the future.  Each iteration will be more robust than the current one.  Future versions of JADC2 will need to incorporate more advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, better all-domain data management and unmanned-manned teaming scenarios.

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward (Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)) has over 30 years of experience helping the Department of Defense (DoD) solve difficult technology requirements. She has a proven track record of building, maintaining, securing and certifying technology solutions for use within DoD. She works with Industry to identify key opportunities and provides strategic guidance and support. She is a strategic analyst and cybersecurity professional who has deep expertise in improving enterprise cybersecurity.