JADC2 Network Key to Managing Forces Across the World, Says Panel

April 10, 2024 6:58 PM
Marines with 9th Communication Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, troubleshoot a network connection during a certification exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 27, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – In the age of hypersonic weapons, commanders will have milli-seconds to act on information gathered from the data flooding in during combat, a former director of command, control, communications and cyber for the Joint Staff said this week.

“We’re awash in data [that is] largely unmanageable,” Dennis Crall said Monday at the Navy League’s 2024 Sea Air Space symposium.

The retired Marine lieutenant general said speed is not only critical for weapons systems but “it’s about logistics, about moving medical supplies, medical” information to understand what Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control CJADC really means.

In today’s and tomorrow’s scenarios for crisis and conflict, he said the emphasis is on the “C” and the “J” in the acronym, CJADC2. Combined with allies and joint with the other services is “the way we do business. We’re never going to fight alone.”

Looking at CJADC2 from a strategic level, the idea is to have the 11 combatant commanders seeing the same information they can offer a concept of operations “that is feasible and sustainable” to the secretary of defense in 24 hours, said Harold Moller, the vice president cyber strategies and defense support at Stellar Solutions.

That process can take days to weeks right now, he said.

“Owning data [in a service or combatant command] doesn’t do much for you,” but what is done with that data matters.

What CJADC2 means to the Navy in the Indo-Pacific is providing a “maritime kill chain at thousands of targets, not onesy and twosy,” Moller said.

Rear Adm. Doug Small, the commander of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, said the service “is ahead of the objectives” that Adm. Michael Gilday set out for Project Overmatch when he was chief of naval operations. He added that “technologies change” and the Navy is “not waiting for the next big thing” to adapt to evolving circumstances. Project Overmatch is the Navy’s component of CJADC2.

On deploying these software advances, “we’re ahead of the timelines” in fielding to carrier strike groups, fleets, numbered fleets, he said.

“What we need is the application, not new computers,” Small stressed to industry representatives in the audience. “My biggest ask is be software-centric. … That’s been my mantra.”

Moller said senior Pentagon leadership has embraced an approach developed in U.S. Northern Command to make CJADC2 a reality through vigorous experimentation. Called Global Information Dominance Experiment, or GIDE, are designed to show the tools that are available.

CJADC2 “is a very different thing to do,” said Garry Schwartz, chief operating office of HII Mission Technologies. “How do you come up with a [concept of operations] for things that were not expected to work together,” he asked rhetorically. Schwartz added that not everything “needs to be brought together,” but an agreement must be reached on what’s important to make a decision.

Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, said the battlespace runs from seabed to space, with data flowing in from all domains. The end result has to be a synchronizing of effects that benefits the forward-stationed Marines and the soldiers following on, as well as pilots and ship commanders.

Citing his experience as the U.S. 7th Fleet commander, Thomas said: “we’re treating information as a complementary warfare domain” where the warrior can help guide what needs to be done to be more effective.

John Grady

John Grady

John Grady, a former managing editor of Navy Times, retired as director of communications for the Association of the United States Army. His reporting on national defense and national security has appeared on Breaking Defense, GovExec.com, NextGov.com, DefenseOne.com, Government Executive and USNI News.

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