By Joe Lacdan
Army News Service
Army Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, center left, Washington National Guard adjutant general, and Air Force Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander, observe various software demonstrations of the Advanced Battle Management System at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sept. 2, 2020. The ABMS and the Army's Project Convergence will be combined as part of a new two-year agreement between both branches. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Kimberly Burke)
Unity among military branches and a combined, all-domain effort could be the difference in winning large-scale, multi-domain battles the Army expects to fight in the future.
To help achieve that goal, the Army and Air Force signed a two-year collaboration agreement in the development of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or CJADC2, which will impact units in both branches, leaders announced Sept 29.
During the daylong meeting at the Pentagon, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. discussed how to best combine each service’s assets to achieve greater synchronization. It also marked the first Army-Air Force talks since Brown took on his new role in August.
Both service chiefs agreed to establish CJADC2 at the most “basic levels” by defining mutual standards for data sharing and service interfacing in an agreement that will run until the end of fiscal year 2022.
Army Futures Command and the Air Force’s office of strategy, integration and requirements, A-5, will lead the effort, designed by the Defense Department to deliver CJADC2 capabilities to the warfighter quicker and to promote “shared” understanding of concepts and capabilities.
In the CJADC2 concept, each of the military’s six branches would connect sensors, shooters and command nodes in a “mesh network” that would allow commanders more options and the ability to act faster. Each branch, including the newly-formed Space Force, must learn to interface with each other and successfully access data, reconnaissance and intelligence collected from across joint networks.
“The core challenges of the future fight are speed and scale,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, Army deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7. “The future fight will be much faster, and the joint force will have more sensors and more shooters. (It will) be more widely distributed than ever before.”
The initiative will combine the Army’s Project Convergence with the Air Force and Space Force’s Advanced Battlefield Management System, or ABMS, and will impact the joint forces’ training as well as exercises and demonstrations.
Project Convergence is the Army’s plan to merge its joint force capabilities and keep pace with technological change. On Sept. 18, the Army completed its five-week Project Convergence 20 exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, where it tested artificial intelligence capabilities along with its abilities to transmit information from sensors in the air, space and on the ground.
Meanwhile, the Air Force developed ABMS to enable the joint force to quickly collect, analyze and transmit data at machine speeds. Both projects are designed to help make informed battlefield decisions faster.
“ABMS is the Internet-of-Things for the military — it’s ‘IoT.mil.’ Imagine the level of situational awareness typically relegated to traditional brick-and-mortar centers being provided to those who need it most on the edge,” said Preston Dunlap, the Air and Space Force’s chief architect. “Imagine allowing operators to choose what data feeds are important to them and for others to be able to subscribe to get the information they need. The power of this architecture is unlocked by services, allies and partners working together to connect networks and share information at machine speed. That’s all-domain superiority. And today’s event took us one step closer to realizing that future.”