SOCOM Preparing for ‘Omni-Domain’ Battle

By Mandy Mayfield

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Special Operations Command’s chief data officer is looking beyond the military’s multi-domain operations strategy for the best way to manage a deluge of data and information.

The Defense Department is currently developing a vast network of “internet-of-things” devices that will connect the services’ platforms, preparing them for multi-domain operations across air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. Joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, is envisioned as a way to better link the armed forces’ sensors and shooters on the battlefield in support of the concept.

However, “multi-domain is really omni-domain,’’ said Thomas Kenney, SOCOM’s chief data officer. “Information is coming from all directions these days, [so] multi-domain is just not enough of a thought process as we think about data and where we’re going.”

SOCOM is focused on how it will manage and leverage the large amounts of information being created, Kenney said in May during the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, which was organized by the National Defense Industrial Association.

Over the next 10 years, more information will be created than the amount generated to date in the history of information collection, Kenney noted.

“Information is coming at us from all different directions — data bytes from a picture that’s coming in with full-motion video, telemetry data from an [internet-of-things] system, maybe from a drone that’s flying above a different country,” Kenney noted.

From an omni-domain perspective, the command is looking to develop algorithmic and analytical processes to turn that data into usable information, Kenney said. It is “a Herculean task but one that SOCOM is absolutely prepared to undertake.”

The command is focused on leveraging data and artificial intelligence to aid special operators, Kenney said.

“There are lots of things that are happening in the DoD,” he noted. “There are lots of things that are happening in industry, but for us [the key consideration is] how does it empower the warfighter?”

Topics: Special Operations, Special Operations-Low Intensity Conflict

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