JUST IN: Future of Command and Control Is 'Combined,' Vice Chair Says
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — With China increasing its military and technological capabilities, the United States needs to maximize the asymmetric advantage of partner and ally capabilities, and that extends to the joint all-domain command and control initiative, said the vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Increasingly, the Defense Department is adding the word “combined” to the JADC2 acronym as a recognition that partners and allies must be able to not just connect into command-and-control architecture in a future conflict but contribute to the development of a C2 architecture.
A key to U.S. “decisive decision advantage requires the integration of our allies and partners from inception,” said Navy Adm. Christopher Grady July 18 at the National Defense Industrial Association’s JADC2 All Domain Warfare Symposium.
“Developing C2 capabilities for combined and joint efforts across multiple domains depends upon evolving, scaling and integrating our current innovative, agile, resilient and combined joint C2 solutions and generating new capabilities,” he said.
The department is working with its Five Eyes allies — Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on interoperability goals, he said. “And beyond the Five Eyes, the United States is committed to the federated mission network and framework. The standards and specifications internationally agreed on in this forum are the same ones that we're using to bring partners into CJADC2.”
Just as there is a need to break down service stovepipes and bake interoperability into programs to facilitate joint operations, it’s critical to bake in interoperability with allies, he said.
“This coming September, the J-6 is leading a demonstration event team with some of our close allies and partners as well as various U.S. stakeholders from the combatant commands and services to demonstrate a secure and rapid method of sharing information using the data-centric approaches,” he said.
“I want to see us as a Joint Force take the opportunities of these exercises and experimentation series to really challenge our current warfighting approaches,” Grady said.
Grady noted that exercises and experimentation are important, and critical too is capturing measures of effectiveness such as “the amount and speed of available data that informed decisions, the time it took to decide and the time to create effects on the battlefield.” Those are just three of the measures of effectiveness being evaluated during exercises, he added.
“We can use these venues and our normal authorities and our normal perspectives and our normal command-and-control structures — we're pretty good at that,” he continued. “But what I really look forward to is using these venues to break the mold, and for CJADC2 in particular, to propel novel command-and-control concepts, to propel them out of the notional and into the light of day, in order for us to challenge our preconceived notions.
“So, you see, the key for CJADC2, certainly it's technology, but it's what it means to commanding and controlling the fight,” he said.
“And so, learning from our collaboration with allies and partners in this arena is no different, and we must continue to take bold efforts to make truly combined force decision and development a hallmark of our warfighting approach,” he said.
The warfighting approach is undergoing an update as the department is putting the finishing touches on the third iteration of the Joint Warfighting Concept. The classified concept should be completed this summer, he said.
“And the central idea that Joint Warfighting Concept calls for [is] expanded maneuver of our joint forces across physical and temporal dimensions, while maintaining effective information advantage in command and control, harnessing the full potential of joint fires and navigating the world of contested logistics,” he said.
Grady leads the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, or JROC, and that entity is responsible for setting the top-down requirements for CJADC2, he said.
“Over the last three years, the JROC has made the key decisions that set these requirements broadly, and we've codified that in a key strategic directive,” he continued. “Because as we know, that over specifying a specific JADC2 design would lock us into one set of technologies and block our transformation in to the future.”
And the JROC has expanded to include allies, he said. “It struck us that when we think about the great capabilities that our partners have — this idea of requirements, of defining rigorous and robust warfighting requirements, is not the sole purview of us, especially if we want to fight together.”
The JROC met a few weeks ago with counterparts from the United Kingdom and Australia, he said. “We have identified five key areas that we can move out on,” although he did not identify the key areas.
“I see great promise in this going forward,” he continued. “It could expand beyond those two partners to others.”
The department needs to recognize that it doesn’t have the monopoly on “really good technical ideas,” he noted. But that also requires solving a longstanding barrier to working with allies: reforming the classification and security clearance process.
“We did that with the Joint Warfighting Concept,” he said. “We wrote that for releasability, which will then allow us to move into joint and combined requirements to processes.”