A Joint All-Domain Command & Control System demonstration at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., in February 2021.

A Joint All-Domain Command & Control System demonstration at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., in February 2021. U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman

JADC2 Strategy Nearing Completion, Official Says

Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall said the strategy has been briefed to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the deputy secretary of defense.

The Defense Department is in the final stages of work on its strategy to connect sensors from each military service under a unified network, according to the top project official on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Both Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Kathleen Hicks, deputy defense secretary, have reviewed the Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, strategy document, Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall said Wednesday during the 2021 C4ISRNet Conference. Crall said he hopes to get edits completed and move it forward to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “in days.” 

The strategy will have classified and unclassified versions, Crall said. Details around the nuclear command and control apparatus will be the main component left out of the unclassified version, which will otherwise still give readers a “full sense of the direction JADC2 is heading.” Crall also said a posture review, or a gap analysis, and an implementation plan for JADC2 are also on the way. 

Over the next calendar year, Crall said the department will begin experimenting and demonstrating capabilities for JADC2 as well as work on making the Pentagon a data-centric organization. The Defense Department released its first enterprisewide data strategy, which called for a close partnership between the agency’s data governance community and the JADC2 Cross-Functional Team, in October 2020. 

Booz Allen Hamilton announced Tuesday it is contributing to the JADC2 effort on the data frontier: U.S. Army Futures Command chose the contractor as the primary developer for its project to unite currently incompatible command and control systems, fire systems, and sensors under a common tactical data fabric. Army Futures Command’s Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center runs the project, which is called Rainmaker. The company’s work on the project, which is part of a larger initiative that started in 2018, began this year. 

The common data fabric will provide consistent capabilities across multiple endpoints including on-premises and multi-cloud environments, Michael Davenport, who leads Booz Allen’s Army C5ISR business, told Nextgov in an email. Rainmaker will be a government developed, owned, maintained and operated tactical data fabric, Davenport said, adding industry will contribute components and containers for specific needs. 

“Rainmaker is focused on the Army’s tactical information environment, with imminent collaborations across the services in support of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control,” Davenport said. “It leverages a re-usable set of data management capabilities to provide the right data, in the right format, to the right user, and at the right time. It simplifies and integrates data management across cloud and on premises to accelerate digital transformation.”

Right now, most of the Army’s tactical systems are siloed and struggle to talk to each other, Davenport said. A reliance on legacy messaging standards lead to truncated data, meaning richer data is inaccessible to warfighters moving between systems, he added, and separate systems also require separate field support for operations and sustainment.

“In order to make currently incompatible systems communicate, we need a near term and longer-term approach,” Davenport said. “Near term the military needs its data fabric to understand data in the current languages those systems speak at the current interfaces the systems support, move that data around the mission space, and present it in formats other systems understand. Longer term, the military needs to update and develop systems as open as possible using modernized data sharing methods.”