The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Electronic Warfare and Avionics Program Office at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, will transform legacy airborne high frequency radio systems into assured, anti-jammable radio communications capabilities for a near-peer environment. The effort will modernize high frequency radios across Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft under a multiyear contract with BAE Systems, the base stated in a report from Holly Logan-Arrington, Robins Public Affairs.
Building off some early successes with robotic process automation, or RPA, the U.S. Air Force is deploying the capability on a greater scale. Assisted by the Air Force Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence, the service most recently has been testing out the application of RPA in its Department of the Inspector General, or IG.
The U.S. Air Force’s 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing is leveraging the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA's) System-of-Systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems, also known as STITCHES. The integration tool chain, which enables machine-to-machine communications, can integrate command and control, and fires platforms quickly—an important capability for electromagnetic spectrum operations.
The government-owned, software-only middleware solution connects heterogeneous weapon systems, other platforms and subsystems that were not originally designed to cross-communicate.
As the unified combatant command responsible for conducting operations in, from and to space, the U.S. Space Command works to deliver space combat power for joint and the combined force; defends U.S. interests in space with its allies and partners; and deters conflict—and if necessary, will defeat aggression. The Defense Department stood up the command’s functional aspects shortly after its establishment in August 2019 so that it could perform this mission right away.
The U.S. National Guard Bureau has put in place its first chief data officer. In his role as CDO, Martin Akerman, the former director of data strategy for the Department of the Air Force, is leading the National Guard’s Digital Modernization “from the ground up,” the service reported.
The two-year-old U.S. Space Force is growing its research and development community through partnership agreements with select U.S. institutions. Following the latest memorandum of understanding executed on Veterans Day with the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, the Space Force’s cadre of academia partners now stands at 11 universities.
The Space Force’s University Partnership Program includes:
The U.S. Air Force would be foolish to cut its MQ-9 Reaper program, as the unmanned aircraft provides key strike and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, capabilities that will still be very much needed into the future, an expert claims. Amidst great budgetary pressures, the service is proposing to cut the program in 2035.
The U.S. National Guard has an ever present international mission, with the U.S. state-based militaries growing their relationships with other nations. In some cases, the partnerships with certain countries have been established for decades, shares Gen. Daniel Hokanson, USA, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
The adjutant generals, or leaders of the U.S. state guards, work with a country’s military, their top military leaders and oftentimes directly with the president or ruler of a nation. The partnerships serve as a way to share information, techniques and how the U.S. National Guard responds to national events, medical or natural disasters.
The People’s Republic of China is engaging in coercion, lawfare, militarization, human rights violations, imperialism and cyber espionage, say experts. These actions are part of a well-funded and well-organized whole-of-government thrust to be the dominant power in the world, and how the United States addresses these efforts may well determine the status of the world in the 21st century.The threat to the Indo-Pacific region, to the U.S.
As China continues to push the envelope and flex its economic, diplomatic and militaristic muscles toward an endgame of global dominance, other nations looking to curb the world’s most populous nation’s advancements are developing smart strategies of their own—chief among them is the alliance between four key democracies in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Joint All-Domain Command and Control Cross-Functional Team (JADC2 CFT) is adding a sixth working group to examine and resolve data transport issues and also intends to develop a scorecard to help assess how well systems conform to the Defense Department’s joint all-domain warfighting goals.
Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, deputy director, J-6, and JADC2 CFT chair, broke the news on both fronts during a keynote presentation at the TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore, and during an exclusive interview with SIGNAL Magazine following his presentation.
The U.S. Army seeks to enhance the effectiveness of local cybersecurity defenders—and ultimately the joint force cyber warriors—by revamping organizational design, fielding the best technologies and improving training, Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, U.S. Amy deputy chief of staff, G-6, told the audience at the TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore.
“Here’s my thesis: we have a lot of folks that are doing cybersecurity work, but we are not optimized across the entire joint force to conduct cybersecurity operations,” Gen. Morrison declared.
Faced with supporting complex warfighting in a future near-peer environment, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, a combat support agency that provides key communications, computing and information technology on a global scale, has reorganized to better position the whole of the Defense Department for the future fight.
“The problem statement that we really looked at hard and continue to look at is: ‘Is DISA’s organizational design too complex for best value?'” explained Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director, DISA, and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN). “Is that true? And if that is true, then what do we need to do to improve?”
The Department of Defense's Office of the Chief Information Officer, or DoD CIO, is pursuing several efforts to make sure the U.S. combatant commands have the fundamental tools to enable artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid their operational command and control.
The U.S. Defense Department is poised to advance its joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) vision with an array of major accomplishments in the coming months. Those achievements include the completion of an implementation plan, a practical demonstration of JADC2 capabilities, the fielding of initial technology and a series of briefings to allies.
The U.S. Defense Department is deploying teams of data and artificial intelligence experts to the various combatant commands as part of its efforts to implement the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) vision. The combatant commands host some teams for relatively short visits—a matter of days—while others will remain onsite for three years.
Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary of defense, launched the AI and data acceleration (ADA) initiative. The teams include both data and artificial intelligence experts. The chief data officer and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) coordinate and lead the effort.
In a near-peer environment, the assumption of homeland safety may not be valid. Dangerous capabilities, such as hypersonics, in development by adversaries, call into risk the safety of U.S. facilities. Allies, like those in the Middle East, who face daily threats already have protective measures, suggests Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, commander, Air Combat Command, or the ACC. China, who is advancing hypersonics and is considered the greatest threat to America, has its own considerable protections.
The general, who spoke during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Aerospace Nation virtual event on October 25, said he would like to see additional defenses for U.S. Air Force bases on the homefront.
As part of its transformation back to a maritime force, the U.S. Marine Corps is focusing on greater integration with naval and joint forces. This will require information technology systems that are extremely mobile, can work anywhere and operate in a denied environment, according to the Marine Corps deputy chief information officer (CIO).
As part of its effort to modernize the fires mission thread, the U.S. Army is overhauling two systems critical to providing sensor data to weapon systems to more effectively engage battlefield targets.
Those two systems are the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and the Joint Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (JADOCS), which will be replaced by the Joint Targeting Command and Coordination System (JTC2S). The updated systems will provide critical information to weapon systems through the data fabric being developed under the Rainmaker project.
The former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Raymond Odierno, USA (Ret.), died October 8 at age 67 after battling cancer. He was chief of the service from 2011-2015, the 38th such leader since the position began in 1903.
Over his 35-year illustrious career, Gen. Odierno led troops in every echelon and deployed to lead overseas operations in Germany, Albania, Kuwait and Iraq. He is most known for his leadership during Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The U.S. Transportation Command relied on key command and control technologies during the intense, perilous 24/7 operations during the evacuation of Afghanistan, its J-3 operations leader Maj. Gen. Corey Martin, USAF, stated. And while the evacuation of approximately 124,000 people from Afghanistan following the fall of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban in August was tactically successful, the general can see where “more nimble” technologies could be added to make mobility operations more fluid.
Under an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center and telecommunications carrier AT&T, the Air Force will add FirstNet to 15 of the service’s bases to better support base first responders. For the next 21 years, AT&T will deliver FirstNet connectivity to the facilities, the company reported October 5.
Built in response to first responder and public safety needs following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet is the nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform for police, fire, emergency medical and public safety personnel. It was constructed in 2018 with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority.
The Defense Information Systems Agency intends next month to award a contract for its Thunderdome zero-trust architecture and to begin implementing a prototype within six months. The new architecture is expected to enhance security, reduce complexity and save costs while replacing the current defense-in-depth approach to network security.
In this infocentric age of all-domain warfare, DISA truly has a challenging mission and critical role in the defense community. DISA must focus on security and serving customers ranging from the president of the United States to the combatant commanders and the individual warfighters on the tactical edge. DISA is a critical player in the world of joint, all-domain command and control (C2).
The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s Thunderdome project may be the new kid on the block supporting the Defense Department’s command and control vision, but the agency’s legacy systems also could prove pivotal.
“I think there’s more to DISA’s role in JADC2 than is obvious,” says Brian Hermann, program executive officer for services development at the agency commonly known as DISA. Joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, focuses on data to allow warfighters to make faster decisions than potential adversaries.
The U.S. Army is moving beyond a forward-operating base ideal and is preparing for communications and operations geared instead toward near-peer competition in a contested environment. This winter, the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications- Tactical, PEO C3T, will conduct a new pilot program that will begin to identify what kinds of communications and network technologies could successfully be applied to moving armored vehicles to support soldiers in such an environment. The work is part of PEO C3T’s Capability Set 2025 (CS25) iterative effort to harness industry innovation and add tactical communication solutions in two-year sprints.
The U.S. Air Force’s Pacific Air Forces, or PACAF, held Pacific Iron and several other exercises and events this spring and summer to test and confirm the ideal solutions needed and constructs in which to conduct agile combat employment, known as ACE. And while the leader of PACAF is not quite yet ready to declare that the major command has reached initial operating capability (IOC) for ACE, officials are in the process of revamping its draft concept of employment to improve ACE deployment and have identified key software capability needs.
In preparation for a contested near-peer environment, the U.S. Air Force is working to send forces and assets to austere locations on short notice as part of its agile combat employment concept. The service’s ability to support the greater Joint Force’s dynamic force employment will provide a range of air-related military options and quickly deployed forces when needed in response to emerging requirements. To sharpen its skills in providing a more lean, agile and lethal force that can generate airpower from smaller and more dispersed locations in the Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility, the service’s Pacific Air Forces, also known as PACAF, conducted Operation Pacific Iron 21 during the month of July, ending last Friday.
Yesterday, the Pentagon announced the end to the nearly 20-year mission in Afghanistan that started shortly after the terrorist attacks in America on September 11th, 2001. The U.S. military completed its evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul under active threat from the Taliban and ISIS terrorists, following the August 15 collapse of the Afghanistan government and the August 26 attack that killed 13 U.S. warfighters and 60 Afghanistan citizens. Gen. Frank McKenzie, USMC, commander of U.S. Central Command, called it a costly war.
As the strategic focus of the U.S. military shifts away from the counterinsurgency operations of the war on terror and toward great power competition, so the focus of its biometrics programs is changing as well, Defense Department officials told AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Tuesday.
The U.S. Air Force’s recent IT modernization efforts are focusing on speeding up access to data across the service’s enterprise network by removing redundant and often contradictory devices and procedures to improve warfighter’s user experiences and speed operations.
Achieving this goal is the culmination of years of networking initiatives and data migration projects that transformed the way the service managed its IT operations, Douglas Dudley, director of Air Force programs for Akima LLC, told Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief during a SIGNAL Media Executive Video interview.
The U.S. Army needs to conduct five essential tasks to achieve the kind of information advantage that will allow commanders to make faster, more effective decisions than their adversaries. Those tasks are to enable decision making, protect friendly information, inform and educate domestic audiences, inform and influence international audiences and conduct information warfare.
The tasks were approved as part of a larger “logic map” during a February forum of one-, two- and three-star generals, according to Brig. Gen. Paul Craft, USA, commandant, U.S. Army Cyber School. Gen. Craft moderated a panel during the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.
The U.S. military services may take slightly different paths to achieving information advantage but will likely reach their desired destinations, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command.
Gen. Fogarty made the comments during a morning keynote presentation on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.
The commander of the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command, or SSC, is prioritizing the budgetary funding, technology preparations and partnerships as a few of his early goals. Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, set the stage for the SSC’s future during the U.S. Space Force’s official stand up of the new field command last week. The command—which was redesignated from the U.S.
The U.S. is in the final stages of developing its unified network plans, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, deputy chief of staff, G-6.
The U.S. Space Force officially stood up the Space Systems Command, or SSC, today. Leaders spent the last year developing the new field command redesignated from the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base.
The SSC stand up cleared one of the last hurdles with the U.S. Senate’s July 26 voice vote approval of SSC’s first commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, to become lieutenant general. The commander, who had most recently served as the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), took lead of SSC during a ceremony at the base today; Lt. Gen. John Thompson, USAF, the commander of SMC, retired July 27.
Despite being equipped to lay waste to the countryside, the U.S. Army is cleaning up waste and practicing conservation as part of a broad effort of environmental measures. The service is actively pursuing environmental policies that range from preserving endangered species to reducing its carbon footprint by converting its fleet of tactical vehicles to electric power. These efforts are undertaken both at U.S. bases and installations and overseas during training and actual deployments.
Understanding environments is a principal task for every soldier, says Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, USA, director of the Army staff. At the tactical level, the Army must have a deep understanding of the environment.
All of the U.S. military services are modernizing their forces to counter the rise of peer rivals and the onset of new game-breaking technologies. The Army, in particular, is facing difficult decisions as it tailors its structure for a new type of combat. Yet its challenges actually could open the way for the Army to set the pace for the rest of the U.S. military, and there is historical precedent for this possibility.
By design, the DoD Data Strategy compels transformational change in the way data is collected, analyzed and leveraged. The mechanics may be different depending on domain or joint all-domain mission, but as referenced in a previous SIGNAL special interest editorial, the strategy’s endgame is to ensure that trusted information gets to the right destination at the right time. As the largest and oldest service at the tactical terrestrial layer of the joint force, the Army has enduring data imperatives: speed, scale and resilience. Executed diligently, these imperatives facilitate an information advantage for ground forces in garrison and in theater.
Connectivity is at the heart of today’s modern military operations. To conduct complex, distributed multidomain operations at speed and scale, U.S. and allied forces need seamless connectivity to enable real-time communications and high-fidelity data flows.
But the military services have wrestled for decades with the challenge of communicating and sharing data securely with each other, let alone with non-DoD partners and allies. To take a few examples:
“Decision dominance … is the ability for a commander to sense, understand, decide, act and assess faster and more effectively than any adversary,” Army Futures Command Commander Gen. John “Mike” Murray, USA, told the Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Next virtual conference in March.
In modern warfare, against near-peer adversaries, victory will no longer be guaranteed by strength of arms alone. Speed and accuracy of decision making will be more critical than ever, and in many circumstances, decisive.
The novel 2034 by James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman perpetuates a fundamental misunderstanding of how technology should be employed and managed in future conflicts.
The continuing narrative is that we should purposely degrade our systems in a conflict with a peer competitor because of the possibility of a degraded spectrum, cyber attacks, space-based detection and jamming. But if we preemptively degrade our technology in a peer conflict, we will lose.
In the novel, after a conflict with the Chinese Navy in which the U.S. technical systems were incapacitated, U.S. ships preemptively disabled “any interface with a computer, a GPS or [any interface] that could conceivably be accessed online.”
The U.S. Army is employing blockchain-related capabilities to provide information trust on the future battlefield. The advanced solution, being developed in support of to be part of the Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, Capability Sets 25 and 27, also relies on machine learning and zero trust applications. Computer engineers at the service’s tactical communications research and development arm, the Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center, at Aberdeen, Maryland, tested the solution in May during the Network Modernization Experiment 21 (NetModX 21), held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Officials with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment have found a unique solution to a software challenge while fielding the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2. The validation of the process could pave the way for other units to implement the fix if they encounter a similar issue.
Mission command is the critical component in ensuring success under a large-scale combat operation. As the senior sustainment commander and sustainment coordinator within the Army’s only forward-stationed Stryker Brigade, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, unfettered access to all elements within the regiment is required.
The digital transformation is no longer simply an enabler—it’s the “trunk of the tree” that provides the foundational structure for everything we do, according to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, USA (Ret.). “It shapes what we are and how we operate.”
The U.S. Space Force (USSF) this week plans to announce the first transfer to its ranks of 50 sister-service members who are leaving the Army, Navy and Marine Corps to become Space Force guardians, said Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, USSF, director of staff of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations of the Space Force.
“It’s important to know that as we grow, we’re bringing over missions, systems and personnel from our sister services, and this week, we’re going to announce the first 50 interservice transfers,” she said during an interview this week.
Three years ago, the Navy established its Information Warfare Enterprise and took steps to bolster its information warfare, or IW, given rising threats from adversaries. To support persistent surveillance of the maritime and information battle space, the service is now supplying IW expertise within meteorology, oceanography, intelligence, cyber, cryptology, network, space and electromagnetic spectrum operations, reported Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, USN, commander, Naval Information Forces.
Rear Adm Hugh Wyman Howard III, USN, commander, Navy Special Warfare Command, made the case today that keeping a combat-ready active-duty force in reserve for combat or contingency operations around the world will provide opportunities for greater experimentation with tactics, techniques and procedures.
“[We’re] very focused now on the fleets, key operational problems, and how we can be distinctive in providing support to the fleet in the strategic competition continuum but also in crisis and conflict ... .”—RADM Wyman Howard, USN, cdr, NSWC#WEST2021
The U.S. Marine Corps is shifting its emphasis to become more of a force integrated with that of the U.S. Navy, leaders of both services said. The two services will focus more on coordinated rather than complementary operations that will be supported by advanced communications and networking technologies.
These were among the points discussed in the opening panel session at West 2021, the two-day virtual conference cosponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. Being held June 29-30, the event’s focus is on the promise and progress of naval integration.
The Space Development Agency is progressing in its promise to quickly build and operate advanced space systems that address urgent communication and mission needs for the military. The agency, known as SDA, has a plan as part of its Tranche 0 effort to provide proliferated low-earth-orbit constellation of satellites and sensors that will connect to the military’s tactical legacy datalinks and weapons systems to deter against advanced threats. As part of this effort, SDA is ready on June 25 to launch via Space X's Falcon 9 rocket three optical communication-based experiments across multiple satellites.