The COVID-19 pandemic and the strains it put on the global supply chain is making businesses rethink how they supply their government customers, said Zach Conover, general manager for Akima LLC’s subsidiaries Truestone, Lynxnet and Aperture Federal. Akima is an Alaska native-owned government contractor providing services such as facilities maintenance and repair, information technology support, logistics and supply chain operations, and systems engineering.
U.S. Army Europe and Africa will receive two new units—a Multi-Domain Task Force and Theater Fires Command—in the coming months and retain three sites previously scheduled to be returned to the German government due to growing operational requirements in the European theater.
The units will add approximately 500 Soldiers, 35 local national positions and 750 family members to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. The Theater Fires Command is expected to activate 16 Oct. 2021 and the Multi-Domain Task Force is expected to activate on 16 Sept. 2021. The sites that will be retained are Mainz Kastel Station and Mainz Kastel Housing in Mainz-Kastel, and Dagger Complex in Darmstadt.
The U.S. Navy’s contribution to the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is one of the service’s three most important initiatives, according to the chief of naval operations (CNO). Adm. Michael M. Gilday, USN, said that Task Force Overmatch is essential for the Navy to put itself “in a position of advantage” for C2 of a hybrid fleet of manned and unmanned vehicles in the air, on the sea and under the sea as well as in decision-making against peer adversaries.
Along with the other U.S. Combatant Commands, the Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command “achieved its objectives” in an experiment last week to improve joint all-domain operations and the related use of joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, capabilities. The goal is to improve the integration of sensing and information capabilities to achieve information dominance and decision superiority, said the leader of the commands.
The U.S. military services are meeting the challenge of upgrading without losing needed capabilities as they march toward the goal of a common command and control system. By focusing on this approach, they are positioning themselves for convergence under an all-encompassing strategy formulated by The Joint Staff. In effect, their efforts represent a devolution from multiple branches to a single outcome that will unify all elements of the military.
The U.S. military needs the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capability to maintain battlespace superiority against peer and near-peer competitors in the future operating environment. In its simplest form, JADC2 is about speed and information from any sensor to any shooter through any C2 node. A host of factors from innovative new capabilities to culture change and funding will play a significant role in determining the success of this vital endeavor.
Facing renewed challenges from peer and near-peer adversaries, the U.S. Department of Defense is returning to a command and control concept embracing joint and allied operations with the added domains of space and cyberspace adding to the mission space. But while this reorientation appears to revisit older Cold War-era strategies on the surface, it is the end result of careful analysis by the Pentagon to make up for operational deficiencies and neglected capabilities from two decades of counterinsurgency-oriented warfare.
The U.S. Army has pursued the development of open architecture system standards for several years and now is increasingly fielding such systems across its programs, including amongst its aviation and communications capabilities. The service, which worked with tri-service partners, the Navy and Air Force, will benefit from the systems being on the battlefield, as they cut costs, improve software reuse and portability, bring greater ease of use, and increase size, weight and power, or SWAP, savings, said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).
U.S. Army officials expect soon to release a multidomain operations (MDO) posture statement that will complement both the new MDO vision document released by the Army Chief of Staff and the posture statement from U.S. Cyber Command.
The MDO posture statement will detail how the Army intends to achieve its MDO vision for 2035. It will be released soon, possibly as early as April, according to Army officials conducting a March 26 telephonic media roundtable.
China is using the COVID-19 pandemic to progress its goal of global dominance. The adversary is using its vaccination program and assistance to poorer countries in the democratic Western Hemisphere to cement the use of China’s 5G communications and information technology, especially in the Caribbean and Central and South America, leaders say. The problem is that what starts as a veiled commercial interest ends with a significant military application and connection—given that the commercial companies, like Huawei, are all state owned, explained Adm. Craig S. Faller, USN, commander, U.S. Southern Command.
For the military commands that protect the United States on a 24/7 basis, the ability to have real-time information from a sophisticated sensor network is essential. Given the growing threats of U.S. adversaries to the homeland, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) are already harnessing the capabilities that Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) offers, including enhanced sensing, artificial intelligence, data integration and information convergence.
The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force announced a reorganization plan today that will add duties to the First Air Force. In addition to its current role, the Numbered Air Force (NAF) also will be the air component to the U.S. Space Force Command.
Under Air Combat Command, the First Air Force, based at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, is responsible for protecting the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by providing air component support to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Now the NAF will also be providing command and control over the Air Force efforts supporting U.S. Space Command.
The Joint Communications Support Element (Airborne), which stays on standby to deploy anytime and anywhere within 72 hours, is modernizing for multi-domain operations.
With its rapid-fire information operations campaign, China effectively outguns the United States and its partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, according to three military officers from the United States and Australia.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is placing a greater emphasis on communication, especially with allies and partners, as it faces growing threats across the vast region. The scope of those threats and the need to confront them in a coalition approach was described by three officers from the United States and Australia on the third day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, running virtually March 1-3.
With a new Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy document wending its way through the Pentagon, multiple high-ranking officers indicate that complex networks and related policies related remain the top impediment to working with allies and partner nations.
The strategy is being spearheaded by Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the director of command, control, communications, computers/cyber, and the chief information officer for the Joint Staff, J-6. According to Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, J-6 deputy director for the Joint Staff, the document has been sent to the chief of staff and vice chief of staff for approval and could land on the desk of the secretary of defense in the coming days or weeks.
The U.S. Department of Defense is progressing in its efforts to address how it will fight in a joint all-domain warfighting environment. At the center of that work is how to build a Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) platform, and one in which allies and partners can effectively communicate and operate as well, explained Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber and chief information officer, the Joint Staff, J-6.
“The erosion of conventional deterrence vis-à-vis China” is the greatest danger the United States faces in the Indo-Pacific region, says the head of the vast area’s command. Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), added that “without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China will be emboldened to take action to supplant the established rules-based international order.”
In the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), lawmakers asked the Department of Defense to study the personnel structure of the Space Force, including a possible guard component, similar to the other services’ National Guard forces. That study is still pending, explained Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, but the possibility remains for creation of a Space Force National Guard.
With the U.S. military’s push to be able to operate across all warfighting domains—sea, air, land, space and cyberspace—simultaneously with all of the services, the allocation of combat roles presents a potential sticking point. Top leaders at the Pentagon’s Joint Staff are optimistic, however, that the designation of each service’s roles and missions in Joint All Domain Operations, or JADO, can be resolved through several processes. The Joint Warfighting Concept, the budgetary process and top-level discussions with officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), among other activities, will all help in that allocation decision-making.
Over the last several years, the U.S. Army has worked pointedly to build up its electronic warfare capabilities. From the early days of only having small groups of electronic warfare soldiers that ventured to counter radio-controlled improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has since retooled its efforts. The service is pursuing a broad campaign of development, is continuing to identify capability gaps and has successfully fielded more advanced tools to operate and dominate in the electromagnetic spectrum.
The formation of the U.S. Space Force has led to more advanced cooperation in the space domain with existing and new partners, according to the force’s chief of space operations. Gen. John Raymond, USSF, noted that some nations even followed the U.S. example in giving space an increased priority as a warfighting domain.
Speaking at a Defense Writers Group media roundtable, Gen. Raymond stated that the United States is stronger as a nation with a stable and secure space domain. “The United States is a spacefaring nation, and we’ve long known that access to space and freedom to maneuver in space underpin all the instruments of our national power,” he declared.
The U.S. military should begin fielding low-cost, low-collateral counter-drone systems as early as next year, officials told reporters in a February 2 conference call.
The Army has been designated the lead service for deploying systems to counter small unmanned aerial system (C-sUAS) technologies across the department. The service recently released its C-sUAS strategy . The strategy provides the framework for addressing sUAS hazards and threats in a variety of operating environments, including the U.S. homeland, host nations and contingency locations.
The U.S. Air Force plays a vital role to the rest of the U.S. military in providing airlift response, mid-air refueling, aero-medical evacuation and global air mobility support for military operations, as well as during humanitarian crises. To perform these missions, the Air Force depends on a variety of tanker and cargo aircraft including the KC-135, KC-10 and KC-46. However, in addition to these more traditional roles for the air fleet, the service is employing the aircraft more and more as flying communications nodes for the growing and ever-important mission of enabling Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) and Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.
The push toward multidomain operations is geared toward meeting the multifaceted threat U.S. forces face worldwide, but its effects already are being felt in the Indo-Pacific region. Three nation-state adversaries, each with its own flavor of threat, are influencing U.S. efforts in that vast region to maintain peace and security.
The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not speed of platforms or vehicles, but of innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintain the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries that are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.
This will require tapping industry for innovative information technology advances. Ensuring that speed of capability may require working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to keeping ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.
Always strategic, the island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean in Micronesia is playing a growing role in the contested, troublesome, near-peer competition environment. The Defense Department is investing more into the military facilities of this U.S. territory, including adding networking and bandwidth solutions; joint all-domain command and control; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions as well as additional U.S. forces. The measures will add key communications and advanced capabilities to the island as well as increase the military’s power projection abilities.
Given the remoteness of the Indo-Pacific region and the growing role of Guam in the theater, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, has been heavily investing in information technology and communications capabilities for the U.S. territory.
The Indo-Pacific region continues to increase in importance and activity. A broad range of actions must be taken to preserve democracy and freedom in this most critical region. The threat to the democratic ideals respected around the world is not abstract but real, and it comes from multiple sources. Stopping the march against human rights violations, promotion of destructive economic, geopolitical activity and threatening military actions requires proactive, not reactive, measures. These measures must be thoughtfully and rapidly implemented.
The U.S. Army is focusing on how to change its processes to be faster and more agile. One fundamental shift is in its approach to leveraging commercial solutions as well as those the other services and other organizations such as government laboratories have developed. These nearer-to-prime-time technologies would be available faster than PowerPoint capabilities.
The Naval Sea Systems Command has made great progress in advancing the service's vision of developing a family of unmanned surface and undersea vehicles. To accomplish this task, it is nurturing an effort to add unmanned vessels, improving autonomous capabilities and supporting the open architectures required to share them across various platforms.
The U.S. Defense Department released today its strategy for countering small unmanned aircraft systems, which have become a growing threat both for the homeland and abroad.
The U.S. Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) system needs be to upgraded as greatly as the weapons that have underpinned U.S. strategic deterrence for 75 years, says the head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). Adm. Charles R. Richard, USN, STRATCOM commander, told a media briefing, “The NC3 is as important to the strategic deterrence mission as the delivery systems and the weapons complex. And, we are in equal need to recapitalize it alongside the delivery systems.”
The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not faster platforms or vehicles but innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintaining the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries who are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.
Accomplishing this task will require tapping industry for novel information technology advances and ensuring its success may entail working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to staying ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.
Technological leaps in ground station capabilities will enable the U.S. Army to use new Internet of Things satellite constellations to boost combat communications. Innovative capabilities offer lower latency, higher throughput and greater network resilience with ease of use.
Recent Army experiments, including the Network Modernization Experiment and Project Convergence, have included a range of technologies for enhancing and protecting satellite communications (SATCOM). The capabilities will support the service’s modernization goals such a more resilient network, long-range precision fires, and air and missile defense.
First things first: Happy New Year, and let this be the beginning of a return to normalcy!
The best part of walking a trade show floor is seeing the unexpected: prototypes of new technology, novel ways to solve the government’s challenges and coincidental meetings with new contacts. As the year unfolds, indications are that trade shows will follow the 2020 model: default to online gatherings while holding out hope for in-person events. In some cases, there will be hybrid meetings featuring both elements.
Is the symbiotic government-industry-academia relationship prepared for this long term? Are existing channels supportive enough for all sides to exchange information and meet the government’s national security needs?
For U.S. military veterans fighting post-traumatic stress disorder or other combat related injuries, the holidays can be a difficult time, especially in an environment already complicated by the global pandemic. In particular, for U.S. Army MSG Pavel “Pasha” Palanker, a 17-year combat veteran, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor recipient, the times have proven to be quite challenging.
The U.S. Space Force plans to have a mix of about half military and half civilian workers, reaching roughly 16,000 personnel. As of the end of last week, 2,206 enlisted and officer personnel had transferred into the new service, reported Brig. Gen. Shawn Campbell, USAF, deputy director of Personnel, U.S. Space Force. Almost 60 more field-grade officers will move into the Space Force shortly, after Congress approves these non-space operators, who will work in intelligence, cyber, engineering or acquisition roles.
The U.S. Defense Department’s new electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) strategy will fall short of countering enemy EMS activities without specific organizational and process oversight, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO is recommending greater oversight and specific metrics be built around designated leadership to ensure that the department’s own goals are met.
Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies.
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Joint Service Provider, or JSP, is looking for industry help. The JSP is the information technology (IT) service provider supporting the highest authorities at the Department of Defense, including the Office of Secretary of Defense, all of the U.S. military department heads, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Staff, and most of the other senior DOD leaders within the Pentagon and throughout the national capital region, explained Sajeel Ahmed, the JSP’s vice director at DISA. Over the next year, the JSP will be issuing industry solicitations for network hardware, cybersecurity solutions and communications technologies.
Pentagon officials are developing a strategy related to the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) concept that should be delivered soon to the combatant commands, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, the Joint Staff's chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers, also known as the J-6.
Gen. Crall made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
Given adversarial threats in the Indo-Pacific region and Europe, especially from Russia and China, the Arctic region’s strategic importance is increasing. As such, over the last several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold weather operation capabilities. Beginning in 2016, the U.S. Marine Corps in particular, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the Kingdom of Norway to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.
Even in the summer, Norway offers challenging, rugged terrain that helps hone the cold-weather survival and mountain warfare skills of the U.S. Marines. In May, Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, along with the Marine Forces Europe and Africa, deployed to northern Norway above the Arctic Circle as part of Marine Rotational Force-Europe (MRF-E) 20.2. The warfighters worked directly with the Norwegian Army to advance their skills and improve allied interoperability, says Lt. Col. Brian Donlon, USMC, commander of 3rd Battalion, who leads the MRF-E contingent.
Most experts agree: defense information technologies increasingly will come from the commercial sector. Traditional contractors will continue to manufacture systems requested by the military, but now nontraditional firms will be providing the defense community with systems fueled by innovative capabilities. The result will be hybrid information systems and hardware that will owe their origin to the private sector.
So, if the commercial sector is to be the source of military communications capabilities, why do we need a defense organization such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) dedicated to providing information system services to the defense community? The answer lies in two words: defense and community.
When the United States entered World War II 79 years ago this month, it embarked on an unprecedented period of change. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, traditional notions of work, education, security and every other aspect of life in America were pushed into a new reality. Today—albeit without a declared war—deployment of technology has created similar conditions for society-level change that the country must embrace.
The U.S. Air Force’s shift away from continuously present bomber squadrons in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility has actually resulted in more bomber flights, reports Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF. In April, the service ended Continuous Bomber Presence missions in the Indo-Pacific Theater, which it had conducted with squadrons deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, since March of 2004.
The complexity of multidomain operations presents both challenges and opportunities in the effort to obtain an information advantage. To overcome these challenges and exploit the opportunities to gain an edge, the Army is modernizing.
Despite the global pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has never stopped providing warfighters with critical connections needed to conduct multidomain warfare and never let up on the daily battles in cyberspace, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the agency’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network.
Adm. Norton made the comments during an AFCEA TechNet Cyber webinar on November 5. The webinar is part of a series of webinars leading up to the TechNet Cyber conference scheduled for December 1-3.
Over the past several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold-weather operation capabilities. The U.S. Marine Corps, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the region to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.