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 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.
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.
The U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command and the 16th Air Force are taking further steps to advance the service’s information warfare operations. Championed by Air Combat Command’s (ACC’s) so-called A2-6 leaders, the “accelerate information warfare” approach requires the correct data management strategy, the right teams and problem-centric operations, officers say.
The idea of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) is spreading far and wide across the U.S. Department of Defense and its surrounding ecosystem.
The U.S. military’s sweeping effort to build a common command and control system to unite warfighting across all domains—sea, land, air, space and cyberspace—now has a formal policy to guide its further development. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has officially signed off on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, reported Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber; and chief information officer, The Joint Staff (J-6), on Friday during a press conference at the Pentagon.
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.
Back to basics may be the mantra for integrating innovation into the U.S. Navy. The long-held goal of network-centric warfare is more important than ever, and standards definition may hold the key for successful naval innovation.
The need for innovation is emphasized by advances by peer adversaries around the world. To keep up with ever-increasing challenges, the Navy is looking toward new weapons, unmanned systems and advanced dataflow to unify its operations against potential foes’ growing capabilities.
The U.S. Army released its annual budget last Friday, requesting $173 billion for fiscal year 2022. The amount reflects $3.6 billion in cuts from the service’s enacted FY2021 budget. The need to reduce expenditures had Army officials evaluating which priorities to continue to pursue and which efforts to drop. Funding for the service’s six modernization priorities and its so-called 31+4 signature efforts were not included in the cuts.
The sea services have issued a coordinated strategy for U.S. maritime dominance on the high seas. Titled “Advantage at Sea,” the strategy outlines much needed highly desirable goals to ensure freedom of navigation and international security over three-quarters of the Earth’s surface with a rightfully dominating focus on China. It serves as a high-level naval strategy under which is tucked the respective service strategies. Pursuing it comes at a cost, and one blunt question is whether the United States and its allies are prepared to pay that cost, politically and financially.
Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, (JFHQ-DODIN), highlighted agency priorities and focus areas that could provide a peek into his much-anticipated new action plan to further modernize the Defense Department.
Now a few months into his new role as DISA/JFHQ-DODIN commander, Gen. Skinner is looking to 2022 and beyond with a focus on data centricity, he said Thursday during the AFCEA Central Maryland chapter’s May virtual luncheon.
If the United States is going to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to maintain a technological advantage, data science capabilities are a must, says Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, USA, commander, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM).
Gen. Barrett made the remarks while serving on a panel of women cyber leaders on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet August Virtual Event Series, held May 18-19.
The pandemic propelled an immediate shift to remote working, with the U.S. Army quickly adding to its digital infrastructure to support its personnel, with a 400 percent increase in remote network capabilities, reports Deloitte Consulting. Going forward, the service must now negotiate how to lead a workforce that in many cases wants to stay remote. The Army faces other challenges in recruiting and retaining soldiers and civilians, especially going into the era of multidomain operations, or MDO, the consultants say.
To prepare, operate and fight in joint warfare against near-peer adversaries across all domains will take adroit leaders who provide effective decisions in near or real time. The Air Command and Staff College, or ACSC, has set a course to do just that: prepare leaders to thrive and fight with joint operations in a contested environment on a global scale using joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2. Leaders in the class learn to plan and execute multidomain operations against possible threats on land, sea, air, space and cyberspace to lead through the challenges of the expected future operational environment in 2030 and beyond.
The focus in the U.S. military is on all-domain operations, in which U.S. forces will operate in a highly integrated manner in what previously were autonomous or semi-autonomous domains. This approach is evolving from a time when the individual services brought specific capabilities to their respective battlespace and often employed them in various concentrated roles.
To successfully overmatch near-peer adversaries in the 21st century, the U.S. military requires decision advantage. Multidomain operations coordinate and bring to bear assets across all five domains of land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. Information dominance—getting the right information from the right sensors or systems to the right decision makers at the right time—is the key to victory on the multidomain battlefield of the future.
Joint All-Domain Command and Control, JADC2, is the path the Department of Defense has mapped out to achieve decision advantage.
The U.S. Army’s Communications and Electronics Command, or CECOM, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is engaging in a robust asset management program to make sure command, control, communications, computing, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) technologies are ready for troops around the world, said Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo, USA, CECOM commander.
The United States military has to broaden its space-based intelligence capabilities, to provide astute situational awareness and analysis to conducting space-related missions, as the threats to the domain rise. Those in the sector have been warning that space had become a threatened domain for the last decade, said Lara Schmidt, principal director, Strategic and Global Awareness Directorate, The Aerospace Corporation. Today there are about 70 nations operating in space in one way or another.
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.