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Special C3BM Air Force Team Takes on JADC2

A key battle management team, embedded at Nellis, will have a first-hand look into potential industry command and control solutions.
This article is a second in a series examining the U.S. Force's journey to field joint all-domain command and control solutions and create its vision of a Battle Network.

The Department of the Air Force's almost one-year old Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management (DAF PEO C3BM), led by Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey, the integrating program executive officer, is positioning itself well to leverage industry solutions for joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2.

The DAF is arming itself with a series of systems engineering models as part of its Transformational Model methodology—including the model-based system for command and control, called the Transformational Model-Battle Management (TM-BM) for use in evaluating industry solutions necessary for the DAF Battle Network and its integration. The network is the vision of command, control and communications battle management elements and JADC2 needed for an advanced battle management system.

“When I talk about the ‘battle network,’ I’m talking about the composite set of things that are operating and connected for the entire command and control structure that function effectively,” explained Gen. Cropsey, who also serves as assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

In addition, the general has selected a special team from DAF PEO C3BM to support the PEO’s acquisition and architecture experts as they work toward the goal of integrating industry solutions as part of the greater DAF Battle Network.

The DAF PEO C3BM group of warfighters are all versed in battle management, cyber, combat operations, electronic warfare and intelligence. The team, which is paired with program managers, are stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, the department’s designated joint all-domain command and control laboratory, the Shadow Operations Center-Nellis, known as the ShOC-N.

“The C3BM team embedded at ShOC-N includes operators experienced in combat operations, battle management, electronic warfare, cyber and intelligence, paired with program managers,” a Department of the Air Force spokesperson said.

 

The team is meant to bridge the gap between acquisitions and operations by closely examining potential solutions and conducting early fielding of new C3BM technologies during relevant environments and exercises.

“What we’re trying to do there is create a dynamic environment where we have an element of the organization that is focused around being operational and responsive to emerging requirements and needs,” Gen. Cropsey explained.

The DAF PEO C3BM team participated in Northern Edge 2023, the massive U.S. Indo-Pacific Command multinational and multidomain operations exercise held in Alaska May 4-19 with U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy, United Kingdom and Australian military personnel.

In December, the group began seeing industry as well as Air Force JADC2-related solutions during an event at Nellis.

And while the embedded team is separate from the Advanced Battle Management System Cross Functional Team (CFT), the group does work closely with the CFT.

“As the CFT is doing their analysis and as they’re looking at operational gaps that we need to go fill, [there are] some of those things we might be able to do quickly and be able to launch something in short order and get things moving,” he said. “Our [DAF PEO C3BM] team is designed to be able to pick those things up and run with them.”

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Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey
When I talk about the ‘battle network,’ I’m talking about the composite set of things that are operating and connected for the entire command and control structure that function effectively.
Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey
Department of the Air Force PEO C3BM

This onsite view will enable “concurrent technology improvement and concept of operations development, minimizing adoption and spin-up time once operational systems are fielded,” according to the Department of the Air Force. 

The team is continuing to work on new concepts of operations and different tactics, techniques and procedures—“any number of different things,” Gen. Cropsey shared. “By having them co-located there at Nellis, the idea is that we get the best of all of those worlds because we’re living, breathing and operating the same air. The intent is to make sure that we actually have an organic in-house program executive office organizational element that’s connected directly with the ShOC-N.”

“Early fielding facilitated by experienced operators enables feedback and experimentation, yielding concept of operations that may have been impossible with legacy technology,” the spokesperson indicated.