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Data Ties Together the INDOPACOM Wish List

Not only technologies, but also relationships may be redefined.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is approaching the future with a wish list connected by the common thread of data. This list includes expected needs in the vast region, but it also features new approaches to maintaining peace and security throughout the region.

This list was offered to luncheon attendees by Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, USA, chief of staff of INDOPACOM, on the third and final day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, held in Honolulu April 11-13. Its theme of “From Data to Dominance” fit perfectly with Gen. Jarrard’s presentation.

The general identified several warfighting capability gaps. First, the force needs to be able to operate in contested space. Chinese capabilities are the focal point of that requirement, as China continues its “coercive and aggressive” efforts to subvert the global rules-based order, he noted.

The command also needs all-domain battlespace awareness to operate in this type of environment and protect the joint force, which is another item on the wish list. A near-term goal is for the data environment to remove the latency of target-quality data so forces can act and respond in near real time. This capability is related to the need for integrated long-range fires, which the general described as another vital requirement.

Some efforts are already underway. A persistent missile defense system being established in Guam will provide broad security. The command also is building a modernized training facility, and other training approaches are under development. They are vital, as the general pointed out.

“Leadership is a weapon system,” he declared.

All these items on the wish list have the need for data, Gen. Jarrard stated, adding, “This will help us achieve dominance.” The Mission Partner Environment will enable the data for them, he added.

Securing this data is a top priority, the general continued. “It makes more sense to secure the data than the network. Everyone is going to get to your network.”

And information is a part of digital warfare. “Look at the information fight in Ukraine. Look at the information fight in Indo-Pacific. The fight in the information environment is potentially where we’re going to win or lose, so we have to get better at it,” he declared.

The command also is looking at its relationships with other nations in the region. Changes might be afoot as the United States confronts a new reality.

“We created the Five Eyes construct, and that was an excellent construct 60 years go. Is it the right construct now?” Gen. Jarrard asked. He suggested that the United States should look at breaking out of that construct to admit other nations into that core group.