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Joint All-Domain Command and Control Experimentation, Empowering Airmen to Innovate

Graphic with title of article Joint All-Domain Command and Control Experimentation, Empowering Airmen to Innovate with 505 CCW logo

A graphic for JADC2 Experimentation.

Nellis AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --

Joint All-Domain Command and Control Experimentation, Empowering Airmen to Innovate

Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) experiments by the Air Force's Shadow Operations Center – Nellis (ShOC-N), Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Staff are leading the continued successful development effort to integrate command and control (C2) through all domains which will give U.S. Forces a significant advantage over our adversaries.

The goal of JADC2 is to create a C2 system that encompasses any sensor, enables any shooter, allows reliable operations within degraded and contested spectrum environments, is interoperable with and amplifies allies and partners’ capabilities, enables coherent and resilient architecture from the strategic to the tactical edge, and enables secure, robust C2, from headquarters to the tactical edge.  JADC2 convergence connects any sensor, any C2 node, and any shooter in near-real time with the appropriate authorities.  

 "Our current processes are often delayed because the enabling information is stove-piped in functional areas," said Lt. Col. David Spitler, director of operations, ShOC-N, 805 Combat Training Squadron (CTS). "If we can flatten communication [provide common access], we can speed needed discriminators to the tactical edge, meet criteria, and enable engagement faster."

The Secretary of Defense & Joint Chief's JADC2 vision will enable continuous integration of Joint capabilities in all domains to create multiple dilemmas for the enemy.  With Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)/JADC2, decision-making is exponentially faster because machines dynamically generate effects at a tempo adversaries can't match.  The JADC2 Experiment 2 was conducted at the end of February 2020 at ShOC-N, Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada, and 11 geographically-separated nodes: Beale AFB, California, Langley AFB, Buckley AFB, Colorado, Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Gordon, Georgia, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Camp Pendleton, California, Point Loma, California, and Dahlgren, Virginia.

The primary focus of the ShOC-N's innovation is establishing a flexible IT baseline for experimentation that must be joint/coalition ready, support bridging from new technologies/MDS into experimental and future IT spaces, and enable machine-to-machine (unclassified to Special Access Program (SAP)/Special Technical Ooerations (STO)) information flow.

"We're fighting with technology in the same way how we interact with technology in our private lives, where everything seems to be seamlessly connected," Jeff Compoc, JADC2 technical lead, ShOC-N. "We need a technical foundation, these experiments are to one, trying to confirm our assumptions and two, exposing the gaps that we're going to need to fill-in … along those lines the experiments were an absolute success."

"Our Airmen are the foundation for innovation across the DoD [Department of Defense].  A key aspect of creating a Joint All-Domain Battle lab environment is the empowerment of the individuals to think differently.  The CSAF and other senior leaders have discussed that JADC2 will involve a hard look at changes required for how we organize, train, and equip the warfighter," according to Spitler. "We have a strong history of innovation in the USAF [United States Air Force], and we can be proud of that heritage, but we also spend a great deal of time teaching our folks to work within doctrine, TTPs [Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures], and SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures].  The JADC2 effort is different in that it openly challenges those involved to think beyond the current fight and envision a new way of doing business; build toward the eventual new doctrine, TTP, and SOPs that will fuel JADC2 in 2030 and beyond."

JADC2 Experiment 2 achieved its primary objective to 'connect, share, and display'; however, there is still a great deal of work to be completed.  

"We have known for a long time that interoperable systems do not equate to integration.  We have systems that implement only portions of the Mil-STD message sets and how that data is represented on their displays (both within the USAF and external to the USAF) differs, that creating delays in the machine-machine kill chain." states Spitler. "The broader issues will require new IT that our partners, such as Air Battle Management System (ABMS), are actively working on.  We hope to incorporate new 'leave behind' technologies, both software, and architecture, based in future JADC2 events."

Moving JADC2 forward requires a conversation on the doctrine, and how forces are organized, authorities and delegation of authorities are considered, acquisition requirements are stated and funded, and the fielding process of both experimentation and traditional Operational Tests (OT)/ Developmental Tests (DT).  Also, there are policy issues to overcome relating to cybersecurity and authority to connect new tech within our experimental environments as well as policy issues with information/data sharing agreements between our joint/coalition partners.  The solution for JADC2 will be very cross-functional.  A persistent environment is needed to make daily improvements leading up to future JADC2 events.

"It's a process that will take time; JADC2 is additive, and every win we realize is carefully looked at from a lens of how it makes the current day warfighter more lethal.  We are not working on a magical solution, we are marching toward developing the concepts and technologies that will deliver continuous improvement today and into the future," remarked Spitler. "If we do this right, there isn't an end state. That's the beauty of innovation! It's the optimistic frame of seeing barriers as opportunities and new heights reached as observation points to find a path toward the next advancement."

According to Col. Shayne Yorton, commander, 505th Combat Training Group, "JADC2 is the future and the 805 CTS/ShOC-N team is trailblazing a path for our joint and coalition partners to integrate, collaborate, and create new tactics, techniques, and procedures to ensure success."

ShOC-N also is known as the 805 CTS, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, 505 CTG, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, is aligned under the 505th Command and Control Wing (CCW), Hurlburt Field, Florida, which shapes the way joint and coalition warfighters execute command and control (C2) of multi-domain operations. The 505 CCW provides a tactical advantage to the warfighter to achieve and maintain C2 dominance in air, space, and cyberspace.