Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has signed off on the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, which aims to bring in technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced computing to build a cross-service digital architecture for future multi-domain operations.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the joint staff’s chief information officer, told reporters last Friday that Austin signed the strategy on May 13, which he said now “brings about a sense of order” and accountability for the various technology and experimentation efforts being worked across the department.

Preston Dunlap, Air Force Chief Architect, briefs Department of Defense senior leaders on ABMS works during the first ABMS live demonstration at Eglin AFB, Fla. last December 18. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

“This now really starts our work. It’s now implementation time. Planning is good. Talk is good. Now, it’s delivery time. And we’ve been given the clear signal to begin pushing these outcomes to the people who need them,” Crall said.

Between programs such as the Army’s Project Convergence, the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System or the Pentagon’s multiple cloud computing projects, Crall said the strategy now gives the department tangible guidelines to ensure those efforts align with interoperability and technology advancement goals.

“[The strategy] now provides real lines of effort. While I could persuade…individuals adhere to a framework and a structure and if there was no compliance there were really no teeth in the system to make that change. We had no Northern Star. So specifically what it does now is allow me to take that JADC2 strategy and a specific line of effort and place it directly over the top of this experimentation and vet it,” he said.

Crall added he believes the department is adequately resourced to push ahead with JADC2, but noted that a new Cross-Functional Team created to set requirements could shed light on current investments that aren’t aligned with strategy.

“We have to be clear about recapitalizing some of the investments we have that may not be very productive. It’s fair to say that some of these things we do may be under the old way of thinking,” Crall said.

Technology areas of focus to support the JADC2 strategy will include defining the federated data fabric, getting after bolstered identity credentials and management, agile software development, moving to a zero-trust network environment and implementing an enterprise cloud solution.

“More importantly, what we’re going to avoid is vendor lock or proprietary solutions, which have plagued us in the past. We want this to be open source. We want to use the same technology or mindset our industry partners use today,” Crall said. “We are clearly in need of cloud [computing], to include a deployable, tactical cloud to do this type of processing and data storage on the edge.” 

Crall said officials are in the final steps of completing an unclassified version of the strategy which should be released soon.