Georgia’s two senators have written a letter to Air Force leadership expressing concern over a delayed report on certain aspects of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) program.

The fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a provision requiring the Air Force to submit a report on the ongoing ABMS program by June 1. Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, sent a June 2 letter to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett to highlight the delay.

The report is expected to include a list of each program, project and activity included within the ABMS architecture; a final analysis of alternatives for ABMS; and a list of requirements for the networked data architecture necessary to use ABMS for multi-domain operations.

“This documentation will provide key insight into ABMS development, which we understand will be a key enabling factor for future Air Force success,” the lawmakers wrote. “Without this required documentation, Congress cannot perform its oversight role to ensure on-time, on-budget development of this critical weapon system.”

The Air Force first announced plans to develop the Advanced Battle Management System architecture in 2018, and canceled a recapitalization program for the aircraft used for Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar Systems (JSTARS) to pay for it. In 2019, what started as an abstract concept began to take shape as the Air Force hired its first ABMS architect, and launched the first in a series of regular technology sprints in December 2019. Last week, the service announced plans to award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts to 28 companies, with each contract possessing a minimum award of $1,000 and a ceiling of $950 million.

In April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that questioned the ABMS program’s lack of business case and called for additional cost, functionality and integration details. Air Force leadership pushed back on the report’s assessment, and committed to “moving out” on the program (Defense Daily, April 22).

Perdue also questioned Air Force leadership on the ABMS’ progress during a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing in March (Defense Daily, March 3). Perdue, who serves as chairman for the SASC Seapower Subcommittee, also represents Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, where the 461st Air Control Wing currently flies E-8 JSTARS aircraft.

“We support the work of the Air Force as it equips its warfighters of tomorrow, and are proud that Robins Air Force will be home to these capabilities vital for success in future combat,” the lawmakers said. “As ABMS plays a pivotal role in implementing the National Defense Strategy, we respectfully request the documentation required be submitted to Congress as soon as possible.”