Pentagon releases JADC2 implementation plan

A JADC2 demo at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

A JADC2 demo at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman

An unclassified version of the strategy outlines five lines of effort, which includes establishing JADC2 "conformant" IT standards as part of the data enterprise.

The Pentagon has finally signed out its implementation plan for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), but while the details may be classified a recently unclassified version of the strategy offers a glimpse of the department's vision for a vast, interoperable communications network.

"We must maintain continued focus and momentum on these initiatives and programs which enhance department capabilities to face current and future threats," said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks in a statement released with the implementation plan. 

"Command and control in an increasingly information-focused warfighting environment have never been more critical. JADC2 will enable the DOD to act at the speed of relevance to improve U.S. national security. JADC2 is delivering capabilities beginning now, and it will continue to be funded in the coming years."

JADC2 strives for seamless interoperability and communication between DOD's various systems regardless of whether they're airborne, afloat, or at headquarters. And the long-awaited plan promised to have key objectives, milestones, and contributions from each military branch as well as the combatant commands with an eye on developing minimally viable products.

The implementation plan and associated strategy are classified, but in a publicly released summary of the strategy, DOD said JADC2's implementation hinges on six guiding principles: 

Designing universal and continuous information sharing at an enterprise level; making it secure with a "layered" and "strong cyber defense;" having an interoperable and standardized data fabric; making it operational and resilient in a degraded environment; improving command and control capability development broadly; and delivering JADC2 capabilities quickly through acquisitions and development.

The document also outlines five lines of effort, the first of which is creating a JADC2 data enterprise. That means creating standards, such as creating metadata tagging criteria, adopting standardized data interface, security practices, and establishing JADC2-specific IT standards that will improve commanders' ability to use and manage data.

Other lines of effort include focus on talent acquisition and professional development, communications and network infrastructure needs, integration with nuclear command, control, and communications, and making sure that systems are interoperable with mission partners.

The JADC2 cross functional team is charged with overseeing the strategy, which was signed out by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in 2021, and corresponding implementation plan. That team is composed of senior executives and flag officers representing the combatant commands, military services, defense agencies, Joint Staff and staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

"Changes in the global security environment, to include rising malign actions against the United States and wide-ranging advances in information technology, present urgent challenges and opportunities for the Joint Force," the document states. 

"These capabilities will directly and dramatically improve a commander's ability to gain and maintain information and decision advantage."