Air Force’s JADC2 Contribution Shifting to Operational Status
The Advanced Battle Management System is ready for real-world testing, the service announced.
The Air Force contribution to the Defense Department’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept is moving into an operational phase—and already has an initial capability release planned—after close to two years of development.
Now that it has met key benchmarks, the Advanced Battle Management System, or ABMS, will go out to warfighters under a new status that allows for the purchasing of software and hardware and real-world testing, according to a recent Air Force announcement. The elevation of the program also allows officials to test the transfer of data from a central source out to the joint force.
“Nearly two years of rigorous development and experimentation have shown beyond doubt the promise of ABMS,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said in a statement. “We’ve demonstrated that our ABMS efforts can collect vast amounts of data from air, land, sea, space and cyber domains, process that information and share it in a way that allows for faster and better decisions.”
ABMS is the cornerstone of JADC2, DOD’s burgeoning effort to connect sensors to shooters across domains and services. The concept is dependent on the ability to collect, analyze and share data to improve decision-making at speed.
A JADC2 strategy document is pending; Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, chief information officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the JADC2 lead, said last month the strategy was expected to reach the defense secretary’s desk “in days.” DOD did not respond to Nextgov’s request for comment on the status of the strategy in time for publication. A posture review and implementation plan are also on the way, according to Crall.
The first capability release under the new phase for ABMS will see KC-46 Pegasus tankers outfitted with a piece of technology similar to an internet hotspot that will allow aircraft to receive and transmit data.
When asked about what warfighting capabilities the hotspots will add during a Tuesday Center for New American Security webinar, Brown said ABMS is not only about getting data to the forward edge, but also about bringing data back in from the forward edge to help drive decision-making.
“Each one of our platforms has some level of data on it,” Brown said. “But sometimes it's tied to that platform and doesn't get off the platform until you get it back on the ground. Well, why wait several hours to get it back on the ground to process it when you can actually push that information and data around real time to drive decisions.”
Randy Walden, program executive officer with the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, said “major investments in digital infrastructure” for ABMS are also on the way.
“To build ABMS, you must first build the digital structures and pathways over which critical data is stored, computed and moved,” Walden said. “The Department of the Air Force needs a smart, fast and resilient system of systems to establish information and decision superiority, and ABMS will be that solution.”