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By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

The Army, Navy and Air Force all have defining contributions to the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) Implementation Plan now signed into effect by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

With the goal of multi-domain connectivity and high speed targeting and attack across land-air-and sea, each service is working on common protocols, secure interfaces and service-wide AI-enabled data analysis and information sharing. 

This chart, distributed March 17, shows how Joint All-Domain Command and Control works, and just how complicated it is. (Department of Defense)

This chart, distributed March 17, shows how Joint All-Domain Command and Control works, and just how complicated it is. (Department of Defense)

JADC2: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines

The Army seeks air-ground connectivity as well as synergies with the Air Force and Navy, using unmanned systems, mechanized vehicles and helicopters. 

The Air Force seeks to not only connect air to air with unmanned teaming and ground-based command and control in real time, but also is achieving breakthrough success connecting to ground and sea systems. 

For instance, Marine Corps F-35s have already been able to connect with fast-moving Army war units on the ground, exchanging time-critical navigational and targeting data in real-time.

The Navy not only seeks to connect with the other services but is also enabling its own service wide multi-domain connectivity with its submarines, surface ships and fixed wing aircrafts. 

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Therefore, the Navy itself need to connect air-sea-undersea domains itself, while then also extending connectivity to Army units on the ground and Air Force units above.

The Navy’s contribution to JADC2 has for years been making rapid progress with what’s called Project Overmatch, an AI-enabled system of multi-domain, multi-platform integration aligning surface, undersea and air assets to operate in close coordination with one another. This means information sharing between overhead drones, ship-launched fighter jets, surface ships, a fast-growing fleet of autonomous and semi-autonomous unmanned platforms and even submarines to a certain extent. 

The idea is to engineer and execute multi-domain data sharing, which could for instance immediately link mine countermeasures with surface and undersea platforms in support of an air-surface amphibious assault.

Drones in the air and 5th-Generation aircraft could find threats from beyond the horizon, minefields could be found and neutralized ahead of incoming surface attacks and unmanned systems could survey enemy coastline to test defenses … all simultaneously in real time.

The intended cumulative battlefield effect is made manifest through sensors
“The speed of -- first of all, the volume of information is only growing exponentially. And we have the ability -- with the sensors…. the unblinking, all-seeing eye is everywhere. So we're awash in sensor data,” Lieutenant General Dennis Crall, Director, Command, Control, Communications And Computers/Cyber; Chief Information Officer, Joint Staff, told reporters in a JADC2 briefing, according to a Pentagon transcript.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, Joint Staff Chief Information Officer and Director for Command, Control and Computer/Cyber, gives opening remarks to press members during a briefing on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control implementation plan, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 18, 2022.

That is the idea, and the Navy has been making progress with this for many years now, in part through a project called Ghost Fleet or Operation Overlord which began years ago with the Office of Naval Research. 

Progress with the effort has led to its migration to the service as a program, which has already demonstrated an ability for multiple unmanned systems to operate autonomously and semi-autonomously in close coordination with one another. The concept is to not only optimize point to point connectivity and command and control but a “networked” system of multiple “meshed” nodes operating in relation to one another, often without requiring human intervention.

These kinds of breakthroughs are exactly what are being harnessed with Project Overmatch, the foundation of the Navy’s contribution to JADC2.

Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization