Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed and approved the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy document last month, marking an official start to the marathon to implement the data-sharing strategy across the military, the Pentagon said at a June 4 press conference.

The JADC2 strategy is one that looks to link all the United States military domains to allow for seamless data sharing among mission spaces. The initiative would also connect the sensors, shooters, and command nodes of each of the six branches of the military in a mesh network.

“[Austin signing off on the JADC2 strategy] does a couple things for us, the first of which, it’s a clear recognition by the secretary on the nature of the fight we expect to have in the digital age,” Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, Director of the Command, Control, Communication, and Computers (C4) unit and Cyber and CIO for the J-6 Joint Staff, said at the press conference. “And that fight is different, it is characterized by speed and this machine-human interface.”

“So, in the simplest terms what the JADC2 strategy does is it does bring order to our efforts in the command and control arena to sense, make sense, and act all at the speed of relevance,” Crall added.

Crall defined JADC2 as a “data-centric” strategy, which separates it from other joint strategic actions. While the strategy document itself has not been released yet, Crall said an unclassified version of the data strategy is still being worked on and will be released.

As far as public milestones, Crall said there are still some issues to resolve, such as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract that is still being hashed out in the court system, as well as defining what is a “federated data factor.”

“We’ve had several data summits, we’re about to have another one here shortly in about a week, where we’re pulling the community together to define what this looks like,” Crall said.

Crall said in looking for prospective defense industry vendors, the data-sharing functions are critical. The Army Futures Command announced a contractor for building the JADC2 data fabric near the end of April. More recently, the Air Force announced it is moving forward with its Advanced Battle Management System, which will help facilitate its participation in the JADC2 strategy.

“We want data-sharing. We want to have the ability to fuse data sets together in ways that are nimble, like industry does today, meaning we have to share a little bit of the backside of how those things work,” Crall said. “And frankly, we need solutions that work on the tactical edge.”

Crall says one of the advantages of the strategy, and its sign-off from Defense Secretary Austin, is the convergence of these strategies across all domains. Now the real work begins for the DoD. With the strategy signed off on, it is showtime for the agency.

“If you went back and looked at some of these efforts or pieces of it over the past decade, decade and [a] half, they’ve always been limited to one faction or one portion of the Department. This is the first that I am aware of, where it [has] brought all these entities together,” Crall said.

“For all the excitement of the strategy – and I am genuinely excited to have it signed – this really starts our work. It’s now implementation time. Planning is good. Talk is good. Now it’s delivery time.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.