The Navy sets the record straight: It’s all-in on JADC2

Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton fire an RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile during the Rim of the Pacific 2016, the world's largest international maritime exercise, in the Pacific Ocean, July 14, 2016. (U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Noble)

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The Navy is just as invested in the military’s new Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) as the other services are, top officials said Thursday. While the Air Force has taken the lead on developing the technical backbone of the network-of-networks, the Navy says it is right in the mix.

The Navy has been talking less publicly about its participation, the officials said, in order to protect the security of the system. Naval forces play a critical role in JADC2, given that they operate in multiple domains and are focused on the Indo-Pacific region, where great-power competition with China is already playing out. JADC2 is the military’s big bet on connecting “every sensor to every shooter,” as the saying goes — including those at sea.

“We have been in both” of the military’s JADC2 demos, Vice Adm. Jeffery Trussler, the Navy’s new top uniformed IT official, said during an AFCEA panel on JADC2. “We are working on those things, right now,” he added, reassuring the audience that the Navy continues to collaborate with other services on the program.

JADC2 recently had a second test event where companies competed in a trial to test the technical capabilities of the new “internet of military things.” All of the armed forces participated in the event as well, helping them in gleaning insights. The events are also called Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) demos, referring to the Air Force’s system that will form the technical backbone of JADC2.

Trussler stressed that security was indeed the Navy’s main reason for staying relatively quiet about JADC2. He even said that when he was invited to the AFCEA event, his first reaction was that the Navy was already “talking too much” about it.

“We want to continue to open that aperture,” Vice Adm. James Kilby, deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting requirements and capabilities, said. Kilby said that the Navy has been working on getting cloud-at-the-edge capabilities and working to harden its networked systems.

A critical challenge for Kilby and others in the Navy is data sharing across security enclaves — a process that is traditionally seen as a security threat. But with the Pentagon’s directives for more collaboration, the Navy is working on sharing more data across enclaves, Kilby said.

Kilby said 5G wireless is another emerging technology the Navy wants to harness for its participation in JADC2. Trussler added that “in terms of 5G, we are all in on that.”

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Advanced Battlefield Management System (ABMS), Air Force, Department of Navy, Jeffrey Trussler, Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), Networks, sensors
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