• November 25, 2020
 ‘Experiment 2’ moves Joint All-Domain Command and Control forward as Joint Warfighting Assessment 20 looms

The Joint Staff’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control Campaign Plan Experiment 2 allowed Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines nodes to view a common operational picture during a simulation. The U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command used its network to connect, share and display the simulation. | Jonathan Koester

‘Experiment 2’ moves Joint All-Domain Command and Control forward as Joint Warfighting Assessment 20 looms

On the road to successfully implementing Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the five component services are working to make sure when it comes time to fight jointly, they all have a common operational picture.

In late February, the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command was a key part of Experiment 2 of the Joint Staff’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control Campaign Plan.

Experiment 2 used JMC’s network to connect the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines at their home locations, share a simulation to stimulate Joint mission command systems and display all the constructive elements of a warfare simulation across the network.

Being able to get all services on the same network, seeing the same enemy fires and converging forces together is key to the future of Multi-Domain Operations, said Col. Bert Shell, chief of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control division at JMC.

“Our ability to converge assets rapidly and take advantage of windows of opportunity is the underlying tenet of our ability to execute Multi-Domain Operations, especially against a peer adversary like Russia or China, and our ability to win in any contested space,” Shell said. “In the Multi-Domain Operations concept, we’re going to be contested in all domains. Joint All-Domain Command and Control is imperative to get after it.”

The Air Force is the executive agent for this first-year Joint All-Domain Command and Control campaign and series of experiments. Army Futures Command, Futures and Concepts Center and JMC were brought in to lead the Army’s effort.

The Air Force Warfighting Integration Center established three experiments, with the third linked into Joint Warfighting Assessment 20 as a culminating event. JWA 20 has a joint and multinational construct in place with live formations to assess sensor-to-shooter as part of the Multi-Domain Operations fight, Shell said. JMC will lead JWA 20 in May in Germany as part of Defender 20.

Experiment 1 was the first attempt to connect all the services in a distributed manner. With the lessons learned from that experiment, Experiment 2 was able to connect all the services, share information via mission command and battle management systems, and display the data to inform decision makers.

“Here at JMC, we’re running the network, but we’re also experimenting with this new visualization tool to achieve a common operational picture where you can see all the domains on one screen to help commanders understand when is the right time to converge,” Shell said. “So, that’s what I’m excited about. It’s government-owned software that we’re going to tweak to get after a representative common operational picture.”

Experiment 2 connected a number of Army nodes, including JMC and the Fires Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate Battle Lab at Fort Bliss, Texas; the Mission Command Battle Lab at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; the Regional Hub Node Experimental at Fort Gordon, Georgia; as well as the Intelligence and Security Command using their cloud initiative intel tool at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

All those Army nodes used JMC’s network to tap into the Air Force Shadow Operations Center at Nellis Air Force Base. The Navy and Marines also used JMC’s Network to tie into the experiment.

Experiment 2 was a significant success, with JMC personnel keeping the network running through active efforts like managing firewalls to communicate jointly, said Eddie Bautista, Air Common Operational Picture planner at JMC.

“We monitored, installed, implemented, and maintained the entire network, which is a pretty big task, when you think about the component commands involved, the security classification, tactical IP space, strategic IP space, the integration of all of that,” Bautista said.

Using the Navy’s Next Generation Threat System, Experiment 2 was able to run a detailed simulation in an Indo-Pacific environment, Bautista said. When threats like an enemy cruise missile were launched, all the service nodes could see the attack on their displays.

The way forward on Multi-Domain Operations will be to continue to integrate the joint and multinational services into the efforts, Shell said.

“From an Army perspective, we do that very well with a lot of our multinational partners because we’ve been focused on it, but in many cases we’re trying to get back to where we integrate with our joint team better,” Shell said. “This is a venue as part of this whole Joint All-Domain Command and Control campaign where all the services can come in and experiment with our current and future mission command systems. It gives us an opportunity to synergize on that. That’s a good news story.”

As the Joint All-Domain Command and Control and Army modernization efforts move forward, there are three time spans to focus on, Shell said. Currently, the services are trying to speed up the material solutions available. In the next five years, the effort will be focused on what the capability gaps are and working on programing and translation interfaces to get different systems to work together.

In the future, every product will have interoperability built in so that the requirement for building unique interfaces between different sensors, shooters, and applications will be significantly reduced.

After a successful Experiment 2, JMC will continue to push forward toward joint, multinational Multi-Domain Operations. The next leap ahead will come during Joint Warfighting Assessment 20, taking place from May 2-12 in Germany and Poland.

JWA 20 is the Army’s largest annual live, multination experiment, focused on Multi-Domain Operations. JWAs focus on refining concepts, capabilities and formations through soldier and leader feedback at live experiments.

Author:  Jonathan Koester  – Joint Modernization Command

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