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5 JADC2 Insights from Defense and Industry Leaders

Written by Greg Wenzel

1. Industry partnership is critical to make JADC2 a reality. The appearance of panelists from SpaceX, Google, and Booz Allen onstage with top DOD leaders demonstrated the new era of defense—industry partnerships to accelerate groundbreaking victories. Military leaders recognize that industry partners are agile. They experiment with new technology, take risks, and offer wide talent pools that DOD needs to respond to adversarial threats and connect the joint force. 

2. DOD must transition its approach from network-centric to data-centric. A major theme across panels was that data centricity is a key to setting JADC2 apart from past attempts to connect the forces. Leaders such as Dr. David Honey, Maj. Gen. Robert Collins, and Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey discussed the cultural challenges that have prevented data sharing across networks. Each service has its own structure and historically has focused on solutions within each network, making it difficult to align systems.  A new data-centric approach enables data sharing across networks, regardless of mission alignment.

“The goal is to integrate, fuse, and correlate any sensor with any effector. This is critical for warfighters at the edge.”

3. The joint force needs a unified data fabric. A key enabler of the transition from a network-centric to a data-centric environment is a unified data fabric. Panelists noted that due to siloed development, data across DOD is difficult to discover and share. A data fabric holds promise to overcome monolithic silos, making existing data accessible to every partner. Margaret Palmieri, DOD’s Deputy Chief Digital and AI Intelligence Officer, emphasized the importance of a federated data fabric and ecosystem backed by common organizational data standards that provide guidance on how to access and call up metadata. 

“You need to have actionable intel at the tactical edge. The way to get there is through a data fabric that stores, processes, and communicates sensor and edge data at the speed of mission relevance.”

4. Human-machine teaming is essential to win at the speed of battle. Panelists spoke to the need for an algorithmic warfare strategy that infuses weapons and systems with artificial intelligence (AI) to give the joint force ultimate advantage. AI is critical to connecting and strengthening sensors, enhancing cybersecurity, and detecting real-time threats. Whether helping soldiers at the edge determine a course of action or acting as a first line of defense against adversarial attacks in self-healing networks, leaders and industry partners agreed that AI and machine learning capabilities will play a critical role in determining the outcome of current and future conflicts.

“Time is a weapon that JADC2 will leverage.”

5. DOD must build with zero trust security. Every panelist emphasized that zero trust security controls are a key accelerator to information sharing in the JADC2 vision. Zero trust uses identity control and access management (ICAM) and AI to enable secure, agile data exchange across the joint forces. Instead of traditional cross-domain security controls, it relies on a technology-agnostic approach that requires users to continuously verify their identity within a system. Zero trust is also critical for a mission partner environment, where data must be securely and rapidly transmitted to allies and international coalition partners.

Learn more about the challenges of JADC2 and technologies to speed success.

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