More than 20 one- and two-star generals, flag officers and senior executive service members from the Joint Staff, Services and Combatant Commands converged on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Jan. 26, for a Joint All-Domain Command and Control data summit hosted by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis A. Crall, the director of the Joint Staff’s J-6.
The event was held to discuss the JADC2 strategy, data standards, application programming interfaces, access management and data security and infrastructure. Without standards in place and an agreement on key components of the JADC2 concept strategic approach, data sharing in a joint fight will never be realized.
“Today is a stage-setting event,” Crall said of the summit. “This particular meeting is about making sure that the framework is in place and that we understand who is responsible for each part of the [JADC2] strategy.
“We all have ideas and investments in those ideas, and it’s time to pull those ideas together. If we do this right, we’ll have the right decisions made up front, by the right decision-makers, and then kick those outcomes to specific capabilities that meet the needs of each service,” he added.
The JADC2 strategy — a comprehensive document charting the path forward for JADC2’s development — is currently being developed by the Joint Staff J-6, with input from across the Department of Defense.
Sessions throughout the day honed in on specific JADC2 strategy lines of effort, priority Joint interoperability challenges and governance. One session in particular, focusing on a “common data fabric,” spawned more than an hour of discussion to come to an agreed- upon definition that enables the JADC2 concept strategic approach. Defining exactly what “data fabric” means is critical to developing the enterprise framework and in executing its implementation. JADC2 is defined as the warfighting capability itself enables warfighters to sense, make sense and act at all levels and phases of war, across all domains, and with partners to deliver information advantage at the speed of relevance.
The summit brought together key stakeholders across the U.S. government’s data community to continue positive momentum in shaping inter-service data agreements and turning JADC2 from concept to reality.
“What we’ve been doing for the last six or seven months is enabling this body [of decision-makers] to have this JADC2 vision and then execute it,” Mr. David Spirk, the Chief Data Officer for the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer said. “We have given [the Joint Services] the path and we’re asking them to drive us to this open systems data architecture.”
Summit participants included additional representatives from the Joint Staff alongside the Army, Air Force, Navy, Space Force, Department of Homeland Security and NATO information and network management organizations. Together, this community is driving tangible outcomes through joint collaboration to ensure data is shared and converged seamlessly at all levels where it makes sense, both in experimental and operational environments.
“I don’t think these are simple objectives but I do think they are easily attainable,” Crall said. “We can no longer afford to live the way we have been living.”
The next JADC2 Data Summit is slated for mid-April.
(Justin Eimers is a public affairs specialist with the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical.)