In 2019, the U.S. Secretary of Defense directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to conceptualize and develop a vision of how the Joint Force can combat the growing military threats posed by near-peer U.S. adversaries.
With military expectations and strategic direction already defined by the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the National Military Strategy, an integrated and threat-informed Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC) would serve as the blueprint of how the DoD would fully realize and meet those expectations.
According to Admiral Christopher W. Grady, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, “Joint Force integration is uniform agnostic.” This was a critical theme that Adm. Grady underscored during his recent keynote address at the 2023 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, where he discussed the importance of the JWC in deterring and defeating military adversaries and the role that both the Joint Force and commercial industry will play in making the JWC a reality.
The Joint Force + JWC
During his keynote, Adm. Grady explained that the character of today’s modern warfighting and security environments is the most challenging the U.S. has faced in recent history. This is attributed to the challenges the military is currently combatting, which “transcend the ability of a single service, a single combatant commander, a single industrial partner, or a nation or government to address alone.”
Today’s warfighting environments that the U.S. military operates in have an “enduring nature to the strategic competition” that must be carefully and tactically managed. “Our task is clear: bolster our defense, strengthen our global network of allies and partners, and accelerate the development of cutting- edge capabilities and new operational concepts,” stated Adm. Grady.
To achieve the goals set forth by the JWC, Adm. Grady explained that the Joint Force will require ready, responsive, and resilient air and space capabilities that give a competitive advantage in a multi-domain fight.
“We will win by integrating all of our nation’s strengths,” said Adm. Grady. “To do this... it is an absolute imperative that our warfighters, technology, and our strategies be attuned to the high-end fight.”
Modernization and the investment in digitally transformed technologies and capabilities are paramount to the realization of the JWC.
According to Adm. Grady, the JWC will rely on a “flexible, innovative and tech-enabled” Joint Force. This is especially critical, as Adm. Grady pointed to the founding of the U.S. Space Force and how the military branch now plays a critical role in providing a large set of capabilities required to fulfill the JWC mission.
“We created a service meant to realize the joint alignment and integration that is necessary for reliable and resilient space-based capabilities,” said Adm. Grady. “The competencies of the Space Force enhance our domain awareness, our communications…and support the capabilities of our collective efforts.”
To Adm. Grady, having an integrated, modernized, and tech-enabled JWC, “…steers the Joint Force to ensure that we have the right people, the right equipment, the right training and …to deter and if necessary to win in any future conflict.”
One sub-component that falls under the JWC capability set umbrella is the Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) initiative. CJADC2 is a vision set forth by the DoD that would provide the Joint Force with a full, common operating picture of warfighting environments across the entire military. The Congressional Research Service describes CJADC2 as a “concept to connect sensors from all of the military services—Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force—into a single network.”
The success of the CJADC2 initiative requires modernized and tech-enabled sharing of mission-critical data across DoD agencies, which would enable real-time, threat-informed decision-making for military leaders.
“CJADC2 will integrate our next-generation platforms and break down seams between domains for a truly globally integrated and informed force,” explained Adm. Grady. “As space and cyber and strike are not constrained by national boundaries or borders between combat and commanders, neither will our C2 networks.”
Extending CJADC2 to Space
But there is more to interoperability than simply getting disparate military networks to work together. Mission success in the future also relies on the military developing an integrated space architecture.
This integrated network would increase assuredness and resiliency by enabling warfighters to seamlessly roll across multi-orbit, multi-band satellite capabilities provided via disparate military and commercial constellations.
To Adm. Grady, the overall success of CJADC2 and the Joint Warfighting Concept will greatly rely on the innovation and new technologies coming out of the commercial industry.
“It is imperative that our partners of the defense industry see themselves in this as part of the value proposition,” explained Adm. Grady. “We need their innovative approaches to discovery and design. We need their operational expertise, efficiencies, and ability to right-size capacity and production to meet our needs. We cannot do it without them.”
That innovative approach extends beyond companies manufacturing terrestrial communications equipment and solutions, to those that deliver satellite services The commercial satellite industry has heeded the call from the DoD, and stands ready to provide the technologies and capabilities to ensure a readied, prepared, and integrated Joint Force.
Solutions such as the Information, Communications, and Technologies (ICT) Portal by SES Space & Defense are specifically designed to deliver the network management, performance monitoring, and security capabilities that are needed for the creation of an integrated satellite architecture.
According to SES Space & Defense’s Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Ram Rao, the ICT Portal enables DoD leaders to gain visibility into thousands of different network data points on a singular, consolidated interface, which would ensure the U.S. military maintains a one-step-ahead, competitive advantage over its adversaries.
“The ICT Portal will be a window that will enable visibility into the network’s capabilities, how it is built, and how it is operating,” said Rao. “This will deliver complete resiliency to military networks and support the DoD’s CJADC2 initiative.”
To learn more about the multi-domain functionalities that ICT Portal provides to the DoD, select this direct link...
Author David Pesgraves is a Staff Writer for GovSat Report, in addition to several other online publications dedicated to defense, military, and federal government agency technologies.