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One subcommittee focused on cyber issues is flexing its oversight muscles in its proposals for the 2023 defense authorization bill, trying to get to the bottom of slow IT and investigating the Defense Department’s overhaul of its command and control system.
The House Armed Services Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems Subcommittee is asking the government’s watchdog to take a look at the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program. JADC2 is a huge undertaking that will change the way the military delivers its power by using shared data and AI processing to quicken strikes, inform troops and make decisions faster.
The panel’s markup, released Tuesday, asks the Government Accountability Office to submit a report on JADC2 by the end of the year. The proposed legislation says the committee is concerned about DoD progress with the concept, is unclear what capabilities will be delivered to troops, how much they will cost and when they will get into the hands of service members.
“JADC2 is a very complex undertaking, and there are a lot of pieces that all need to come together in order to create this capability that the department is depending on,” the committee staff said. “The services have their specific efforts that may be succeeding or encountering challenges each on their own merits and they’re supposed to net together into this cohesive whole. This report is really focused towards alignment and supervision.”
The staff noted that the report is not meant to be punitive, but rather to fully understand the state of play and how to support efforts.
The subcommittee mark asks GAO to look at investment plans, schedules and cost efforts. It will provide an evaluation of DoD’s process for monitoring cost, schedule and performance and it will assess challenges in developing and implementing JADC2.
Many may remember a flurry of social media posts about an email begging the Defense Department to fix its computers.
Employees frustrated with slow computers may actually see some movement, though it might not be in the form they were hoping.
The subcommittee is asking the Pentagon to contract with a federally funded research center to study poorly designed and poorly performing software and IT systems. Congress specifically wants to know how many working hours are being lost on a yearly basis because of slow computers. The study would also make recommendations to reduce those issues.
Peering into the CIO’s office
The DoD chief information officer has gain substantial power over the last decade. The office was reorganized early this year to hold responsibility for the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.
The CIO is also overseeing much of DoD’s artificial intelligence work.