DoD needs to narrow its CJADC2 scope, lawmakers say

“The concept of CJADC2 is great but it's an area where the concept is ahead of where we need to be to enable that,” said Rep. Rob Wittman.

The Pentagon’s vision for the Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative, or CJADC2, to connect all sensors, shooters and data streams within the military services is too broad in scope, lawmakers said.

“The concept of CJADC2 is great. CJADC2 — we need that, but it’s an area where the concept is ahead of where we need to be to enable that,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) during the Hudson Institute event Wednesday.

“I think the Pentagon needs to narrow the scope of what they are trying to accomplish initially with CJADC2. Conceptually, it’s great.  We want to coordinate, we want to make sure you can use different weapons systems, those kinds of things. Let’s start here — let’s make sure we have a pipeline to just do a good job at gathering targeting information.

Link 16, for example, a tactical communications system that the U.S. military, allies, and partners rely on for real-time data exchange, is a key part of the DoD’s CJADC2 initiative, but it doesn’t have enough capacity to support the data communication required for the successful CJADC2 implementation.

“If you’re gonna do CJADC2, maybe build the pipe bigger first before you look at all this enabling software and things that need to be done. First of all, we have to make sure that there’s bandwidth,” said Wittman.

“Let’s make sure we have a pipeline to just do a good job at gathering targeting information, and then we can figure out how to get targeting information in different places. Let’s just make sure that it does a basic component really good first. And if it does, that’s the building block to say, ‘Now let’s take the next step,’ instead of the 100% solution very difficult to achieve. I think they need to draw in the scope of where they’re trying to go with CJADC2.”

The Space Force has been building satellite constellations to transport data in low-Earth orbit and the service recently announced that it will build a number of targeting satellites to launch into low-Earth orbit as part of that push.

“This year under the constellation security program, we want to make sure that we have layering, we want to get lots of LEO satellites, low-Earth orbit, mid-Earth orbit, GEO satellites, we want to get many of those in the private sector to have bandwidth reserved for the U.S. military. That way we have layering and we have enough pipe to be able to move information around,” said Wittman.

Bryan Clark, the Hudson Institute’s Center for Defense Concepts and Technology director, recently said the DoD’s CJADC2 vision is “a little bit too ambitious for what the technology and our requirements and acquisition process can achieve.”

“I think by building it from the bottom up to a larger aggregation, we’re going to see more success with JADC2 going forward,” said Clark during the C4ISRNET even on June 5.

In February, the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office announced the delivery of a minimum viable capability for the Pentagon’s Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative. The office is currently working on bringing in more companies to contribute to the expansion of the data integration layer.

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