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Going operational: JADC2 technology concepts hit the field

A USAF B-1B Lancer flies over an MIM-104 Patriot missile launcher in support of ‘Valiant Shield 2022'. (USAF)

Since its inception in late 2020 as the Pentagon's main vehicle to usher in a new era of joint, technology-driven warfare, the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capability has evolved rapidly.

The concept behind JADC2 – the ability to detect, identify, target, and potentially strike anything on the battlefield in any domain at any time – has been a long-standing objective of the US armed forces. However, the decision by senior leaders at the US Department of Defense (DoD) to make JADC2 the lynchpin for its overall warfighting doctrine, dubbed the Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC), initiated a fast-track approach to maturing concept-enabling technologies.

“If developed and implemented properly, the joint warfighting concept will yield a far more decisive, powerful set of combat outcomes than today's joint operations,” former US Air Force (USAF) intelligence chief Lieutenant General (retd) David Deptula wrote in a 2022 analysis of the JWC.

As for the maturation of the JADC2 concept, Deptula wrote that it will demand “a mammoth conversion of existing concepts, capabilities, and service perspectives”.

“But these endeavours can be accelerated through the rapid evolution of current command-and-control (C2) paradigms and associated technology research, development, and acquisition strategies,” he added.

DoD programme officials codified the department's rapid evolution approach towards JADC2 concepts in the formal implementation strategy for the capability on 15 March. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks approved the implementation strategy, which paved the way for departmental investments in enabling systems, platforms, and processes to support JADC2.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the overarching JADC2 strategy, on which the implementation plan is based, in May 2021. DoD leaders officially announced the approval in June that year.

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