Defense industry must adhere to open standards for JADC2 to work, leaders say

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Written by Billy Mitchell

Defense companies must become more comfortable working together and sharing data in an open architecture if they are to play a role in successfully implementing the military’s futuristic strategy for battlefield operations. interconnected and driven by sensors, senior executives said Tuesday.

Under the Department of Defense’s Internet of Things concept of operations, known as Joint All Domains Command and Control (JADC2), no defense contractor should own the data collected, processed or shared. between military services and in the fields of war. , C-Suite executives from Boeing, Northrop Grumman and L3Harris Technologies agreed during a panel at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber ​​2021 conference. Rather, it will belong to the larger services and systems they develop, such as the Air Force and its Advanced Combat Management System (ABMS).

“Our belief is that no one should own the internet except the US government; no one should own the data except the US government, ”said Richard Stapp, corporate vice president and chief technical officer of Northrop Grumman. “We are entering a new system where everything has to be open architecture and open data standards – just a period.”

It might make some defense companies uncomfortable, especially if they’re used to building hardware and owning the entire stack and related intellectual property, Stapp said. “I think the defense industry is going to have to look at new models for analyzing this data and sharing it” in a more modular, open-architecture framework.

Some of that can be handled by politics, but a lot of it is behavioral as well, said Ross Niebergall, vice president and chief technical officer of L3Harris Technologies. “This open systems approach means the IP stays in the box and everything between the boxes is completely open.”

“At the end of the day, what I think the Air Force needs is to be able to pick the best in class among various components and systems and design the solution,” Niebergall said. “I think in this new paradigm, the Air Force is going to have a lot more responsibility and ownership of the overall architecture that we develop, which will allow us to fulfill part of that promise.”

Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Phantom Works at Boeing, said the policy will also be critical in shaping how data sharing works when third-party commercial technology, like cloud and artificial intelligence, is touted as a another player in the discussion.

“The person who owns the network will be the government. The person who will hold the data will be the government, ”Nordlund said. “We need to figure out how to add value and make it easier to make decisions and manipulate data, deliver data quickly to make it all happen, so the operator can benefit from it and have what he needs when he needs it. needs to decide.

Niebergall agreed, “Often times commercial industries have better algorithms and better tools to do it. But what we need to do as an industry is take advantage of that capability because I think what the Air Force is looking for is autonomy, more than just an algorithm that can extract threat of an image. And so I think we really have to be more holistic to really take advantage of all that the American industry has to offer to address these issues. “


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