"We'll take anybody's sensors," MDA's John Bier said, "as long as it contributes to the missile warning, missile defense and space domain environment."
By THERESA HITCHENSon May 14, 2020 at 2:44 PM
WASHINGTON: Senior Missile Defense Agency officials say Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) will be fundamental to rapidly and seamlessly integrating future capability to track and intercept hypersonic and cruise missiles into its current architecture focused on ballistic missiles.
“We need the ability to globally see, track and engage the threats in a multispectral environment in real time with persistent capabilities, so that we can provide the right data to the right targets,” MDA's chief architect Stan Stafira said.
MDA has been able to develop its C2 network to link various layers in the overarching US missile defense architecture, but that integration has been achieved largely through “brute force,” John Bier, MDA program director for C2BMC, told a webinar sponsored by the Missile Defense Advocacy Association (MDAA) yesterday. “Where JADC2 is trying to drive the C2 community is: how do you make that easier?”
MDA is working on first assessing how to tie in its current Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) architecture with JADC2 as it develops, then look at how to integrate its future planned capabilities “when applicable,” a MDA spokesperson clarified in an email.
Toward that end, MDA is planning on participating in the Air Force's second “On Ramp” exercise of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) family of systems initiative aimed at developing a number of critical technologies to underpin JADC2, Bier said.
The exercise, which would have involved a space-oriented scenario, was planned for last month, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. After first being slipped to June, it now is slated for Aug. 31-Sept. 4 moved back to A MDA fully expects to be involved in the exercise, although Bier did not elaborate on exactly what role the agency would play or what systems might be involved.
He said that MDA is working on spiral development of new technologies on an every two- to three-year cycle, but hopes to move even faster to integrate new capabilities. Part of that effort will involve moving to open standards, just as the ABMS program is doing now.
“We'll take anybody's sensors,” Bier said, “as long as it contributes to the missile warning, missile defense, and space domain environment.” The ABMS On Ramp exercises are “great integration environments” to test out the new standards, he added.
Bier said that up to now MDA has been successfully able to develop and manage a C2BMC system across the missile defense enterprise — one that links strategic systems such as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD) interceptors in silos in California and Alaska with regionally deployed, tactical systems such as Patriot batteries — in large part because of its special governance structure and flexible contractual authorities.
Although Bier didn't say it, the obvious inference is that DoD and the Joint Chiefs of Staff may want to consider how to centralize authority over various service C2 and battle management programs and projects that will need to connect to make JADC2 a reality.
“The JADC2 environment allows us to bring in multiple services along with MDA and the Intelligence Community and discuss these issues,” he said.