JROC Tags Space Force To Make Satellites Link With JADC2 « Breaking Defense

JROC Tags Space Force To Make Satellites Link With JADC2 « Breaking Defense

SDA Data Transport Layer

WASHINGTON: The Space Force will be the integrator for all joint space requirements — starting with a satellite backbone for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), service vice chief Lt. Gen. DT Thompson says.

The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) made the decision, Thompson told the MilSatCom symposium today.

“They’ve just completed the process of identifying the Space Force officially and formally as the integrator for all joint space requirements,” he said “That shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you — and you can understand in many cases how broad that is.” But it is now official.

The move was prompted by the JROC’s work on both the Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC) to define future all domain operations in a global war against peer adversaries, and the related JADC2 strategy to flesh out a C2 network structure and related capabilities to underpin that concept. Both are expected to be publicly released any day now.

“The impetus for that designation, and the first new order of business for them, is related to data transport, data relay communications through space to enable Joint All Domain Command and Control,” Thompson said. The decision has already kick-started “the demand signal from the requirements perspective” for a JADC2 comms backbone the Space Force will need to create.

The new Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC) will take the lead in figuring out how to do that, he explained.

“Later this fall, our Space Warfighting Analysis Center will begin a force design initiative specifically focused on data relay/transport communications in space,” Thompson said. This will be a “huge, complex and vital undertaking,” he added, that will require breaking down current stovepipes between traditional satellite communications and Internet-enabled data routing to provide services across a wide variety of radio frequencies and existing military command, control and communications (C3) networks.

The JROC already has laid down the law that all future C2/C3 networks will be based on open data standards as they define them, not the individual services. Further, the Joint Staff J6, responsible for C2 and cyber issues, has instituted a new series of “data summits” to continue to sort out the software standards required in future to make JADC2 work.

One big question for the Space Force, however, will be how to square this new JROC-blessed responsibility with the fact that it is not in charge of building the JADC2 satellite backbone. That is instead, by decree of the previous Defense Secretary Mark Esper, being done by the Space Development Agency (SDA). SDA is an independent Pentagon agency under DoD’s Research & Engineering office, and Director Derek Tournear has authority to make his own decisions about the data link standards SDA intends to use to connect the satellites in its National Defense Space Architecture and in downlink data to terrestrial users across the Joint Force.

Under a planned reorganization of the Space Force, the goal is to switch SDA’s status to a semi-independent body reporting for directly to Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond on Oct. 1, 2022 — as mandated by Congress — as part of his responsibility to organize, train and equip the new Guardians. But Raymond, as a service chief, does not have acquisition authority. Congress has mandated creation of a a new, independent space acquisition czar and both SDA and Space Force acquisition will be the responsibility of that person. Under the Biden administration, the Air Force is relenting on its previous antipathy to the idea of splitting air and space acquisition, but it remains yet unclear how fast or in exactly what manner that congressional mandate will be fulfilled.

Another complicated challenge will be how to make sure any new data relay/transport satellites connect with the military’s vast array of current radios, antennas, and ground stations used by other kinds of satellites — and, as importantly, links into the C2 networks already developed by the Army, Navy and Air Force. At the moment, each of the services has been fleshing out slightly different approaches to their C2 networks for implementing JADC2 — the Air Force with its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), the Army with Project Convergence and the Navy with Project Overmatch.

Source link