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5 Ways Commercial Technology Benefits Military SATCOM and the JADC2 Vision

Commercial technology benefits military SATCOM

The overarching concept of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is that all military network systems should “talk” to each other in order to achieve a common command and control system across forces. The JADC2 effort will only be realized through the collaboration of industry and government and by leveraging mature, proven commercial SATCOM technologies. I explored this topic recently during a presentation at the Military Space USA conference, asserting that new commercial technologies and capabilities will help realize the JADC2 vision. In fact, there has been significant commercial investment – from the launch of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) HTS satellite constellations to development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models – that will benefit military SATCOM and advance the JADC2 vision.

Here are five ways DoD can employ commercial innovations for JADC2:

  1. Orchestrate diverse resources, including GEO (geostationary), LEO, and even 5G for increased resiliency. Enterprise Management and Control (EM&C) and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) concepts can actively manage multi-modem terminals (both commercial and government built, such as PTW), to create networks that rely on diverse transport types, multiple frequencies and multiple orbits.
  2. Consolidate SATCOM to improve readiness. With a simplified and streamlined SATCOM enterprise, made possible by flexible terminals that support multi-path operations and agile and responsive EM&C capabilities, commands can integrate and therefore improve situational awareness and mission management.
  3. Rapidly deploy flexible rule-based and machine learning models. Since commercial AI/ML technologies (EM&C) are already in production, defense networks can quickly apply them for smart equipment diagnostics, automatic SLA (Service Level Assurance) compliance, and network health and interference analytics.
  4. Add purpose-built security layers. Off-the-shelf commercial components can strengthen security at each layer of an Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model to support interoperability and secure access. Depending upon the defense network’s needs and purpose, options include those for classified environments, Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA), continuous monitoring threat management, roles-based controls and the ability to address data at rest and in-transit.
  5. Develop next generation 5G  tactical  networks. The Department of Defense has already begun to create private 5G networks. However, their range can be extended, capacity increased, and resiliency improved through the use of low, mid, and high (mmWave) bands and GEO/LEO satellites as well as orchestration and optimization.

When industry and government work together, the Defense Department’s stove-piped systems can be unified into a single sophisticated and intelligent global network. Then the JADC2 vision can be realized, with battlefield data operationalized to enable more confident and rapid decision-making by our nation’s warfighters.