Processes May Matter More Than Technology in ABMS Creation, Generals Say

Improving the processes and culture already ingrained in battle management command and control can make a bigger difference to the success of an advanced battle management system than any new technology. Commanders who coordinate ABMS for the Air Force Division and Space Force said some new operations are already being sent to the field.

Brigadier General of the Air Force. Gene. Jeffrey de Valenzia, DAF’s Multifunctional ABMS Team Leader, and John M. Olson, Space Force Joint Command and Control Commander and ABMS Command, spoke about the vision for ABMS — DAF’s part of the broader JADC2 concept — in a live chat on June 23 with retired General David a. Deptola, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Space Studies.

The steps will include knowing how to separate leadership from control; How to collect sensor data from all platforms; and how to distribute communications, including over the satellite data transmission layer.

The militaries the United States needs to confront already benefit from slow battle management through the use of “shoot-and-go” techniques. [with which] “They can expose themselves to our involvement and disappear very quickly before we can close the killing chain” — the killing chain appears to take up to hours to close “in some cases it should be in seconds,” Valencia said.

He said, “If I’m looking to defend a force in the field, what I can’t do is create a system where the commander takes one decision after another while we’re executing. I need a controller that can simply execute. … We need to separate them, and we need to distribute them.” .

Doing so will make Battle Management C2 less vulnerable.

“Today we take the sensors, the information, the communications and the people who make those decisions, and we like to put them in a tent, or put them in a plane — and put them in unusually vulnerable positions — and then we say to them, ‘Do it best with what you have, which is in many ways,’ said Valencia. Sometimes it’s not enough.”

Olson called the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) no longer enough,” and you might even say that a traditional air operations center is no longer viable in the modern day environment. disputed.”

On the other hand, Valenzia said, “Technology has now allowed us to imagine a world where we don’t have to rely on the sensor on top of my plane anymore. In fact, I can start collecting sensor data from multiple sources. We’ve also started developing technology that can be My communications are more distributed – I can start using satellite communications. Now I don’t need to tie a straight line of sight.”

But technology made a smaller difference than expected services when they modeled the effectiveness of today’s command and control operations as if all intelligence data were available everywhere.

“We saw a one-third improvement in our kill streak,” Valenzia said, with the actual target time labeled and “much shorter than hours.” Next, modeling more stress on the C2 system with a “target reported every two minutes for 24 hours…we saw less than 10 percent improvement – actually the opposite of what we expected. We expected to see twofold improvement with the technology.”

“And what you find when doing hyper-analytics is that our process is killing us. So ABMS is looking not only at technical solutions” but also “process improvements, which force us to come to terms with some old paradigms.”

Meanwhile, the “real joint progress we are now making with our joint partners” means that DAF is “really operationalizing the reimagined battle management idea every day,” Valencia said.

However, the new digital infrastructure that forms the basis of the system of systems cannot be avoided.

Olson envisioned an approach to systems engineering in ABMS systems:

“You break down a big problem into functional parts, manageable parts, and treat it systematically. And I think that’s exactly the approach taken, but I think we’re going to speed that up to adjust the speed, if you will, on this.”

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