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Data Summit Syncs Joint Strategy, Standards

Jan. 27, 2021 | BY JUSTIN EIMERS, PEO C3T

More than 20 one- and two-star generals, flag officers and senior executive service members from the Joint Staff, services, combatant commands, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and NATO met for a Joint All-Domain Command and Control Data Summit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The event was hosted by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis A. Crall, the director of the Joint Staff’s J-6.

The event was held to discuss the JADC2 strategy data standards, application programming interfaces, access management, and data security and infrastructure. Without standards in place and an agreement on key components of the JADC2 strategic approach, data sharing in a Joint fight will never be realized.

"Today is a stage-setting event," Crall said of the summit. "This particular meeting is about making sure that the framework is in place and that we understand who is responsible for each part of the [JADC2] strategy.

A man in uniform and wearing a mask observes a meeting.
Lt. Gen. Dennis A. Crall
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis A. Crall looks on during the JADC2 Summit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Jan 26.
Photo By: Justin Eimers, Army
VIRIN: 210126-A-HQ376-011

"We all have ideas and investments in those ideas, and it's time to pull those ideas together. If we do this right, we'll have the right decisions made up front, by the right decision-makers, and then kick those outcomes to specific capabilities that meet the needs of each service," he added.

The JADC2 strategy – a comprehensive document charting the path forward for JADC2's development – is currently being developed by the Joint Staff J-6, with input from across the Defense Department.

Sessions throughout the day homed in on specific JADC2 strategy lines of effort, priority Joint interoperability challenges, and governance. One session that focused on a "common data fabric" spawned more than an hour of discussion before participants agreed on a definition that enables the JADC2 strategic approach. Defining exactly what "data fabric" means is critical to developing the enterprise framework and executing its implementation. JADC2 is defined as the warfighting capability to sense, make sense and act at all levels and phases of war, across all domains, and with partners to deliver information advantage at the speed of relevance.

The summit brought together key stakeholders across the U.S. government's data community to continue positive momentum in shaping interservice data agreements and turning JADC2 from concept to reality.

"What we've been doing for the last six or seven months is enabling this body [of decision-makers] to have this JADC2 vision and then execute it," said David Spirk, DOD's chief data officer. "We have given [the Joint Services] the path and we're asking them to drive us to this open systems data architecture."

A civilian, seated at a table, speaks.
David Spirk
During the JADC2 Summit, Mr. David Spirk, Chief Data Officer for the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, lauded the work of the JADC2 community in coming together to achieve a common data strategy and set of standards, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Jan.26.
Photo By: Justin Eimers, Army
VIRIN: 210126-A-HQ376-042

Summit participants included additional representatives from the Joint Staff alongside the Army, Air Force, Navy, Space Force, Department of Homeland Security and NATO information and network management organizations. Together, this community is driving tangible outcomes through joint collaboration to ensure data is shared and converged seamlessly at all levels where it makes sense, both in experimental and operational environments.

"I don't think these are simple objectives but I do think they are easily attainable," said Crall. "We can no longer afford to live the way we have been living."

The next JADC2 Data Summit is slated for mid-April.

(Justin Eimers is a public affairs specialist with the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical.)