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News   Reform

Indo-Pacom Deputy Commander Discusses Joint All-Domain Command, Control

July 12, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The importance of command and control, the fragility of long lines of contested logistics and communication, assessing risk and taking risks and knowing when and where to project power are still as relevant and important today as they were during World War II in the Indo-Pacific region, the deputy commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Minihan spoke today about the Joint All-Domain Command and Control at the National Defense Industrial Association.

A woman dressed in a military uniform operates a radio.
Radio Connection
Army Spc. Brooke Hendricks establishes a radio connection at Camp Casey, South Korea, June 3, 2021.
Photo By: Army Spc. Samuel Kim
VIRIN: 210603-A-NX575-0006
Three Marines work on laptops as one looks on.
Networking Plans
Marines discuss their network hacking plans during Cyber Yankee 21, Camp Edwards, Mass., June 14, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Mitchell Collyer
VIRIN: 210614-M-ZS893-0005M

Today, the number one potential adversary in the region is China, followed by Russia, North Korea and extremist organizations, he said.

China is closely watching as the Defense Department develops its JADC2 system and Beijing undoubtedly will be working hard to try and emulate that system as they learn how important it will be in connecting networks and sensors in all domains with shooters, he said.

The autocracy of the Chinese Communist Party gives them the ability to move quickly forward on a JADC2-like system without the scrutiny that a democratic American system requires such as congressional oversight, he said. 

On the other hand, their system is fraught with risk since autocracies have "single mind think," he said, meaning the researchers and developers follow orders without question, which could inhibit creativity and initiative in their design.

Close up of hand putting plug into radio.
Radio Plug
Joint terminal attack controllers from the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, control aircraft during Exercise Bold Quest 20.2 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Oct. 24, 2020. Led by the Joint Staff, Bold Quest is a multinational exercise that demonstrates a joint capability to link sensors to shooters across air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester
VIRIN: 201024-F-PD075-0010

That said, combining a Chinese JADC2-like system with their home turf advantage would be a real challenge for regional security in the future, he said.

Fortunately, DOD leadership, combatant commanders and members of Congress understand the threat from China and the importance of investing in JADC2, Minihan said, noting that with that in mind, he thinks the U.S. will retain its competitive advantage in that area.

There are a number of experiments and exercises taking place that are moving JADC2 forward at a good pace but there's much more work to be done, he mentioned.

The general said that another advantage the U.S. has is a second-to-none industrial base workforce. "That's our asymmetrical advantage. You know, our industry is second to none."

Soldiers work on laptops.
Network Setup
Soldiers with 11th Signal Brigade, from Fort Hood, Texas, set up a scalable network node for Forager 21 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 11, 2021.
Photo By: Army Pfc. Richard Mohr
VIRIN: 210711-A-FC919-0003

Minihan also stressed the importance of allies and partners in the region. "Partners and allies want to know that we're in it for the right reasons and that we're going to win."

Deterrence, meaning avoiding war through strength, is attained through seamless interoperability with partners and allies, as well as within the joint force, he said.

"But should we get to a fight, we want to win and we want to win quickly," he added.