Senators seek nudges for JADC2, cybermission, hypersonics in defense bill
WASHINGTON — U.S. lawmakers are pushing for more money to support the Pentagon’s joint cross-domain command and control effort and the creation of a related headquarters in the Indo-Pacific, as well as for critical technologies, including microelectronics and hypersonics.
The provisions were included in the Senate Armed Services Committee version of the FY2023 Defense Policy Bill, according to a 30-page summary released June 16.
The legislation, billing $847 billion in revenue, recommends an additional $245 million for JADC2, the Department of Defense’s vision for unrestricted communications and rapid data sharing on land, air, sea, space and cyber.
Exactly how much was spent on JADC2 and its components – the Army’s Convergence Project, the Air Force’s Advanced Combat Management System and the Navy’s Project Overmatch – is unclear. , because the massive effort spans the classified space and is not defined by a singular line element .
This month, members of a House cyber subcommittee called for an audit of JADC2’s progress and pricing, along with updates from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. No estimate of the overall cost of JADC2 had been made as of mid-March, when the Pentagon released a public strategy for the initiative.
The Senate measure further calls for “the establishment of a joint force headquarters in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, a chain of effects, and command-and-control experimentation based on the mission” and “development of a new kill chain”.
The central hub for JADC2 would be expected by October 2024. An implementation plan would be needed beforehand, according to the bill, now directed to the Senate floor. The JADC2 cross-functional team would remain under the J-6 Joint Chiefs of Staff Director for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Cyber.
The bill also includes “significant funding increases” and reporting requirements for microelectronics, hypersonic weapons and artificial intelligence, though the summary does not match the proposed funding growth.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, said the legislation “provides critical support to our allies and partners in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region and responds to other persistent threats in the world”.
It “strengthens our offensive and defensive cyber capabilities and accelerates research and development of advanced technologies such as hypersonics and artificial intelligence that will give our forces critical advantages,” he said in a statement.
Focus on supply chain
The executive summary highlights a proposed increase of $70 million to establish a national network for microelectronics research and development activities. The bill would also direct the department to commission an independent review, led by commercial microelectronics experts, that examines options for DoD use of the technology.
The Pentagon lists microelectronics as one of four supply chain priority areas, calling the technology a key differentiator for asymmetric technological advantage over potential adversaries. Most of today’s microelectronics production, assembly, and test capacity takes place outside of the United States
The department is working to strengthen the nation’s microelectronics industrial base, including a “Microelectronic Commons” initiative that would establish a network of regional centers to develop technology and improve manufacturing processes.
Senate lawmakers included a provision in their version of the bill that would require the department to create a government-industry working group for microelectronics to serve as a source of information on areas of “mutual interest” related to research, development and manufacturing, according to the summary.
They also want to see more investment in hypersonic testing and prototyping efforts. One provision calls for a strategy to mature reusable commercial hypersonic technology and use it for rapid prototyping. Another leads a report on how the department will use “every tool available” to reduce schedule risks on hypersonic weapons programs.
The bill would also require a briefing on the department’s test facilities “to ensure the timely development and commissioning of hypersonic systems.”
Industry and DoD officials have said the availability and readiness of hypersonic test infrastructure is an impediment to the progress of these programs. In February, at a meeting convened by Austin to discuss the development of hypersonic technology, industry leaders identified shortcomings in test infrastructure as a major impediment to bringing capabilities into service in a timely manner. faster.
Cyber and more
The committee’s version of the annual policy bill would also bolster U.S. efforts to operate effectively in cyberspace and assist partners abroad.
The bill recommends an additional $44 million to support Cyber Command’s forward fighter operations and an additional $20 million for Army offensive cyber development.
The United States sent a fighter team forward into Lithuania ahead of the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine in a bid to expose malicious activity and bolster the country’s networks. The operation lasted three months, ending in May.
Over the years, the Cyber National Mission Force has conducted 28 forward fighter missions in 16 countries, including Estonia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.
Such expeditions provide a “key asymmetric advantage that our adversaries don’t have,” according to Major General Joe Hartman, commander of the Cyber National Mission Force. “We need to find our adversaries in foreign space, before they can come to America and compromise our network. And while we do that, we get to make our partners and allies safer.
The bill also seeks a $50 million increase for AI development for CYBERCOM as well as a $30 million increase for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to apply AI and autonomy. to cybersecurity and other digital challenges.
Other key Senate panel branding stipulations include:
- A capability fielding strategy to counter swarms of unmanned aerial systems
- Creation of a public-private partnership technology investment program to drive the development and transition of high-priority technologies
- Expanded international participation in cooperative research and development projects to include entities within the national technological industrial base as well as the European Union
- A $200 million boost for the development of 5G technology
- Unclassified plans for 5G infrastructure transition
- A $50 million increase for low-cost deployable aircraft technology
- An additional $85 million to develop, test and prototype jamming protection, electronic warfare and signature measurement technology
- A requirement for the integration of offensive and defensive electronic warfare capabilities into joint training exercises
- $15 million for security enhancements to the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Network, also known as NC3
- A requirement for a Next Generation Electromagnetic Spectrum Capability Roadmap
The timing of a full Senate debate and vote on the defense policy bill was not immediately clear.
The House Armed Services Committee is expected to finalize its version of the annual defense bill next week. A compromise could be reached by the end of the summer.
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s Space and Emerging Technologies Journalist. She previously covered the US Air Force and US Space Force for Inside Defense.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its NNSA — namely the Cold War cleanup and the development of nuclear weapons — for a South Carolina daily. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.