WASHINGTON — U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. European Command would like a combined $124 million to improve information sharing with allies for the Pentagon’s joint war-fighting concept, according to unfunded priority lists obtained Thursday by C4ISRNET.
The two combatant commands left the funding to improve Mission Partner Environments, or MPEs, out of their fiscal 2022 budget requests, asking lawmakers to consider the program if additional dollars are available. The Pentagon pushes for its base budget requests but offers lists of extra suggestions for funding every year as lawmakers debate priorities.
Military officials have said repeatedly that the MPE collaboration platform that allows U.S. and coalition partners to share information is vital to Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the battlefield network the Pentagon believes it needs for future conflicts against China or Russia.
INDOPACOM, which would lead any war against China, asked for about $84.5 million for its MPE, if Congress can find the money. According to the list, the command wants $30.5 million for procurement and $54 million for operations and maintenance. Its MPE needs the money to “enhance” several of the environment’s areas, such as data integration and cybersecurity in order to build “interoperable intelligence and command and control information sharing throughout the theater for all U.S. and partner users.”
EUCOM’s MPE request totals $40.3 million and contains far more details. The Russia-focused command notes that the MPE is the “primary means” of coordinated joint command and control with NATO allies.
A little more than half of those funds would go to MPE infrastructure at main and forward operating bases in Europe, an effort the command wrote “lays the groundwork” for JADC2. It would expand the command’s Air Component Battle Network to support U.S. Air Forces Europe-Allied C2, which the command wrote is “foundational to JADC2 in Europe,” as well as fund support services for coalition networks. The remaining money would improve other intelligence sharing with partners, upgrade and extend networks to the tactical edge, and enhance coalition command and control across the continent.
Speaking earlier this year, Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the chief information officer/J6 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and top general leading JADC2 efforts, discussed the importance of Mission Partner Environments to developing joint command and control networks.
“It is about joint and coalition interoperability,” Crall said in March at AFCEA TechNet Indo-Pacific. “We will not fight alone, we know that. And information sharing — and information sharing at speed — is really critical for the type of fight, especially in the theater that we’re describing.”
EUCOM also notified Congress of a $55 million priority for modernizing war-fighter IT infrastructure that it said builds toward JADC2. The money it wants would fund “long-delayed” improvements in cyber and communications infrastructure. According to the request, the completed improvements would “set the stage for data-centric operational requirements of the future”: enterprise IT as a service, ISR and JADC2.
Defense News reporter Joe Gould contributed to this report.
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.