WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force will provide the defense industry with a test model to help speed development of the service’s Advanced Battle Management System, a critical contribution to the Pentagon’s vision of a seamlessly connected military.

The model, to be released next week, will “allow us to perform repeatable experimentations against proposed solutions, defining measures of effectiveness and measures of performance, that would allow objective evaluation,” Deputy Chief Information Officer Winston Beauchamp said Sept. 15 at a DefenseScoop event in Arlington, Virginia.

The industry guidance is an outgrowth of work done by an Air Force-Space Force cross-functional team, which identified four areas for advancing the next-generation command and control concept, including “coming up with a model-based approach,” said Beauchamp, who oversees the Air Force IT portfolio.

The Advanced Battle Management System is the Air Force’s contribution to what is known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a multibillion-dollar Defense Department push to better link battlefield forces and a wealth of disparate data systems.

The interconnectedness is necessary, officials say, to stay ahead of advanced adversaries such as China and Russia.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall “declared that the period of experimentation for ABMS was over, that we’re moving into operational definition and deployment,” Beauchamp said.

“Last fall, the secretary of the Air Force laid out a series of seven operational imperatives, actions that would be necessary to pursue in order to counter threats from potential peer adversaries around the world,” he said. “ABMS is one of those operational imperatives.”

Pushing ABMS along requires more real-world successes and less experimentation, according to Kendall, who has said that spending should focus on products and services that have clear benefits.

The ever-evolving status of JADC2, Beauchamp said, will likely be measured across a few metrics, including speed, agility and resilience. Lawmakers included a review of JADC2 implementation in a draft of the annual defense bill. It has yet to become law.

“In a modern battlefield,” Beauchamp said, “the side that is able to react more quickly, respond to information in the environment and turn more quickly, it has the advantage, a decision advantage and an information advantage.”

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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