NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A U.S. Navy cybersecurity leader this week said the service has been actively working with the Air Force and, more recently, the Army to ensure data can be transferred seamlessly between parties, but declined to provide any further details about Project Overmatch.
While Rear Adm. Susan BryerJoyner said things are being handled by the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command and her colleague Rear Adm. Doug Small, she would not disclose much else about the Navy’s hush-hush contribution to Joint All-Domain Command and Control during the Sea-Air-Space conference.
“I will not share any insights as to our progress, because our goal is to not make the adversaries’ job easier,” BryerJoyner, a division director with the office of the chief of naval operations, said April 5 when asked about Project Overmatch. “And we really don’t want to focus their attention on any specific capabilities or shortfalls that we have.”
An era of renewed great power competition with the likes of China has trained the spotlight on naval supremacy and operations in the Western Pacific.
Small in a statement April 6 said NAVWAR’s “charge is to deliver on the Naval Operational Architecture that integrates with Joint All-Domain Command and Control for enhanced distributed maritime operations,” and that means working with a spectrum of entities, the services among them, “to provide the architecture, or framework, for how the various components are stitched together, including the networks, infrastructure, data architecture, tools and analytics to improve on our decision advantage.”
“Ultimately, this will aid our ability to provide synchronized effects near and far in all domains, ensuring a more lethal and better-connected fleet now and far into the future,” Small told C4ISRNET.
Joint All-Domain Command and Control — often shortened to JADC2 — is a Department of Defense-wide push to better connect disparate battlefield players and enable more-appropriate responses to threats across land, air, sea, space and cyber.
“This is about dramatically increasing the speed of information sharing and decision making in a contested environment to ensure we can quickly bring to bear all our capabilities to address specific threats,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said in mid-March, coinciding with the Pentagon’s release of a public JADC2 strategy.
The services each have their own multibillion-dollar approach, or formula, for JADC2 realization: The Air Force has the Advanced Battle Management System, the Army has Project Convergence, and the Navy has Project Overmatch.
Project Overmatch is far and away the most secretive of the bunch. Details are scarce, public remarks are skeletal, and lines of funding disappear from public view behind classified walls.
“We’ve been very deliberate about keeping a low profile and not a huge internet presence on ‘here’s all your facts on Project Overmatch,’” Small said at the WEST 2022 conference earlier this year. BryerJoyner this week reinforced the point, saying people “will not hear a lot about Project Overmatch.”
Small previously said the Navy was advancing toward its goals with the help of “world-class commercial technologies.” The Navy in 2021 shifted networks and IT authorities to an office dedicated to Project Overmatch, C4ISRNET previously reported.
The Navy is seeking $195 million for Project Overmatch in fiscal year 2023, budget documents show, more than double the enacted level from the year prior.
Exactly how much is being spent on Joint All-Domain Command and Control — and how much is actually wanted — is not clear. Its amorphous nature and its inherent reach across the services complicates things.
“There’s no funding line for JADC2, it’s not a program, right? It is decentralized,” Todd Harrison, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said April 5. He added: “I mean, honestly, trying to add up all the pieces and parts that people talk about as being part of JADC2 is a real task in and of itself.”
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 Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.