WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is sharing information from its secretive Project Overmatch initiative with friendly forces abroad to ensure international communication and collaboration will be possible in large-scale fights of the future.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said allies and partners with “a higher likelihood of interoperability” have been brought into the fold, while declining to name them or provide specifics.
“They are highly interested,” he said during a livestreamed Atlantic Council event Oct. 19. “It’s not lost on me the power of including them. We have to be inclusive or we’re not going to be able to fight together.”
Project Overmatch is the Navy’s contribution to joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, a Pentagon push for enhanced communications from sensor to shooter. The multibillion-dollar effort is meant to seamlessly connect forces across land, air, sea, space and cyber, enabling improved responses to aggression.
An era of great power competition with China has focused the spotlight on naval supremacy and operations across the Indo-Pacific, and a key portion of JADC2 is the so-called mission partner environment, which allows data from a range of militaries to be collated, secured, distributed and acted upon. Gilday on Wednesday said the Navy is moving forward “at a good pace with our allies and partners” and “not holding back.”
“Whatever networks that they have, that we don’t currently have a like investment in, I still think technically we can solve that problem,” he said. “That said, there’s also a cyber resiliency part of this that one can’t ignore and becomes an important piece of it. That has to be baked in to any new network that we add and we experiment with.”
The naval operations chief previously identified Project Overmatch as his No. 2 priority, behind the delivery of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. The Navy sought $195 million for Project Overmatch in fiscal 2023, a 167% increase over what the service received for the venture last year.
The Navy is planning to deploy a carrier strike group with components of Project Overmatch, such as advanced networking capabilities, next year. The upgraded information-sharing systems will be distributed to additional portions of the service if all goes well, according to Gilday.
“What we’re aiming for, and actually had a lot of success with, is developing a network of networks that allows us to transfer any data over any network,” he told the Heritage Foundation in late August. “It’s a software-defined communication as a service framework, where software actually decides what that prioritized information is and what’s the best path it should take to get to a decision maker.”
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin 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.