2023 will see the Navy deploying its high-tech and super-secretive Project Overmatch capability aboard a carrier strike group for the first time.

Few details are known about the program, which began in 2020 and is the Navy’s contribution to the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort, an initiative that seeks to reliably connect forces across land, air, sea, space and cyberspace.

Leaders have framed it as one of the Navy’s most important missions in 2023, one made doubly vital by a parallel drive to incorporate more drones in the fleet that can serve as intelligence-collecting nodes, feeding vital information to ships and ashore command centers.

While the Navy has not identified the specific technologies or software involved in next year’s expected CSG demonstration, Rear Adm. Doug Small, who leads Project Overmatch and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, told sister publication Defense News that the event will be the “starting gun” of the effort.

Small said that after the first CSG deployment, the plan is to install the required hardware and software on all 11 carrier strike groups, Defense News reported.

The Navy sought $195 million for Project Overmatch in fiscal 2023, a big bump up from the $73 million it received the year before.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday has called Project Overmatch his second-highest priority after fielding the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.

“Fundamentally, this is all about management of data, exchange of data,” said David Deptula, the dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and a retired Air Force lieutenant general, at a Nov. 14 JADC2 industry event. “Without the appropriate infrastructure, you can’t be able to do the data, connectivity or networking. Without the security, all of it falls apart because you’re yielding a huge weakness and vulnerability to our adversary.”

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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