To preserve our competitive edge in future conflicts, we must invest now in the tools we need to execute Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control operations.

Over the last three decades, we enjoyed an advantage over our adversaries thanks to our warfighters and the command and control systems they use to deliver land, sea, air, and space power around the world. However, this edge is now in jeopardy because our stove-piped C2 systems are falling behind the times, and our competitors are investing in new technologies to challenges us.

Today, we are taking steps to maintain a competitive advantage, working with joint, coalition, and industry partners to develop CJADC2 capabilities that converge effects across all domains. Simply put, the goal is to equip the warfighter with modern tools that connect all mission partners, share actionable information, and enable the coalition team to make decisions and respond to crises ahead of our competitors.

In U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, we are expanding our capacity to compete with adversaries by accelerating decision-making within the targeting process. The plan is to speed up the “kill-chain” by improving the tools we use to Find, Fix, Track, and Target threats. More specifically, we are pursuing new capabilities to automate processes, fuse data from disparate sources, and share information with shooters using machine-to-machine communication. These improvements represent the first steps in a broader effort to deliver resilient and responsive CJADC2 capabilities to the warfighter.

A key element of our strategy is bringing together operators and capability developers in a series of exercises and technology demonstrations, building a shared understanding of challenges and potential solutions. The next opportunity to test this concept is in February, when our team will lead the first U.S. European Command CJADC2 demonstration. The demo will include coalition and joint forces working together in realistic targeting and base defense scenarios, replicating the threats they will face in future conflicts.

We are leveraging the CJADC2 demo to integrate tools developed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office and our defense industry partners. We will also inform development efforts for the Advanced Battle Management System, the Air Force’s future digital network environment. Additionally, we are including mature and nascent capabilities in the same demonstration to prioritize the tools we need to compete and win today.

Most importantly, the CJADC2 demo allows our airmen, sailors, soldiers, Marines, and guardians the opportunity to employ new tools while building the muscle-memory to operate in contested environments. This approach will arm capability developers with first-hand knowledge of our challenges and give warfighters a voice in developing timely and relevant solutions.

Ultimately, investing in these efforts today will advance our ability to operate across all domains at speed — accelerating the “kill chain” and preserving our decision advantage.

Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian is the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa; Commander, Allied Air Command, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Kalkar, Germany.

Editor’s note: This is an op-ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com.

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