Where Should the Joint C4I Integration and Interoperability Activity Be Established?
The committee believes that specifying function is more important than specifying organization. Nonetheless, it notes that several organizations--both existing and proposed--have missions that overlap with the proposed joint C4I integration and interoperability activity:
- The Joint Interoperability Test Center in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, plays an important role in technical interoperability testing. Also, while the Joint Interoperability Test Center does not have a formal role for testing interoperability across systems from different services at a functional or operational level (nor does any other DOD agency or organization), its personnel in fact do provide a measure of operational support to exercises. In fact, briefings from the Joint Interoperability Test Center suggested to the committee that this organization is placing increasing emphasis on field support.
- Cross-service development activities are undertaken by the major service C4I developers (the Air Force Electronic Systems Command, the Army Communications and Electronics Command, and the Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command), the associated program executive officers and program managers, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and end users. Existing and emerging service developer capabilities include the Electronic Systems Command's Command and Control Unified Battlespace Environment, the Communication and Electronics Command's Digital Integration Laboratory, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's Integration Laboratory and Advanced Concepts site, as well as other efforts to establish a joint developer's test bed. Including service developers in an activity that provides field support would add a measure of detailed expertise that is often needed to resolve interoperability problems in the field.
- The proposed interconnection of service/agency development facilities resembles the concept of the battle laboratory "federation" associated with the recently formed Joint Battle Center but is intended to emphasize developmental phase, working level, technically based testing prior to and after formal evaluations.
- The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and
Technology and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I were tasked by the
Secretary of Defense to examine ways to achieve objectives that are, in part,
similar to the proposed joint C4I integration and interoperability activity.36 The tasking specifically requested
submission of an implementation plan to streamline the acquisition
organizations, work force, and infrastructure. Despite the general focus on
streamlining and infrastructure redirection, the section of the Secretary's
report devoted to the restructuring of research, development, testing, and
evaluation identified C4I shortfalls vis-à-vis the conduct of joint operations
and directed that a study group be formed to address responsive
A study group composed of the commanders of the three primary service C4I acquisition commands (the Air Force Electronic Systems Command, the Army Communications and Electronics Command, and the Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command) was established and, under the guidance of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, has evolved a concept for improving C4I integration and interoperability. As of this writing, the fundamental concept involves both (1) working across the acquisition/development commands and related organizations to ensure that systems are "built and tested joint" and (2) establishing tri-service acquisition/development command activities to respond to the needs and problems of the CINCs. An acquisition/development command management forum, the Joint C2 Integration and Interoperability Group, which reports to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I and has mechanisms in place to incorporate the perspectives of other stakeholders, has been established.
The committee understands that a study report and implementation plan have been submitted to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. Although the specifics are still evolving, the committee applauds this initiative and views it as potentially addressing the intent of the cross-service development component of the committee's recommendation. As of this writing it is less clear if that would satisfy the on-call, high-level field support component also included in the committee's recommendation.