JEDI remains key to Pentagon's JADC2 dreams

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis A. Crall.  JADC2 Data Summit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Jan. 26, 2021. DOD photo by Justin Eimers 

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis A. Crall at the JADC2 Data Summit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. in January 2021. (DOD photo by Justin Eimers)

The Defense Department has an official strategy for implementing Joint All Domain Command and Control, but it still needs an enterprise cloud capability to make it real.

"We are clearly in need of cloud to include a deployable, tactical cloud to do this type of processing and data storage on the edge," Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the Joint Staff's J6, director of command and control, communications, and computers, told reporters June 4 after announcing the signing of a DOD-wide JADC2 strategy.

"We have some key dependencies to make these things happen: cloud, network improvements, identity management would be another one," Crall said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed the strategy May 13 and the department is working on a releasable unclassified document. Implementation efforts are also underway, but the lack of tactical enterprise cloud solutions, such as the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract that is ensnared in a prolonged legal battle, could impact DOD's JADC2 efforts once it gets out of the experimentation phase.

Crall wouldn't say whether JEDI's legal issues hampered current implementation efforts of the JADC2 strategy, saying that DOD has what it needs to move forward with experimentation. However, Crall indicated that the absence of an enterprise cloud solution "would inhibit us in the future."

"Not every cloud performs the same way," Crall said, "where I sit today, I can get the work done, we need to get started. But make no mistake...the delivery of JADC2 is dependent on a robust purpose built cloud for the environment that we need to operate in."

Crall's comments come a year after similar remarks from then-director of DOD's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who said the unavailability of a JEDI-like capability had "slowed us down."

"I just need an enterprise cloud solution. If we want elastic compute [capability], if we want to make worldwide updates to all these algorithms in the space of minutes not in the space of months running around gold discs, we've got to have an enterprise cloud solution," Shanahan said.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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