Data sharing is critical for JADC2, but reciprocity is hard to enforce


Defense leaders can agree that mastering data analysis and sharing is critical for national security. But it's going to take more than a new policy to achieve the Defense Department's ultimate goal of connecting every sensor and shooter through Joint All Domain Command and Control.

Brig. Gen. Charles "Rob" Parker, the deputy director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber Systems, J-6, Joint Staff, said policy is a continual challenge, especially when it comes to moving data through various security levels, platforms and across the military services.

"We have policies in place that allow the data sharing in many areas but the respective organizational cultures that are out there, there's a lack of reciprocity. That reciprocity is really something we're going to focus on now," Parker said June 16 during a virtual Space Force panel discussion for AFCEA DC.

"We need to learn and focus to get beyond that and accept both industry standards and testing that has already been accomplished in many areas but also amongst our services."

Parker said getting feedback from forces and combatant commands was crucial "as they stumble across areas where either current policy is outdated and is preventing that advancement that we need."

That could mean adjusting existing policies to be "good enough for now" or creating brand new ones that "enable us to build out this JADC2 framework for this global integration that's necessary -- and that certainly extends to space," Parker said.

"We're going to look at the policy, make sure it's right but it's also going to have to come with some sort of enforcement mechanism or we're never going to be able to get moving ahead."

Parker's comments come as the Defense Department moves forward with implementing its first enterprise data strategy issued in October. That document laid out a blueprint for the data commandments released in May that target policy changes and gaps in data capabilities.

But for Reb Butler III, the strategic advisor to Space Force in the Chief Technology and Innovation Office, policy may need to be tailored for space, a domain in which missions are conducted primarily through machine-to-machine data sharing.

"We get enamored with the way we approach the methods, trying to be too specific on solving specific problems that we built policies for.... What we'd like policy to do is set standards that give us the flexibility to achieve the desired end state without telling us exactly how do that desired end state," he 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.


  • Workforce
    White House rainbow light shutterstock ID : 1130423963 By zhephotography

    White House rolls out DEIA strategy

    On Tuesday, the Biden administration issued agencies a roadmap to guide their efforts to develop strategic plans for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), as required under a as required under a June executive order.

  • Defense
    software (whiteMocca/

    Why DOD is so bad at buying software

    The Defense Department wants to acquire emerging technology faster and more efficiently. But will its latest attempts to streamline its processes be enough?

Stay Connected