The Combat Cloud: Enabling Multi-Domain Command and Control Across the Range of Military Operations
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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In March of 2016, the Air Force released an operating concept for the Combat Cloud, defined as ...an overarching meshed network for data distribution and information sharing within a battlespace, where each authorized user, platform, or node transparently contributes and receives essential information and is able to utilize it across the full range of military operations. The Combat Cloud represents the intellectual construct necessary to unify Air Force and Department of Defense efforts in pursuit of decision superiority and Multi-Domain Command and Control MDC2. To attain this however, the Combat Cloud and associated network must exhibit critical attributes such as the ability to be self-forming, self-healing, gracefully degradable and redundant. Under this construct, the ability to collect data and integrate it in an open, adaptive information system will significantly enhance C2 and operational agility for the U.S. and its allies across the range of military operations ROMO. To illustrate this, specific mission concepts across the ROMO can be seen as enhanced by the Combat Cloud. These areas include the clouds ability to improve joint fires through improved use of fire support coordination measures, its potential to enhance the close air support and personnel recovery missions, interagency coordination considerations, and considerations for employment in coalition warfighting. While the inherent advantages of the Combat Cloud are many, the challenges that surround its successful development and incorporation into modern warfare are equally numerous, including interoperability and security issues, and ensuring decentralized execution at the tactical and operational levels. Despite these challenges, the ubiquitous nature of data will not allow arbitrary lines to be drawn between domains in the future and C2 must no longer be confined by such terms.
- Command, Control and Communications Systems
- Computer Systems