Last month in San Diego, CA, Defense Strategies Institute held its 3rd Annual Joint Tactical Networks Summit, bringing together leaders in the defense community to examine the technologies and strategies around advanced joint multi-domain operations. This group of individuals is laser-focused on improving tactical network security and interoperability, bringing the best possible communication options to the table for our warfighters.
To learn more about what happened on the ground at the Joint Tactical Networks Summit this year, we spoke with Dan Moore, Principal Account Manager for Mission Systems at Collins Aerospace. Moore explained some of the key themes discussed at this year’s show and how industry is rising to the many challenges the defense community faces when it comes to joint tactical networks. Here’s what he had to say in our conversation.
The Modern Battlespace (TMB) Editors: What were the key themes or hot topics discussed at the Joint Tactical Networks Summit last month?
Dan Moore: There were a few very important areas discussed at the show this year that pointed towards progress. Some included improving, protecting, and modernizing tactical networks across the battlespace and ensuring network interoperability as networks mature in different regions across the DoD and with our allies.
The Joint Tactical Networking Center’s (JTNC) development of a Marketplace vendor equipment, collaboration communities and a searchable database was also discussed on-site. This will be for vendors to offer communications technology to be characterized against existing systems for interoperability and purchased for use by the JTNC and other agencies. The JTNC will keep a database of this tech for military procurement officials to search/parse as well as limited access for industry (systems integrators) to search. The JTNC is working with PdM waveforms for hosting collaboration activities.
The JTNC is also developing an application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) based modular radio architecture to be used for interoperability testing and common software baselining that will support military and commercial waveforms.
TMB Editors: What are some of the predominant challenges the defense community is facing?
Moore: A few of the key challenges the defense community has to keep top of mind include:
- The lack of bandwidth to “the last mile” of deployed forces.
- The fact that aging networks are barely functional due to obsolete designs and parts.
- Networks are constantly modernizing, and it can take years for fielding units to update. Electronic warfare and cyber threats are almost always ahead of the fielded equipment, so many of those updates are just not rapid enough.
- Multidomain operations normally face a mix of modernization, interoperability, and funding challenges.
TMB Editors: How are industry leaders addressing those challenges?
Moore: The adoption of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions are definitely on the rise to meet funding and fielding challenges. These solutions often tackle glaring pain points at a more rapid pace while also being more cost-effective. Industry leaders are also developing more innovative ways to protect data networks that are being approved by the NSA. Industry continues to advance with government sponsored and private funding and development.
TMB Editors: Were there any key points or messages that supported your business group or area? If so, what were they and how does it fit into the Collins Aerospace offerings?
Moore: Collins Aerospace’s ARC-210 was mentioned as being a radio standard for several DoD forces across airborne and surface platforms and leading the way for interoperability among military branches. As you’ve heard in my previous responses, interoperability remains one of the top priorities and challenges for the defense community.