Air Power C3 Modernization Czar: ‘We’re Deploying Functionality Beginning Now’

After years of planning, experiments, and dialogue, the Division of the Air Power is able to begin modernizing its command, management, and communications capabilities now, the highest common overseeing the hassle mentioned Sept. 11. 

“The modernization of [C3] isn’t tomorrow, it’s right now,” Brig. Gen. Luke C.G. Cropsey, integrating program government officer for command, management, communications, and battle networks, instructed reporters at AFA’s Air, House & Cyber Convention. “We’re deploying functionality beginning now. It can clearly proceed to occur sooner or later. However this isn’t one thing that’s 5 years away. That is right now. So we’re placing functionality out within the subject.” 

Cropsey’s declaration comes two years after Air Power Secretary Frank Kendall first expressed concern that the Superior Battle Administration System, the division’s formidable plan to attach sensors and shooters throughout the globe, was not centered sufficient on deploying operationally related capabilities.

Particularly, Cropsey mentioned his staff is ready to declare preliminary operational functionality for its May-Primarily based Command and Management (CBC2) community for U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Protection Command subsequent month. CBC2 will mixture and combine army and business air protection knowledge sources into one widespread image to assist homeland protection. 

Cropsey additionally mentioned that earlier than the top of the yr, the Air Power will begin fielding a brand new digital infrastructure wanted to assist new system architectures his staff has been serving to to develop for months. 


CBC2 was beforehand known as Functionality Launch 2, meant to be the second deliverable product of ABMS. Within the works beginning in 2021, the system formally grew to become a program in Might 2022. 

In line with an Air Power launch, CBC2 fuses knowledge from 750 radar feeds right into a single interface and permits operators to create “machine-generated programs of motion to assist shorten the tactical C2 kill chain and ship a desired impact by way of machine-to-machine connections.” 

The system is changing the Battle Management System-Fastened community and integrating knowledge from different air and missile warning and missile protection methods. However relatively than trying to construct one huge functionality, Cropsey mentioned his staff selected to “skinny slice” it. 

“We didn’t do an total CBC2 contract and hand it off to anyone that type of did all the everyday integration sorts of issues,” Cropsey mentioned. “We really went on to the specialists of their respective layer of the stack, and we mentioned, ‘Hey, who’s one of the best at ‘fill within the clean’ and we went and we obtained them on contract.” 

One of many largest contracts went to SAIC, which obtained $112 million because the software program integrator for the system, “however we’ve obtained plenty of contracts all working collectively on that CBC2 piece,” Cropsey famous. 

The Air Power has referred to the varied capabilities from these contracts as “microservice purposes,” with an emphasis on repeatedly releasing updates.

That course of, known as agile improvement, safety, and operations or DevSecOps within the software program world, is one the Pentagon writ giant has struggled to undertake, however Cropsey mentioned his staff and U.S. Northern Command are devoted to creating it work. 

“The [combatant command] ponied as much as giving us operational folks, so for each microservice that we’re producing within the CBC2 structure, now we have actually a devoted operational individual with that staff that’s producing that microservice,” Cropsey mentioned. “So we’re really producing the type of person and improvement cycle that an agile course of really requires. Which may be the only largest cause why CBC2 is transferring in addition to it’s transferring.” 

On condition that success, Cropsey mentioned he’s already began excited about find out how to scale and implement CBC2 in different combatant instructions and areas of the world. 

Digital Infrastructure 

For a lot of fiscal 2023, Cropsey mentioned, his workplace has labored on the architectures essential to allow modernized command and management—the connections and organizations wanted for the Air Power’s formidable plan to attach sensors and shooters across the globe. Main that effort has been Dr. Bryan Tipton, C3BM chief of structure and engineering.

In current months, Tipton and his staff have delivered analyses to the Secretary of the Air Power on the architectures wanted in air and area for modernized C2. The contents of these analyses are labeled, Cropsey mentioned, however a key underlying ingredient is the digital infrastructure—the computing energy, packages, and course of essential to make the structure work. 

“No matter the place you’re going to struggle, what you need to talk, the information and the data that that you must movement by means of that system, when you don’t have a digital infrastructure to do it on, it’s a pipe dream,” Cropsey mentioned. 

The Air Power’s IT methods and computing energy are sometimes a supply of frustration for the common Airman, however Cropsey projected optimism that the “DAF Battle Community” could have what it wants. 

“We’re going to begin placing digital infrastructure out into the sphere this yr,” mentioned Cropsey. “So, tremendous enthusiastic about that. It’s essentially an enabler of something that you just need to really do from a C2 perspective.”