DROP ZONE: The Combat Cloud and Multinational Partnerships

The US military today fights as a member of a coalition, requiring coordination with a wide range of partners. Given the re-emergent threats posed by peer adversaries and the disparate threats by violent extremist organizations, these coalition allies are not always the historical NATO or five-eyes sets. This diversity requires the US to develop a dynamic information-sharing system and a C2 network that can adapt to whom is participating for that specific operation.

Now, with the nascent development of the USAF Combat Cloud concept, the US has a chance to build from the ground up a truly integrated open architecture that allows for plug-and-play participants. This combat cloud is 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.”  With this overarching system of systems approach, utilizing machine learning and meta-data to appropriately classify and distribute information as well as mission direction, combat cloud ideally will provide the backbone of a new way of accomplishing coalition multi-domain command and control (MDC2).

Next week, OTH will postulate why combat cloud has to be built as a coalition system, as well as probe how this new MDC2 system may apply across the range of military operations, while protecting information security from increasingly capable cyber threats.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

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