Do you drive in a vehicle that has blind-spot warning indicators, adaptive cruise control or back-up cameras? Do you wear a smart watch or use a smart phone that integrates your entertainment, scheduling, location sharing, and warns you when you’ve been exposed to loud noises that could harm your hearing? If so, then you likely understand the power of data integration and sensors in your environment working together to inform you of hazards. It is 2024 and the integration of technology and daily life is all around us. This type of “operating picture” presents you with key information to make timely and informed decisions about your health and safety and even the safety of your family or other loved ones. Our Joint Project Lead (JPL) for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Integration is working on a capability to make this type of informed decision making possible for the joint force.
Earlier this fall we introduced
the JPL for CBRN Integration’s CBRN Support to Command and Control (CSC2). More than just a decision support program, CSC2 is advancing the technology needed to enhance awareness of potential CBRN hazards into existing IT systems across the services and will equip military decision makers with the critical information they need to support the warfighter.
For a mission to be successful, warfighters and their commanders must have access to integrated critical information that allows them to make timely and sound decisions, often under pressure. Recognizing the importance of harnessing, analyzing, and sharing this data, the CSC2 program is developing software capabilities that integrate CBRN sensor data from the battlefield into existing visualization tools or “common operating pictures.” CSC2 is leveraging the Defense Department’s Software Acquisition Pathway (SWP) to rapidly develop and deliver capabilities that provide battlefield threat information to commanders. The CSC2 program is one of only a handful of Army programs on the SWP and the team is breaking new acquisition ground every day.
The difference between traditional Defense Department (DOD) acquisition for hardware and the SWP is that traditional, major DOD capability acquisition, often takes years to complete and essentially waits to field gear until after ensuring the program meets all the requirements set out for a product or capability. SWP can deliver capabilities in smaller, iterative and more frequent releases to the user, in the agile development approach and practice.
In December the CSC2 program crossed an important milestone in its development along the SWP. HON Douglas Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology and the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) conditionally approved the program’s ability to execute Capability Development Package (CDP-2), pending final approval of CDP-2.
CSC2 achieving the CDP-2 decision and approval expands on the approvals of the first, more tactical-focused, CDP milestone (CDP-1), and will develop the capability further for operational and command decision levels. This will help with visualizing the operational environment and ease of use. The CSC2 capability expands on the existing JPEO-CBRND programs including Joint Effects Model (JEM) and Joint Warning and Reporting Network (JWARN) CBRN warning and decision support capabilities.
Throughout the development process, the JPL CBRN Integration team conducts capability demonstrations and engagements with all branches of service to gather feedback from end users. This direct feedback enables the identification and mitigation of potential risks early in the development process, ensuring the services have their needs prioritized as the capability is developed. The capability’s agile-focused development allows for quick pivots and reprioritization based on user needs, priorities and feedback across the services.
The aim is to create a “NEXGEN Warning Reporting and Advanced Hazard Prediction (WRAHP)” decision support tool that is cutting edge and leverages prior JEM and JWARN requirements that are still valid. The intent of NEXGEN WRAHP is to add additional capability on a single interface that strives to make the system more user-friendly. There is a growing amount of data available to commanders and the ability to harness and make sense of this information is critical for the future fight. The CSC2 capability is also moving the services toward the DOD’s vision for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2), which is the concept that aims to connect sensors into a single architecture that communicates with all branches of service in a unified network.
The team is working with developers to add and prioritize the operational level requirements (CDP-2) amongst the previously existing tactical level requirements (CDP-1) and determine which software platforms will be used by each of the services to deliver this software in a cyber secure environment. It's no small feat to work in the space of critical software, future CBRN threat and sensors integration; there’s a backlog of needs and competing priorities.
As Army digital transformation efforts continue to advance, the CSC2 program is also pushing boundaries, helping the DOD envision the future battlespace demand for CBRN threat detection and mitigation. To that end, the JPL CBRN Integration team is working hard to tackle these challenges each day and meanwhile they are making an impact enhancing the readiness and resilience of our joint force in CBRN contested environments.