September, 23

    US Air Force prioritizing cloud-based command and control

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    NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. Air Force is prioritizing the delivery of cloud-based command-and-control networks to forces across the globe, and is preparing to follow through even under federal spending that falls short of a full budget.

    The so-called CBC2 effort is closely tied to the service’s Advanced Battle Management System, or ABMS, itself a portion of the Pentagon’s larger connect-everything-everywhere campaign now known as Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

    U.S. Northern Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command and Pacific Air Forces, the air component of Indo-Pacific Command, were slated to be the first organizations to receive the program, which melds information from hundreds of radar feeds and lets users tap into machine-fueled analysis.

    “The CBC2 plan that we have right now is one we intend to preserve, despite a slowdown with regards to getting budget when and where we need it,” Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey, the integrating program executive officer for command, control, communications and battle management, told reporters Sept. 11 on the sidelines of the Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor in Maryland.

    “It’s really about prioritization, right?” he said. “How far can you get with the dollar you have available?”

    The Air Force in January tapped Science Applications International Corporation to orchestrate CBC2 software. The deal was worth up to $112 million.

    Talk of a short-term spending bill — or even a partial government shutdown — is heating up as the last weeks of fiscal 2023 tick away. While a continuing resolution maintains the funding rates of the previous year’s appropriations and ducks a full-blown stoppage, it also jeopardizes the start of new projects.

    Members of the House are expected in the coming days to vote on an $826 billion Defense Department budget for fiscal 2024. The White House has threatened to veto the measure, should it get that far, Defense News reported.

    Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall on Monday said the service could endure a short-term continuing resolution, as it has in the past. But, he warned, a longer freeze could cause problems.

    “Do not shut down the government in three weeks,” Kendall said. “Many of us have been through shutdowns. They are extremely damaging to our readiness, retention and morale.”

    Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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