The challenge of the modern multi-domain (air, sea, space, land, cyber) battlespace is driving the request from military leaders for new methods and ideas from industry partners to enable, optimize and integrate new command and control (C2) operational workflows.
While these new all-domain C2 workflows will be dependent on the deployment of software-based AI and machine learning tools, it’s clear that any workflows and behaviors that can be optimized at the hardware level should be implemented to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of this software enabled C2.
Considering the physical limitations associated with traditional audio-visual (AV) and information technology (IT) architectures and legacy C2 systems, it makes sense for leadership to seek new ideas and approaches for signal management as part of the mission of enabling multi-domain operations.
Let’s describe a hypothetical incident.
An alert is initiated by an aircraft after-burner detection sensor in theatre. The intended workflow is to immediately share the latitude, longitude and timing information with other operators and analysts in the C2 process to determine the threat level. Simply sending a message without knowing that the sensor information has been assimilated into the C2 threat response process creates a potentially risky scenario. Realizing that the target may go undetected for too long necessitates a physical action by the initiating operator, which may require temporarily leaving their post to walk over and confirm the forwarded information was received and understood. In the current legacy C2 environment, this might involve handing over a piece of paper!
This not an isolated scenario!
It’s rather indicative of processes created to respond to current threats, using tools designed for threats of the past. “Stove-piped” operator stations and the inability to collaborate and share information in real time can at least partly be solved in the AV/IT hardware layer of today. To do so, a new approach is required, as typical mainstream AV and IT technologies are not designed for these types of secure C2 applications and are not efficient in delivering multiple sources of information when they are at multiple classifications.
Solving the need of information dominance at the operation desk
The need for operators and analysts to collaborate with others, and the obstacles associated with the limitations of legacy C2 systems, have motivated the implementation of next-generation AV infrastructures that enable flexible and universal operator control and collaboration in multi-level security environments.
Scalable, fiber optic KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) and VDS (video distribution system) C2 infrastructures enable operators to control multiple computers and virtual machines (and networks at multiple security classification) from their stations and collaborate with others efficiently. At the center of the system is a matrix switch accredited for use in multi-level security environments. In this model, most, if not all, computer and AV resources are housed in a secure IT rack room and are extended to the users using KVM hardware. With this capability, these resources may be pooled, shared and accessed as needed by operators with permission to do so.
Any physical operator location can take on any combination of resources depending on mission requirements at any time. True “any-to-any” switching of any source to any destination (if authorized) is available, providing frictionless data access. A separate control system, which does not reside on any mission network, is used to enable “out of band” administration of the infrastructure.
This next-generation, multi-domain C2 infrastructure saves time and money, but more importantly, it allows defense, intelligence, and security organizations to share information more quickly among teams and be more responsive to rapidly changing mission requirements, enabling instant situational awareness and driving faster, better-informed decision making.
VIDEO: OPERATING IN TODAY’S MULTI-DOMAIN ENVIRONMENT
Manage multiple classifications through a single system to achieve instant situational awareness and information superiority.
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