Article by Jared Serbu November 25, 2020 (federalnewsnetwork.com)
• Air Force acquisitions has confirmed that the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), also known as an “internet of military things”, is ready to move into a “steady-state demonstration-deployment phase” and start delivering real-world capabilities on existing military platforms as soon as next year.
• Will Roper, in the department of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, told reporters, “This will be something new (and) needs a new construct for how we manage and execute.” “[T]he reality of this business that we are handed a budget that we don’t make, and we have to do our best job executing it.”
• AMBS is the Air Force’s main contribution to the DoD’s broader vision of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) – born in 2008 – when the service decided not to build a replacement for the Joint Surveillance Target and Attack Radar System, an aging aircraft that tracks targets and sends that information to ground forces. Instead, the Air Force shifted to a plan to connect all of its systems through an “internet” of military platforms.
• The Air Force used the same architectural underpinnings as the AMBS system when it created new data links between F-35, F-22, AC-130 aircraft and commercial satellites last December. In September, the Air Force demonstrated new abilities to use AI and cloud technologies to track and destroy a simulated cruise missile.
• “Air Mobility Command, for example, is one of most forward-leaning commands we have…and they are ready to go put [ABMS capabilities] on mobility platforms so they can act as data relays,” said Roper. “We’ve got tankers that top you up with gas – [so] the vision of topping you up with data makes a lot of sense: You’re going to be there anyway to get fuel. And then that tanker standing off also can act as a battlefield relay and a network node. So they’ve got the right thinking.”
• “ABMS has been something we have put in front of…every program office and said, ‘you are part of this, you must figure out how to integrate with this, and we’ve made it personal for them. …[I]f someone ever walked into my office and said ABMS doesn’t have anything to do with me, that would be a long mentoring discussion that we would have.”
The Advanced Battle Management System, a future system-of-systems that the Air Force likes to think of as an “internet of military things” is likely to start delivering real-world capabilities on existing military platforms as soon as next year, the Air Force’s top acquisition official said Tuesday.
ABMS crossed a significant milestone this week when Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, signed a memo saying the construct is ready to move into a “steady-state demonstration-deployment phase” and assigning a program executive office to manage future developments.
The Department of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, Roper said, will serve as an “integrating” PEO — a recognition that since every part of the Air Force and Space Force will have a hand in building ABMS, no single PEO can tackle the entire project.
“This will be something new, and something that’s new like ABMS probably needs a new construct for how we manage and execute,” he told reporters during a virtual roundtable Tuesday. “The RCO will gain the components that do not have a natural home within the Department of the Air Force, but they will also be responsible for providing the consolidated work breakdown structure, the consolidated baselines and most importantly, making funding trades when there’s not enough funding to do everything. That is something our program executive offices are accustomed to doing, and it’s the reality of this business that we are handed a budget that we don’t make, and we have to do our best job executing it.”
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