The Backbone of JADC2: Satellite Communications for Information Age Warfare

Arlington, VA | December 15, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, The Backbone of JADC2: Satellite Communications for Information Age Warfare by Gen Kevin Chilton, USAF (Ret.) Explorer Chair for Space Warfighting Studies, and Lukas Autenried, Senior Analyst, at the Mitchell Institute Spacepower Advantage Center of Excellence.

Today, DOD’s SATCOM enterprise is at a crossroads. Current systems and architectures are simply not designed for the speed, scale, and complexity that information age, all-domain operations demand, nor are they sufficiently resilient against modern counterspace threats. At the same time, consolidation of responsibility for SATCOM under the new Space Force presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart a new path that ensures U.S. forces have the assured connectivity needed to defeat great power aggression.

Defending America’s national security interests depends on the ability of its warfighters to collect, process, and share information to make better decisions faster than its adversaries. Achieving such decision superiority requires secure communications networks that can reliably facilitate the exchange of information to enable shared situational awareness, faster and better-informed command decisions, and the integration of forces distributed across the vast expanse of the Indo-Pacific and other theaters. By leveraging maturing technologies including laser communications and new architecture designs, the Space Force could ensure the SATCOM enterprise serves as the backbone of DOD’s networks and JADC2 initiatives to enable decisive all-domain operations.

The Mitchell Institute Policy Papers is a series presenting new thinking and policy proposals to respond to the emerging security and aerospace power challenges of the 21st century. These papers are written for lawmakers and their staffs, policy professionals, business and industry, academics, journalists, and the informed public.

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