The cloud-based system the Air Force is co-developing with Canada to enable instantaneous combat data-sharing is just about ready for prime time, although the looming threat of a budget gap may slow its global deployment. The Drive reports:

Cloud-based command-and-control (CBC2), a pillar of the service’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), will hit initial operating capability roughly on schedule next month, Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey, integrating program officer for Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management, told The War Zone and other outlets this week at the Air, Space, and Cyber conference near Washington, D.C. It’s headed to three unspecified base locations within the first half of 2024, Cropsey said, with others to follow at “more scale” as what’s anticipated to be a five-year rollout plan gets underway. […] CBC2 is designed to replace the hardware-based Battle Control System-Fixed, which provides command-and-control for Canada and the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. Officially made a program in 2022, CBC2 is “a set of microservice applications,” according to an Air Force release, that can take in more than 750 radar feeds and deliver them to a single user interface. “The system then allows operators to create machine-generated courses of action to help shorten the tactical C2 kill chain and send a desired effect via machine-to-machine connections,” the release adds.

In addition to delivering data faster and streamlining communication, CBC2 will build in new artificial intelligence elements. A January Government Accountability Office report states that it will build upon Pathfinder, an AI-empowered prototype that ingests “data that would in the past have been … left on the cutting room floor,” as North American Aerospace Defense Command chief Gen. Glen VanHerck put it in remarks reported by C4ISRNet. A September 2020 paper (PDF) from the Canada Institute described Pathfinder as “giving new life to old sensors” for NORAD’s defense. “In a recent demonstration,” the paper stated, “The Pathfinder system was tied to Federal Aviation Administration radars, and without any modification to the radars themselves, consistently demonstrated an ability to effectively detect and track very small unmanned aircraft, previously thought to be beyond the capability of the system.”

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