DOD to embed data experts within combatant commands

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks says data experts will be sent to each command to help improve data tech and polices.
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason France, U.S. Transportation Command senior enlisted leader, is briefed on the challenges of controlling aircraft and TRANSCOM sorties in and out of Travis Air Force Base’s airspace by Chief Master Sgt. David Iglesias, 60th Operations Support Squadron Chief Controller, RAPCON, Feb. 8, 2019, in the control tower at Travis Air Force Base, California. USTRANSCOM is a unified, functional combatant command which provides support to the nine other U.S. combatant commands, the military services, defense agencies and other government organizations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Traci Keller)

The Department of Defense is launching a new Artificial Intelligence and Data Accelerator initiative (AIDA) that will embed teams of data experts within combatant commands, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said Tuesday.

Under the scheme, two types of teams will be embedded: operational data teams, which are focused on creating new tools and policies, and “flyaway teams” that are parachuted in to assist on specific problem sets.

The initiative is part of the DOD’s work to implement its Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, which outlines a vision in which a military internet of things and data become central to the theater of war.

Hicks said the new data teams will bring “top tier talent and technology” to modernize the data and IT infrastructure combatant commands rely on and the policies that dictate data usage. They will start with a 90-day window to make improvements.


Artificial intelligence is to be used to sift through the large amounts of data being generated as part of the JADC2 strategy. AI systems in command centers will have the power to communicate directly with each other.

The strategy for how JADC2 could modernize military operations was signed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in May, giving the department the approval to move ahead on new initiatives like AIDA.

The technology that is intended to drive JADC2 has largely yet to materialize. That’s one of the problems the new operational and flyaway teams will work on, building out the data platforms and AI infrastructure that will form the basis of the strategy.

Jackson Barnett

Written by Jackson Barnett

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