While the U.S. Air Force has taken positive steps to develop the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), it has yet to deliver or identify any capabilities of the system, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The ABMS is the Air Force’s contribution to the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept, which seeks to connect sensors and shooters and provide battlefield commanders with accurate information to make faster and better decisions.
ABMS is a secure communications network that allows commanders and warfighters to share meaningful data from the field faster.
In an April 2020 report, GAO said the Air Force “must develop acquisition and planning documents” for ABMS. Since that 2020 report, the Air Force has “taken steps to do so and has defined two ABMS efforts,” the new GAO report says.
The first effort – Capability Release 1 – intends to enable F-35 data connectivity with command and control centers. The Air Force plans to deliver prototypes in 2024.
The second effort – cloud-based command and control – will integrate several air defense data sources to support homeland defense. The Air Force plans to deliver initial capabilities in 2023, but it’s still identifying what those capabilities are, GAO said.
In June 2022, the Air Force established a consortium of companies to assist in developing requirements for the ABMS Digital Infrastructure – a network to enable ABMS efforts. Then in September 2022, the Air Force established a new leadership structure for ABMS.
While GAO acknowledged that the Air Force has taken “positive steps toward developing ABMS,” it said “the Air Force has not delivered any capabilities to date and is in the process of identifying future capabilities and when they will be delivered.”
GAO recommended that the Air Force continue to do more to develop a plan to mature technologies, develop a cost estimate, and conduct an affordability analysis for ABMS. The Department of Defense concurred with the recommendation.