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This article was originally published in 2020. 

The United States Air Force has selected a robust core industry team to support the development of its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) program for future joint all-domain operations, with World Wide Technology being among the key technology innovators and defense contractors involved.

World Wide Technology is one of the 28 contracted vendors selected to compete for future awarded contracts specific to ABMS tech development that could be worth as much as $950 million in available funding over the next 5 years. The ABMS Program aims to overhaul the military's command-and-control infrastructure so that any platform can instantly and seamlessly share data with another weapon system on the battlefield. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts allow for the vendors to compete for individual task orders through May 28, 2025.

The contracts cover the maturation, demonstration, and proliferation of capability across platforms and domains, leveraging open systems design, modern software, and algorithm development to enable Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). The contract is part of a multiple award multi-level security effort to provide development and operation of systems as a unified force across all domains, including air, land, sea, space, cyber, and electromagnetic spectrum in an open architecture family of systems that enables capabilities via multiple integrated platforms.

The goal is an internet-of-things approach that will allow, for example, a drone to pick up information on an enemy and share and process that information to people in the field so they can make immediate decisions. The focus is on sensor integration and creating an overarching Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform.

Background on ABMS

The ABMS program was born out of the termination of the E-8C Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft. The Air Force was previously planning to replace its existing Boeing 707-based E-8Cs with a fleet of 17 manned ISR aircraft based on a business jet platform. However, the Air Force became concerned about the survivability of a centralized battle management platform and shifted to the distributed system-of-systems approach utilizing a mix of assets, like satellites and manned and unmanned aircraft.

Developing an enterprise architecture

WWT will assist the Air Force with Digital Architecture, Standards and Concepts, by applying our Practical Enterprise Architecture (EA) offering, encompassing Strategy, Planning, and Delivery. In this era of digital disruption, EA must become the connective tissue between mission and IT organizations, playing a central role in influencing decision-making.

A comprehensive EA and digital strategy should be at the core of ABMS's digital transformation. To help create a long-term strategy, WWT will help in formulating a detailed assessment of the current EA maturity, as well as a discussion around the long-term needs of the enterprise and digital strategy. The best approach is to begin with an evaluation of the preparedness of ABMS to consume the capabilities currently being deployed as part of their digital transformation initiatives.

WWT is well-positioned to analyze, mature, and document the foundational aspects of the development of the overall enterprise architecture. This includes digital modeling, simulation and analysis, trade studies, government owned standard development and maintenance, and potential concept development and refinement, as well as development of a digital engineering architecture.

Development of sensor integration

The ABMS program also focuses on the development, maturation, integration, demonstration, and proliferation of sensor hardware and software. A key interest of ABMS is the compatibility and interoperability capabilities using open interfaces to enable improved control of systems and the processing of their data.

WWT also possesses significant experience integration of sensor technology. For example, WWT's Mobile Field Kit (MFK) is a multi-sensor platform used to secure any perimeter quickly and thoroughly from a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) threat. The MFK is ideal for use in complex and fast-moving situations to acquire, store, assess and share information with tactical teams and across organizational boundaries. This vendor-agnostic threat-monitoring system provides a single view—or common operational picture-- of an area using up to 50 sensors from numerous vendors in a wide range of situations, from military operations to natural disaster sites and national sporting events. 

Overall, the ABMS IDIQ provides an avenue for WWT to increase our service offerings to our DoD customers. WWT's general service and solution offerings that are applicable to this requirement are Automation and Orchestration, Carrier Networking, Data Center, Digital Strategy, Digital Workspace, Multi-cloud Architecture, Security Transformation and Advanced Technology Center (ATC) Lab Services. 

The Air Force is expected to increase ABMS funding to $302 million thru Fiscal Year 2021 and $3.3 billion thru Fiscal Year 2025, to connect assets and adopt advances in data-sharing, autonomy, and artificial intelligence.