WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army said it verified that military services and international forces participating in Project Convergence this year can exchange information and connect over long distances, a critical milestone ahead of the capstone experiment this fall.
The Army on June 3 said a communications exercise known as COMMEX 1B was a success, replicating and informing the scale and scenarios of Project Convergence in far-flung laboratory and field settings.
The testing included more than 50 technologies, according to the Army, and stretched from the Combined Joint Systems Integration Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and Fort Bliss in Texas to the U.K. and Australia. Lt. Col. Nate Saul, a Project Convergence planner, in a statement described the testing as “the most distributed COMMEX we’ve done yet.”
This year’s Project Convergence, often referred to as PC 22, will be the first to actively involve international partners; the U.K. and Australia will participate in the grand experiment, while Canada and others observe. Project Convergence is the Army’s contribution to Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, the yet-to-be achieved ability of seamless information sharing regardless of service or national affiliation.
“The fourth industrial revolution is changing the nature of warfare, and it will become really well connected, with data flowing across all the different functions,” Brigadier Stefan Crossfield, the British Army’s chief data officer and head of information exploitation, said in a statement. “If we can build up a pervasive network that we can use to fight with, then it opens up all other opportunities. It’s challenging technically, that’s for sure, and this is an example of how we go after that.”
The annual Project Convergence kicked off in 2020 at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. It has expanded each year, putting cutting-edge tech to the test and folding in new players. PC 22 will focus on the Indo-Pacific and European theaters, aligning with U.S. perceptions of complex Chinese and Russian threats. Russia began massing materiel on its border with Ukraine as the previous Project Convergence, PC 21, wrapped.
Officials expect PC 22 to generate actionable insights and guidance. Upgrading networks and expanding the reach and resilience of communication is one of six modernization priorities established by Army leadership.
Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey, the director of Army Future Command’s Network Cross-Functional Team, last month said plenty of lessons will be learned, especially when it comes to sharing data with joint and coalition partners.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.