WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy wants to more than double its spending on Project Overmatch, a classified initiative to improve the service’s networking and data capabilities.
The Navy is seeking $195 million for the effort in fiscal year 2023, a 167% increase over the $73 million the service received for the effort in fiscal 2022.
Project Overmatch is the Navy’s implementation of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a Department of Defense-wide effort to connect sensors and shooters across the services and generally improve networking and data capabilities. Although the Joint Staff has worked to establish a strategy for JADC2 implementation, the services have largely been tasked with developing their own approaches. In addition to the Navy’s Project Overmatch, the Army is pursuing its Project Convergence and the Air Force is advancing its Advanced Battle Management Systems.
Project Overmatch is the most secretive of the three major JADC2 efforts by far. Details on Project Overmatch development have been scant, with spending classified by the Navy. While Army and Air Force officials have invited reporters to JADC2 demonstrations and documented spending in budget requests, Navy officials have been tight-lipped about their efforts.
“We’ve been very deliberate about keeping a low profile and not a huge internet presence on ‘here’s all your facts on Project Overmatch,’” said Rear Adm. Doug Small, commander of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command at the WEST 2022 conference earlier this year.
Small insisted the Navy is making progress, even though there aren’t public milestones and spending to help keep the program accountable.
“We have been working at a fever pitch to deliver on those goals, and I won’t go into any of the specifics on those things, but in general what we’re doing is bringing the best of world-class commercial technologies, how the best companies in the world deliver capability to their users, and we’re just bringing that into the Navy and doing it at speed and scale,” added Small.
While the release of a top line budget for Project Overmatch offers a new level of insight into spending on the effort, the Navy didn’t offer any context on the year-over-year increase in the fiscal 2023 budget request. The Navy did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
Part of the increase could reflect the Navy’s decision to shift network and IT authorities to Project Overmatch in 2021. That move was part of the Navy’s effort to unify its network modernization efforts under a single office. For fiscal 2022, the Navy asked for $1.2 billion for enterprise networks.
The Navy’s budget overview shows boosted funding requests for a number of information warfare efforts related to Project Overmatch capabilities. The service is seeking $1 billion for cybersecurity, a 26% increase over what it received for fiscal 2022; $651 million for satellite communications, a 17% increase; and $610 million for command and control systems, a 5% increase.
Nathan Strout was the staff editor at C4ISRNET, where he covered the intelligence community.