US, UK confirm new plan to cooperatively drive command-and-control advancements

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The United States and United Kingdom formally agreed to deepen collaboration to jointly advance interoperable command-and-control capabilities as the allies each strive to modernize and transform their militaries’ ability to connect their systems.

U.S. Joint Staff J6 Director Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien and Deputy Commander of the U.K. Strategic Command Lt. Gen. Tom Copinger-Symes signed the Fully Networked Command, Control, and Communications (FNC3) statement of intent on Nov. 4, the Pentagon announced Thursday in a press release.

The Defense Department called the statement of intent “a step in achieving collaborative C2 between the U.S. and the U.K.”

The move comes as the U.S. military is pursuing a Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative to more effectively connect its sensors, shooters and networks to drive better and faster decision-making across the services and with allied forces. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the U.K.’s Multi-Domain Integration Change Program (MDI CP) aims to integrate work across all domains and levels of warfare so that all of the British military’s components can operate seamlessly with one another, as well as with international partners.

FNC3 is considered a “‘pathfinder capability” that “will allow the U.S. and U.K. forces to work more effectively and efficiently,” the release said, noting that fundamentally it represents “the ‘coupling bridge’ to align [the nations’ maturing] efforts through common principles, capabilities, data, and interface standards.” 

Additionally, “the Next Generation Capability Cooperation (NGCC) bilateral agreement between the two nations outlines the steps necessary to develop a combined approach to interoperability,” per the release.

The Pentagon did not clarify by DefenseScoop’s deadline whether this NGCC bilateral agreement and the FNC3 statement of intent that the release mentions are the same document.

In recent months, senior Defense Department leaders have expressed their deep interest in ensuring that America’s military partners abroad are included on the front end of its next-generation C2 capabilities development.

“The goal is to capitalize on trusted and interoperable data at the appropriate classification and release levels to enable rapid information sharing and decision making among and between allies and mission partners,” according to Thursday’s press release.