US Northern Command is using a new data collection system to track the spread of Covid-19. The Joint-All Domain Command & Control, or JADC2, is a project in its infancy designed to collect information on all aspects of military operations using artificial intelligence, data to be shared between all branches. The idea is to connect every piece of military hardware to the network.
Another aim of JADC2 is to give commanders the ability to swap out weapons in the middle of a war. Meaning, commanders will be able to simultaneously control every tool on the battlefield, making it harder for enemies to prioritize defense. For example, if a target sets up a defense for an incoming fleet of bombers, the Pentagon could see that and quickly change the plan of attack.
According to Defense One, Northcom received a briefing on April 14th that said Stamford, Connecticut was about to become a Covid-19 hotspot. The briefing used data and predictions collected by a sub-system of the JADC2, which Northcom developed with Apple, Google, Palantir, and the intelligence company ESIR. The system uses AI to make predictions based on analyzed data.
Northcom decided to trust the prediction from the experimental system and dispatched additional medical personnel to Stamford, and the city did see a significant increase in cases. General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Northcom’s commander, told reporters the JADC2 is helping Northcom “gain predictive insights on future hotspots.”
But the JADC2 was not designed to help Americans combat the spread of a virus in the homeland. The multi-billion-dollar project was created to give the US military advantage over potential adversaries, specifically Russia and China. Recent Pentagon war games found the US would likely lose a war with China fought in the Pacific. Pentagon officials believe what they call “networked warfare” might give them the edge they need over China.