Air Force Featured Stories

DAF completes Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation 5

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office conducted experiments July 8-28 integrating commercial technologies to achieve decision superiority in support of its Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation exercise, spanning all 11 combatant commands and in partnership with U.S. Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Northern Command, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security.

The Chief Architect Office’s fifth ADE combined three primary pillars toward an agile DoD decision superiority mission architecture: (1) emerging technology and concepts of operation from the Air Force and Space Force, (2) the third Global Information Dominance Experiment and (3) Pacific Iron 2021 Agile Combat Employment exercise.

The Chief Architect Office designs integrated open architectures to ensure that the department fields adaptable individual systems that integrate into an “architecture of architectures” that achieves the necessary operational effects on increasingly rapid timelines. The ADEs help move the department from design to informed implementation through a regular campaign of experimentation that brings operators side by side with technologists.

“Operating without decision superiority is like a tourist driving in New York City without GPS; you may ultimately get where you need to go, but it won’t be efficient and may not be effective,” said Preston Dunlap, Space Force and Air Force chief architect. “Our goal at Department of the Air Force Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation 5 was to move DoD towards an integrated mission architecture that achieves AI-enabled decision superiority anywhere, from combatant commands all the way down to the edge, whether in competition or conflict.”


ADE 5 integrated objectives including increased domain awareness of global actions in competition and crisis; increased information dominance through AI; increased decision superiority through developing feasible deterrence courses of action; increased global integration through rapid cross combatant command collaboration; and increased agile decision superiority through integrated, distributed, resilient communications, compute and software enabling Agile Combat Employment at the edge.

In addition to these overarching objectives, the Chief Architect Office also conducted experiments of key enabling technology: (1) applying artificial intelligence to enable decision advantage through software at the strategic, operational and tactical level in partnership with the Joint AI Center, (2) augmenting Pacific Air Forces deployed communications teams with commercial-off-the-shelf networking technologies and commercial communications pathways to boost bandwidth, stabilize connectivity and increase network resiliency, (3) pushing the flexibility of commercial and government edge computing and store capabilities to help warfighters gain access to mission applications during distributed operations, (4) enabling mobile, disrupted and distributed operations at the classified level through the use of mobile devices as computing platforms to run classified applications over commercial satellite and terrestrial cellular networks, and (5) integrating the capabilities of automated data feed translation and threat track fusion in partnership with the
Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA) through STITCHES (System-of-systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems). ADE5 also initiated the transition of STITCHES from DARPA to the Department of the Air Force.

"Operating without decision superiority is like a tourist driving in New York City without GPS; you may ultimately get where you need to go, but it won’t be efficient and may not be effective." Preston Dunlap, Space Force and Air Force chief architect


“Our partnership with forward-leaning organizations like U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, the Joint AI Center, and USDI on ADE 5 has yielded invaluable progress in designing and evaluating the technical architectures that will provide senior leaders and joint warfighters the decision advantage they both need and deserve,” Dunlap said.

The results of ADE 5 and its partnership with GIDE 3 and Pacific Iron 21 are shaping new concepts of operation and investments across a wide array of initiatives and programs – such as Commercial Satellite Integration, the next Advanced Battle Management System Capability Release, the Rocket Cargo Vanguard, and Agile Combat Employment logistics and resiliency programs – aimed to achieve integrated decision superiority and agile, distributed operations.