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F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft operated by the United States Air Force "Thunderbirds" perform at the Joint Base Andrews Air Show at Joint Base Andrews. Photo: Ron Sachs / CNP / MediaPunch / IPX via AP

The Air Force is about to wrap up its 16-month-long study on coordinating cyber, air and space operations, providing a potential playbook for how the Air Force will edge out adversaries in the future, per C4ISRNET, a publication that tracks military information technology.

Why it matters: The effort is based on the idea that the speed at which information travels — and therefore the speed of war — will dramatically increase by 2030. The Air Force needs to be able to respond more quickly to increasingly complex cyber threats, so it is trying to ramp up its ability to combine different operational systems' data in order to make decisions in real time.

Why it's needed: "If you can get to that data at speed faster than the other guy, you have an edge on the battlefield," Todd Probert, vice president of Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon, tells Axios. "Systems have grown up in silos," Probert said, and that just won't cut it anymore.

Multi-domain warfare: The Air Force has been "wargaming" by coordinating military cyber capabilities and operations to accelerate military air campaigns.

  • Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been involved in the wargaming preparations. Raytheon built a wargame modeling scenario to merge missiles and other kinetic systems with cyber and electronic warfare effects into one simulation, "and we can use that to run literally thousands of different scenarios," Probert told Axios.
  • Machine learning could help identify targets on a radar map that would normally take a well-trained operator minutes to find, freeing them up for other duties, a capability LockHeed Martin is developing.
  • The Air Force is working to build out multi-domain command and control (MDC2) to get Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College personnel to work out kinks. The force is also establishing a DevOps center to keep up with all the latest in software and technology acquisition.
  • Eventually the Air Force hopes to build out a workforce of officers to solidify this level of knowledge of coordinated C2 at a career level.
  • "The pace in change is literally faster than anything I've seen in my career," Probert said.

Moving forward: Multi-domain operations will need to decide which command takes charge in certain operations, so that air, cyber, and space officers won't slow each other down. It's likely going to take several years for the transition to take place.

What's next: The Air Force will present its findings to senior leaders on Monday, according to Brig. Gen. Chance Saltzman, who is leading the project.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”