As the U.S. Air Force and Space Force move toward expanding their Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), the service branches are looking to brew up competition among private sector organizations of all sizes to grow ABMS capabilities, said Gen. Luke Cropsey, the Air Force’s Integrating Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications, and Battle Management.

Gen. Cropsey emphasized the “huge potential” for both small and large organizations to help advance ABMS missions during remarks at the Air & Space Warfighters in Action event hosted by Air and Space Association on July 10.

“A lot of the technologies that we’re talking about integrating are things that are being generated out of the commercial tech-base, not inside of internal department research and development,” he said. “I think what we’re trying to do is find ways of actually promoting more competition – not less competition – as we’re moving forward,” Gen. Cropsey said.

The ABMS program was created in 2019 with the aim of building the next-generation command and control (C2) system that can allow both the Air Force and the Space Force to seamlessly share data and use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to make important decisions faster.

Gen. Cropsey explained that the Air Force is continually looking to move “to a different model where [they are] rapidly, iteratively, and constantly moving capabilities incrementally forward at a rate that keeps up with where the technology is moving as a whole.”

During the July 10 discussion, Gen. Cropsey pointed to the Air Force’s recent cloud award to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the ABMS as a perfect example on how they are spreading out important aspects of the system to private industry.

“I think that’s an example where we brought in actually a very wide range of different players, both historical DoD OEMs as well as smaller companies coming out of commercial tech industry. And we brought them together in new and interesting ways,” the general said.

“There’s going to be different sets of opportunities that are moving forward,” Gen. Cropsey said, “certainly as we start building a backlog around the specific programmatic elements that that we need for filling in holes are building out the scale and capabilities in the future.”

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.