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NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Lead the 3rd Global Information Dominance Experiment

The third in a series of Global Information Dominance Experiments (GIDE) took place July 8-15, 2021, and was designed to enable cross-Combatant Command collaboration to generate globally integrated effects using artificial intelligence (AI) enabled information.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), in collaboration with all eleven U.S. combatant commands, have executed the third in a series of Global Information Dominance Experiments (GIDE), in partnership with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security’s Project Maven and with significant funding and manpower support from the Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office.

These experiments use technology that is available today to enable decision makers to have relevant information sooner, thus creating decision space for senior leaders by providing proactive options. The series of GIDE events are technology risk reduction experiments that complement a shift in focus from pure defeat mechanisms toward earlier deter and deny actions well left of conflict, consistent with the Department of Defense’s prioritization of integrated deterrence.  

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently said, “Integrated deterrence is about using the right mix of technology, operational concepts, and capabilities—all woven together in a networked way that is so credible, flexible, and formidable that it will give any adversary pause.”

The Global Information Dominance Experiment 3, or GIDE 3, was executed in three synchronized but distinct stages. Stage one focused on cost-effective data solutions to increase decision space through earlier indications and warnings (I&W). Stage two evaluated the ability to respond to contested logistics and demonstrated global collaboration to rapidly create deterrence options and dynamic contested logistics planning. The final stage, stage three, demonstrated the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s Matchmaker capability for machine-enabled crisis deterrence and conflict defense options. This was tied to live representative threats and real-world assets allowing the participating organizations opportunities to exercise global integration.

“The GIDE 3 experiment showcased how the software tools designed for cross-combatant command collaboration, assessment, and decision-making can be used to enable more effective global logistics coordination, intelligence sharing and operations planning,” said Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander, NORAD and NORTHCOM. “By integrating more information from a global network of sensors and sources, using the power of AI and machine-learning techniques to identify the important trends within the data, and making both current and predictive information available to commanders, NORAD and USNORTHCOM are giving leaders around the globe more time to make decisions and choose the best options available, whether in competition, crisis or conflict.”

The first GIDE was held in December 2020. During that experiment, NORAD and USNORTHCOM, in coordination with U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Strategic Command, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security-convened a digital table-top exercise to prototype cross-combatant command collaboration using AI-enabled early warning alerts of peer-level threat movements.

GIDE Two (GIDE 2) was held in March 2021. GIDE 2 expanded participation to include all combatant commands and the JAIC. The goals of the experiment were to gain a common understanding and picture of the threat for each of the combatant commanders; obtain earlier indications of adversary actions through artificial intelligence and machine-learning tools; and conduct cross-combatant command coordination on response actions, thereby obtaining faster decisions and ultimately, improving deterrence. GIDE 2 incorporated “live-fly” events that provided additional input into the experiment which demonstrated not only increased global integration and cross-combatant command collaboration, it also introduced machine-enabled response options and links to live Service-level data sets.

During GIDE 3, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command received support from the Department of the Air Force Chief Architect Office who conducted ADE 5, the CAO’s fifth in a series of Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation events that examine enterprise-wide architectures and their integration while facilitating information advantage and decision making superiority technology demonstrations to inform future architecture development. CAO provided significant funding and manpower resources to execute GIDE 3, enabling a much more robust real-world construct upon which to demonstrate and evaluate baseline architectures for the Services and DoD.

“Our nearly two-year experimentation partnership with NORAD and U.S. Northern Command on three of our five events has yielded tremendous progress in designing and evaluating and the technical architectures that enable our joint warfighters,” said Preston Dunlap, the Air and Space Forces’ Chief Architect. “We’re grateful to have willing and motivated partners like NORAD and U.S. Northern Command who are eager to get after the difficult technical and command and control problem sets that we tackled in GIDE 3 and ADE 5.”

NORAD and NORTHCOM continue learning from these experiments and are working with partners to initiate planning for the next experiment in the GIDE series.

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