1. Russia is in America’s crosshairs:
Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence, said the U.S. has observed Russia employ the full range of information warfare capabilities to effectively find and fix their opponents.
While traditional yardsticks of power include attack helicopters, bombers, artillery, armored vehicles and special operations forces, Fogarty said, information warfare capabilities employed by Russia include communication intelligence, electronic intelligence, collection analysis, geolocation, social media scraping, human intelligence, geospatial intelligence and social media exploitation, all of which help Russia find their targets. Russia fixes adversaries with sophisticated electronic warfare and cyberattacks without being physically on target by jamming communications to disrupt the communications so friendly forces don’t know where their other friendly assets are located to call for reinforcements or medevac.
Lastly, to finish out the operational model made famous by Joint Special Operations Command during the Iraq War, Russia finishes opponents with “long-range fires and combined arms maneuver,” Fogarty said.
Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford, commanding general of the Army’s Communications-Electronics Command, said that future irregular warfare capabilities employed by Russia are problematic. These include plausible deniability as seen with the so-called little green men phenomenon in which non-uniformed Russian special forces invaded Ukraine, allowing the central government to deny involvement.
“One of the things that’s causing some concern as you look across the intelligence community and other places is are there going to be others who are going to adopt that same plausible deniability,” he said.
Following a recent trip to Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of Army Europe, said: “We’re learning an awful lot from the environment in Ukraine, both the capabilities we’ve seen the Russians display in Crimea — electronic warfare capability at a tactical level that we absolutely don’t have.” Based upon his observations, Hodges concluded this is an area the U.S. will continue to develop.
2. Convergence of electromagnetic spectrum operations under the cyber fold:
“This year’s [TechNet] theme, cyber and the combined arms fight, highlights the significance of cyberspace operations as a form of maneuver. It recognizes the interdependency of cyber, signal, intelligence, electronic warfare, space, information operations and fires,” Fogarty said. “Ultimately, commanders recognize that dominance of cyberspace is essential to our ability to win in a very, very complex world.
“We don’t do cyber for cyber’s sake.”
3. Department of Defense Information Network operations are the most important:
“DoDIN operations are the most complex and most important operation that DoD conducts 24/7 because without effective DoDIN operations we don’t have effective mission command, we don’t have precision fires, we don’t have joint ISR, we don’t have joint logistics, we don’t have telemedicine,” Fogarty said. “All of those capabilities that we require before we send our troops into harm’s way are not available to our commanders and to our deployed forces without one foundational, fundamental operation; and that’s Department of Defense Information Network. And it’s not just the networks, it’s the data, it’s the systems and we don’t do it by ourselves.”
As U.S. adversaries have taken note of this, the DoDIN might now be viewed as a weapons platform from which to launch offensive operations.
4. Rise of software defined:
Crawford outlined how some global trends have become institutional norms. One example he provided was software defined. Although the Army is taking full advantage of radio and weapons systems, “the bad news story here is that the institution that we are a part of is a hardware based institution,” he said.
Crawford questioned why there is no software center of excellence in the Army given how important it has become.
“In an environment where there’s exponential growth in the area of software, why is it that the biggest consumer of software — it affects electronic warfare, it affects all of our weapons systems — why is it the biggest consumer of software probably across the department does not have its own software center of excellence to get at some of the challenges that we’ve got?” he wondered. “Again, it’s not a show stopper today, but it’s costing us a lot of money. We’re spending money on things that we could be using for other modernization because we don’t have a center of excellence focused on the challenge