The opportunities and challenges cyberspace presents have changed not only the way the world operates, but also the Army, service officials said Tuesday.
Army leaders addressed the growing arena of cyberspace and the threats it presents during the “Cyber Domain and LandWarNet: Powering the Army” panel at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting.
“(Cyber) threats are real, growing, sophisticated and evolving,” said Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, commanding general for the Army Cyber Command. He led the panel, which discussed the Army’s transformation to a joint-information environment.
Collectively, the cyber threats facing the Army create a “dynamic and dangerous” environment, Hernandez said. The force has had to change the way it thinks about cyberspace to continue to guarantee versatility, agility and depth to “prevent, shape and win,” he explained.
To prevent conflict, the Army needs to deter and influence potential enemies through a modernized force ready to conduct a full range of cyberspace operations, Hernandez continued. If prevention fails, the Army needs to be ready to rapidly apply its combined arms capabilities to win.
“In cyberspace, the significant advantage will go to the side that can protect and secure critical information as well as gain and exploit advantages,” he said.
Chief Information Officer and G-6 Lt. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence agreed, stating that the current cyber operational environment is disjointed and difficult to mobilize or integrate, and the Army cannot afford to continue to operate in that environment.
The joint information environment the Army is working toward will be key in maintaining dominance in the cyber arena, Lawrence said.
It will provide the ability to deploy with little to no notice into any theater; allow installations to be used as docking stations, which will enable soldiers to take their technology and train anywhere; it will allow a modernized force from the “strategic core” to the “tactical edge” and provide a single, secure network with centralized management and decentralized execution, she said.
“We have got to able to, in any type of combat or spectrum of operations, have technology overmatch against any enemy, and getting to this environment will allow us to do that,” Lawrence said.
The G-6 is aligning LandWarNet with the joint information environment, working toward a single, secure-based, versatile environment that is ready to deploy at any time. , Lawrence said the four lines of operation the G-6 is working through are:
– building technological capacity
– improving cyber security
– providing enterprise services to the tactical edge
– enforcing network standards
“Our energy is shifting to an active defense while moving us to a joint information environment, which will strengthen our ability to operate and defend our networks,” Hernandez said.
The cyberspace environment requires quite a bit of support from throughout the Army. Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, deputy chief of staff for the G-2, was on hand to discuss Army’s intelligence role.
“(Intelligence) provides the kinds of capabilities necessary to support the mission,” Legere said, “and the kinds of capabilities that General Hernandez needs to defend the networks and, as required, to conduct full-spectrum operations on behalf of other Army commanders are quite unique. They aren’t something we have parked in motor pools.”
The community’s job is to develop an intelligence corps that has the right capabilities, and develop cyber forces that are appropriate to the mission in the cyber domain, she said.
“It is a conscious development of some of the brightest and most skilled soldiers and civilians we’ve ever attempted to create,” Legere said.
“The reality is this is a very dynamic, challenging environment that we’re in and it’s going to require a kind of agility we’ve never seen before, machine-to-machine agility — soldiers and leaders that are capable of making quick decisions and policies that are responsive,” Legere said.
Cyberspace and space are separate domains, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, SMDC, explained, but they are linked. Space enables the delivery of cyber signals, while cyberspace supports space operations through enabling payloads of systems. They both rely on the intelligence community and the joint information environment.
“They are both information-centric and information-enabled and they share network systems, and in some cases physical infrastructures. As I said, both Space and Cyber are global warfighting domains with distinctive space and cyber military activities that occur in those domains,” Formica said.
“I don’t envision a cyber war, or a space war, but rather the delivery and application of both space and cyber effects in support of joint and unified land operations,” he said.
By Jacqueline M. Hames
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