Army looks to thwart building cyber threats
February 26, 2009
"Battlefield events in Iraq and Afghanistan compelled the Army to rebuild an electronic warfare capability that it had allowed to slip," said Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, in conjunction with the announced rollout of the Army's newest Field Manual, FM 3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations. "We encountered a threat we were not prepared for and we must learn from this lesson to ensure that our force is agile enough to deal with future contingencies"
Using the occasion of the announcement of the Army's new Field Manual 3-36, Caldwell warned that the military services and other agencies of government should be keenly aware of the rapidly developing threat posed by technological advances in the realm of cyberspace.
"We need to take the threat of cyber attacks seriously," Caldwell said. Look at the recent attacks in Estonia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan."
Caldwell went on to say that the Army is moving rapidly to build a new cyberspace force with its own unique role while also moving resolutely to rebuild and update its legacy electronic warfare capabilities under the leadership of the Capability Development Integration Directorate (CDID), a major subordinate organization of the Combined Arms Center, at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
The impetus to establish rebuild the Army's electronic warfare capability came as a result of Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIED), said Lt. Col. Fred Harper, a key analyst for the TRADOC Capabilities Manager Computer Network Operations Electronic Warfare (TCM-CEW) Division under CDID.
"At the initial stages of our involvement in Iraq, the Army found itself fighting against insurgents who were using relatively simple electromagnetic devices with great effect to attack our Coalition forces," said Harper.
Almost immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the U.S. mainland, President George W. Bush, ordered troops into Afghanistan and shortly thereafter into Iraq. Subsequent events on the battlefields began to highlight the vital importance of controlling the EMS. Determined insurgents in Iraq began building large numbers of roadside bombs from salvaged ordnance left behind by the Iraqi military which were then detonated in highly effective attacks against U.S. convoys and personnel using off-the-shelf commercial electromagnetic-based devices such as cell phones or garage door openers. This was followed by similar attacks in Afghanistan.
"In attempting to respond, the Army discovered that it had little internal technical ability on its own to counter such attacks," said Harper. As a consequence, the Army found itself fighting on complex urban terrain against insurgents who were using the EMS effectively to attack Coalition forces which had limited ability to respond effectively.
As a consequence of such setbacks on the battlefield, the Army found that electronic countermeasures had been elevated from a relatively obscure niche technical capability within the Army to a critical combat enabler widely regarded among both Soldiers as well as civilian leaders as pivotal in deciding ultimate strategic success or failure in the overall conflict.
In responding to this threat Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, then Commanding General, Multinational Forces Iraq (MNF-I), dispatched a memorandum to the Pentagon leadership in Feb. 2006 stating that the Army Electronic Warfare (EW) capability needed to be rebuilt quickly. Chiarelli warned, "With the proliferation of RCIED (Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device) countermeasures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in future Joint Task Forces and Combined Joint Task Forces, the requirement for EW expertise is a reality for Ground Forces now and into the future." Chiarelli went on to request, "support for a mid-term solution to embed EW expertise in the next OIF rotation force" together with further steps including "development of a program to produce Soldiers skilled in the conduct of electronic warfare to meet current and future battlefield requirements."
Subsequently, the Army Leadership threw the weight of its full support behind institutional commitment to rebuild EW as quickly as possible into a core Army military capability.
To facilitate rebuilding EW capabilities, the Department of the Army established the U.S. Army Electronic Warfare Proponent (USAEWP) under the Combined Arms Center (CAC) at Fort Leavenworth. The responsibility for the development of Computer Network Operations (CNO) requirements and capabilities was given to the proponent by Caldwell and the organization was formally re-designated as the U.S. Army Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare Proponent (USACEWP). Subsequently, in an effort to make CAC's EW and CNO capability development more efficient within a broader program of management, USACEWP was reorganized under CDID and re-designated as the TRADOC Capabilities Manager-Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare (TCM-CEW) Division. CDID now serves as the Army's focal point for managing and integrating CNO, cyberspace and EW development through the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF) process and ensuring each is nested within Full Spectrum Operations as described in FM 3-0, the Army's capstone doctrinal publication.
"Throughout our history the Army has always found it necessary to adapt to the unique features of the security environments it faced as quickly as they evolved," said Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Tom Jordan, Director of CAC's CDID. "Today, the Army faces change driven by rapid advances in communications and information technology. Recognizing the decisive impact information technology will have on the outcome of future conflicts, we are currently in the process of developing and outlining the basic foundation of a cyberspace force with its own unique role while also rebuilding the electronic warfare capabilities our forward deployed Soldiers vitally need."
Shortly after its initial establishment, CAC - in its capacity as proponent for electronic warfare -- undertook numerous initiatives near simultaneously to restore an independent EW capability within the Army. Working closely with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and supporting TRADOC Centers of Excellence, it quickly developed additional skill-level training for EW personnel at unit level that would enable basic EW support immediately to forward deployed units using Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems; it commenced development of Field Manual 3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations, the first new EW FM for more than a decade; and, it initiated a Force Design Update (FDU) to identify personnel and organizational structure gaps. Subsequently, the FDU identified a variety of EW personnel requirements as well as recommended modifications to Army organizational structure, including the need for adding EW, targeting and electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) capabilities to the theater, corps, division, brigade, and battalion organizational structure. In addition, the FDU identified a requirement for Electronic Warfare coordination elements from Battalion through Theater Army-level to provide operational and tactical level planning, coordination, integration, and synchronization of EW in support of Army operations.
The FDU further validated the requirement for EW professionals (officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned officers) to man these EW Cells as shown below:
Electronic Warfare Officer (Captain - Colonel)
Electronic Warfare Targeting Technician (Warrant Officer 1-5)
Electronic Warfare Specialist (Sergeant - Sergeants Major)
In conjunction with reestablishing EW within the Army, CAC has also taken steps to develop and facilitate the full development and full integration of computer network operations and cyber-electronics into the broader Army suite of capabilities to ensure that cyberspace are optimally exploited by Soldiers and leaders of the future. To this end, it has initiated a DOTMLPF process with regard to building an Army Cyber Career Force commencing with an ongoing initial analysis required to build the future Army Cyber Career Force together with cyber-electronic capabilities. Consequently, CDID now has the specific mission for developing, synchronizing, integrating, and coordinating both Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare (CNO-EW) capabilities and capacity across the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF) domains in order to prepare the Army and the Land Component for future challenges within both the EMS and cyberspace.
"Recent events in Estonia and Georgia clearly show how cyber attacks directed at nation-states and military forces can have an enormous impact on operations," said Lt. Col. Chip Bircher, former Futures Division Chief under CDID. "These actions and others have been a wake-up call for how critical it is for the Army to transform the way we operate both in and through Cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. Commanders have to have the capabilities necessary to achieve the effects necessary to support all phases of operations. As cyber-electronic capabilities continue to advance, we need to begin posturing ourselves now to meet the challenges potential adversaries could bring in a complex operating environment," Bircher said.
"Our goal is to make Cyberspace Operations and Electronic Warfare enduring Army competencies," said COL Wayne Parks, Director, of CDID's TCM-CEW. "When fully implemented across the Army, the management plans will accomplish two objectives: promote within the Army culture a broad understanding by all Soldiers and their leaders of the capabilities and limitations of Cyberspace and EMS operations; and, the creation of a professional corps of subject matter experts in these areas capable of operating both with--as well as independently of--similarly skilled joint force specialists."