In a world of electronics of all shapes and sizes, from the computer, tablet or phone that these words appear on to the thousands of Alexa units, Google Home units and smart televisions, how does America protect itself?
Cybersecurity in the United States has been at the forefront of news stories over the last several years. Hackers have broken into large business networks and stolen and ransomed millions of dollars. The Government Accountability Office stated the proposed budget for cybersecurity in the fiscal year 2023 budget was over 10 billion dollars.
With technology still being developed at a rapid pace and new threats in electronic warfare, AI and a myriad of others, it is up to the men and women of the Cyber Capability Development and Integration Directorate (Cyber CDID) to deliver the transformation needed to keep the U.S. Army ahead of near-peer competitors while delivering the Army of 2030.
The Cyber CDID sits in a unique position, having the origins of its organization traced back to the ‘80s, when the primary focus for the organization was Signal. The names of the organizations it fell under and worked for changed over the next 20 years until 2006, when the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) leveraged the Base Realigning and Closure to stand up new organizations called CDIDs. For more information on what CDIDs are, feel free to read up on what a CDID is here.
The Signal Center of Excellence (CoE) worked on modernizing the Signal Corps network. It was responsible for the systems’ requirements development and capability management, like the joint network node. With advancing technology, the Signal CoE was redesignated in 2014, and with it, the Signal CDID became the Cyber CDID. The Cyber CDID then obtained two new proponent missions, Cyber and Electronic Warfare. In 2020, the United States Army Futures Command (AFC) received control over the CDIDs, where Cyber CDID remains.
Cyber CDID has two Signal Army Capability Managers (ACM) for tactical radios and networks and services. The CDID also has ACMs for cyberspace operations and electronic warfare.
Like the other CDIDs, the Cyber CDID works with many stakeholders. The Cyber CDID partners with other CDIDs, AFC’s Cross-Functional Teams (CFTs), the Cyber CoE, TRADOC, AFC, members of the Joint Staff and the Army’s sister services to accomplish its broad-ranging mission.
“We partner and work with the Fires CDID because they are looking at some non-kinetic counter-UAS effects using the electromagnetic spectrum, or Aviation CDID and the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) CFT because they are working with the future long-range assault aircraft and air launched effects, for example” said Col. Christian Haffey, Cyber CDID director. “We can partner with FVL to give commanders options to extend the network or deliver electronic warfare capabilities for electronic attack, support and protect. There’s really no one we don’t work with.”
So, what exactly does the Cyber CDID do on a day-to-day basis? The CDID works to identify gaps in the requirements for the Army of 2030 and helps build out the requirements to fix those gaps in capability. For example, if you work in Virginia and need a secure communications call to Texas but cannot ensure that your adversary can’t tap into that call, that is a problem.
“We’re going to identify that gap, write a requirement that fixes it and work with materiel developers to develop a solution to fix it,” Haffey said. “But it’s also more than just a materiel solution; we need to figure out how the equipment works, make sure that people know how it works, what formations use it at what echelon, and how the system works with all the other systems. It is another reason it is so important to work with such a wide variety of stakeholders.”
In an age where every Soldier, Civilian and contractor has access to some form of data and technology while working for the Army, the Cyber CDID must account for the large swath of people who use the solutions that the requirements documents create.
“What’s important to remember is that we view everyone today as a data owner, consumer and producer and realistically probably all three,” Haffey said. “This means we need to partner with a large group of people to understand their data requirements because behind those data requirements is a large variety of factors that need to be accounted for.”
In their efforts to help Army transformation, the Cyber CDID is involved in many major experiments and helps lead Cyber Quest. This AFC-hosted event lets many partners experiment with cyber and electromagnetic spectrum weapons and equipment in tactical operations. The CDID is also involved with many other major Army experiments, including Project Convergence, the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment, Vanguard, smaller tabletop experiments, limited objective experiments and even some simulation experiments that the CDID hosts.
In the future, the Cyber CDID will continue to work on delivering the Army of 2030. A transport-agnostic Unified Network that is accessible on the go and electronic warfare equipment remain priorities as the Army catches up after changing priorities from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“People need to understand that almost every new technology today, manned or unmanned, next-generation squad weapon, IVAS goggles, future vertical lift, the next generation ground vehicle, it all touches the network,” Haffey said. “Everything is touching the network and needs to communicate, pass data have data storage requirements, and get the right data to the right person at the right time to make decisions. That is what the Cyber CDID is doing. We are delivering that capability to the Army of 2030 so the right people can make the right decision when it comes down to it.”
For more information on other CDIDs, check out what our Medical CDID and Maneuver CDID have been doing.