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LandWarNet Show Daily-Tuesday

August 18, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The theme of this year's LandWarNet conference and symposium is leveraging the global network enterprise to enable full spectrum operations to the warfighter. Gen Carter F. Ham, USA, launched the event by discussing the Army's need to leverage the network and cyberspace to enable command and control. He explained that this was a historic time for Army signals as the service establishes a new unified command devoted to cyberspace.

Because this is a very dynamic time for the signals community, he said that communications personnel must be fully engaged in the enterprise from the beginning. Signals personnel help build and maintain the systems on which full spectrum operations rely.

The general cited the Berlin Wall as an example of how different nations approach information sharing. The Wall represented the Soviet Union's attempt to control the flow of information and people while the United States shared information with its allies. Today, the United States is at a similar crossroads, he said. Does the United States want to build and sustain firewalls in the government and with its allies, or can more collaborative structures be examined, he asked.

Barriers to information sharing must come down while finding new ways to operate safely when sharing information, Gen. Ham said. Teamwork and coordination is necessary regardless of the service, department or nation. The general urged the audience to consider how to break down barriers and develop networks that can share command and control information.

Among the many tracks of the first days sessions, information assurance and cyber security highlighted some of the key challenges facing the service. Carol Assi, with the Army Office of Information Assurance and Compliance highlighted the service's information assurance efforts.

Cross domain certification for personnel and data remains a challenge, Assi said. She adds that a complicating factor is the ongoing shift in technology. Newer chip based equipment is replacing older analog systems. The challenge of these newer systems is that they have greatly reduced lifecycles of five to seven years compared to 20 or 25 years for older technology.

In the tactical arena, Assi notes that there is a need for non Type 1 encryption. Operational security also extends to the keys and encryption systems in use throughout the Army.

Brig. Gen. Steven W. Smith, USA, chief cyber officer, Army CIO/G-6 noted that the Army is participating in several key initiatives such as the Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative (CNCI), the Defense Department Information Assurance Campaign Plan (DOD IACP), the standing up of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), and Operation Gladiator Phoenix. Regarding the Army's direct role in cyberspace, the general said that the service's mission is to integrate efforts across the Army staff to provide policy, oversight and guidance for any cyberspace operations.

Regarding USCYBERCOM, Gen. Smith explained that the Army chief of staff is considering several courses of action to support the command. The first two are NETCOM and INSCOM centric proposals while a third, clean slate approach is also under consideration. A final decision will be made in November or December, he said.

Operation Gladiator Phoenix will be a major exercise where 71 percent of the activity will be oriented towards network defense. The remaining 30 percent of the event's efforts will focus on sustaining exploitation and cyber attack capabilities.

The goal of the DOD IACP is to help commands prioritize how they spend money on information assurance. The general adds that the effort has some 20 end states. Several of these goals are accountability from the top, layered network defense, strong external perimeters, the capability of keeping a secret, and developing partnerships with industry.

Achieving and maintaining the Army's Global Network Enterprise Strategy was the topic of a speech by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, CIO/G-6. The general outlined several of the key points to make the LandWarNet operational. Among the initiatives the Army has launched is to enhance connectivity by creating fixed regional hub nodes known as network service centers (NSC's) to support operations. Another effort underway is making data and software applications available to warfighters at all echelons.

To support network operations, Gen. Sorenson described a recent experiment where an Army unit deployed overseas. The goal of the test was to maintain the unit's network connectivity at the same level as it enjoyed in its home base throughout the deployment. The general noted that the only time the unit did not have connectivity was when its troops were flown overseas.

The general added that the Army has launched a three year plan to establish NSCs across the operational theaters. He explained that the goal is to establish an NSC in Europe in 2009, an NSC in Southwest Asia in 2010, and a facility in Asia in 2011.

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