• U.S. Army soldiers support the U.S. Cyber Command. Army cyber activities are ramping up to reach across the Defense Department with improved capabilities. Credit: Steven Stover, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade
     U.S. Army soldiers support the U.S. Cyber Command. Army cyber activities are ramping up to reach across the Defense Department with improved capabilities. Credit: Steven Stover, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade

Army Extending Cyber Capabilities

February 17, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Work in support of larger missions now reaches throughout the Defense Department.


The U.S. Army is applying its cyber expertise across the defense spectrum as it blends tactical and strategic capabilities while helping the departmentwide cyber mission. This ranges from operational activities to training, and the effort spans both defensive and offensive cyber missions.

Some of these points were explained in day 2 of the first episode in the TechNet Augusta Virtual Solutions Series, airing February 16-17. Col. John Transue Jr., USA, director, Army Capability Manager (ACM) Cyber, described how the separation between tactical and strategic capabilities is blurring as the Army applies elements of one to the other.

“Our capabilities used to be primarily designed for the cyber mission force,” he explained. “Now the Army has been putting a significant focus onto the service retain capability. For the Army, that would be the Cyber Warfare Battalion [CWB], the 915th CWB and the I2CEWS under the multidomain task force.

“What we’ve been looking at from the cyber side is using our current capabilities that we’ve been developing for the cyber mission force and then determining what makes sense to be at the tactical layer and what type of capabilities of the equipment that they actually need,” he added.

The CWB was activated last year at Fort Gordon, and it now is standing up an expeditionary cyber team. Forces can expect to have the ability to defend their own organic networks, and the cyber team can reinforce division brigade and corps elements that are deployed in theater. They will have a small capability to defend a specific location, he noted.

Army cyber activities have not been limited to that service. They have touched upon other parts of the Defense Department, and that presence is growing. It also affects Army-specific cyber activities, and Col. Transue cited the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) as an example.

We’re not just talking about the DODIN-A [Army], but also our overall DODIN, where we have to defend our joint space,” he said. “Our cyber protection teams, our reservists, our regional cyber centers all support not only the Army but also our [DISA] DODIN and our other combatant commands.”

The colonel did not go into great detail about offensive cyber operations, but he did allow that many Army capabilities are transitioning into joint activities.

“Some of our Army capabilities have now been selected, or are pending selection, for the joint solution of the JCWA [Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture],” he noted. “From the JCAP, the Joint Cyber Attack Platform, to the JDE, the Joint Development Environment, our capabilities are working with the U.S. Cyber Command.”

The Army also is lending training expertise to other Defense Department elements. Its persistent cyber training is part of an effort to provide full spectrum training for the department’s cyber workforce.

Another effort aims to create better cyber situational awareness. The colonel explained that this involves taking existing capabilities and creating new products for commanders and maneuver staff without adding new assets. Being able to vastly improve existing cyber sensor output would provide a better understanding of what is happening in cyberspace into the common operating environment.

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