LandWarNet Show Daily--Thursday

August 21, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

LandWarNet closed with a keynote address by Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff. Outlining his views on command and control, the general noted that the Army is in a critical time of transformation and conflict. He added that the service has undergone rapid change during the last eight years.

The general noted that a critical lesson learned from the past several years is that vital technological and operational changes are made on the ground by soldiers at the tip of the spear. More data is now available to warfigthers than ever before, but it must be made available to a variety of personnel across all echelons, he said.

If the sharing of battlefield information had not been managed properly, it would have crippled the Army's operational efforts, Gen. Chiarelli shared. However, he credits the success of systems such as FBCB2 and the Command Post of the Future (CPOF) for providing soldiers with increased situational awareness. The tactical ground reporting system (TIGR), is making its way to troops in the field. It is a virtual notebook designed to provide soldiers and commanders with data and information to make more efficient decisions.

But despite these developments, there have been challenges. The general noted that communications personnel resisted the development and deployment of command and control systems such as FBCB2, CPOF and TIGR. He added that the Army also takes a "cookie cutter" approach to computer security and warned that it is individual soldiers who suffer from bad decisions and lack of foresight about the implications of some policies.

An example of unintended outcomes is the pressure that excessive requirements place on new technologies. The general said that procurement processes are having difficulty keeping pace with technological change and that many Army systems have redundant or non-interoperable software, which causes communications issues.

Excessive policies for security can also stifle the development of new communications systems for warfighters. Citing the Apple Iphone and the great variety of downloadable applications available for the device, the general asked why the Army cannot deliver a similar capability. He speculated that such a system would allow a soldier in combat to access live video from an overhead unmanned aerial vehicle or agricultural data for soldiers on humanitarian missions. The general stressed that he would like to see a method that allowed Army personnel develop applications for its handheld devices.

The general closed by noting that his intent was not to point fingers but to motivate signals personnel and all service members to help meet the Army's needs at this critical period.

The Thursday sessions also focused on issues such as the Army's Signal Cyberspace Operations Campaign Plan. According to Russell Fenton with the Concepts, Requirements and Doctrine Division at the Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, information assurance is a key part of the plan. Among the key tenets of information assurance is computer network defense (CND), which must support information assurance.

Fenton explained that information assurance is defined as measures that protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their confidentiality, integrity, availability and authentication. He adds that information assurance and CND must support each other.

One facet of the campaign plan is support of enduring CND capabilities. He notes that the Army is developing a new cyber military occupational specialty (MOS) for its personnel. The service is also creating a new cyber MOS for warrant officers that would focus on network operations, information security and information protection technology. However, he says that this new skills set would progress in levels of expertise over a period of years to produce experienced and mature cyber warriors.

Citing a series of studies, Fenton says that the Army developed a problem statement outlining the service's challenge. It stated that the Army must conduct active and passive network defense in depth from the strategic to the soldier level.

He describes passive defense as firewalls and filters while active defense involves quantifying a threat in real time. Passive defense technology is currently better than active defense technology, he says.

Another important aspect for the service is decentralization. Troops on the ground must be provided with the ability to react independently to situations. What the service must avoid, he says, is a top-down approach.

Fenton summed up the current campaign plan in several key areas. The first is to operate and defend landWarNet around the clock. Another effort underway is the Army's Network Operations (NetOps) integration of CND with network warfare capabilities to provide overall computer network operations.

The Signal Center is currently working to address CND gaps. To support this process, the service also must develop concept documents outlining how it will fight in cyberspace. Fenton notes that the creation of U.S. Cyber Command will influence the Army's future command and control structure and how it is managed.

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