Despite attempts from adversaries such as China, Iran and Russia to compromise voting on America’s Election Day, the election system worked well, even with the record levels of voting, reported senior officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The cybersecurity concerns now move to protecting the final vote counting, canvasing, auditing, certification and inauguration phases.
The U.S. Navy is adapting its Atlantic forces to interoperate better with those of its NATO allies while also incorporating navies from non-alliance countries. This approach includes incorporating a more expeditionary nature into U.S. forces while also extending the areas NATO and non-NATO forces operate to confront a growing multidomain threat from Russia. Traditional North Atlantic naval activities now extend into the Arctic Ocean, where changing conditions have opened up new threat windows.
The United States and its great power rivals are taking different paths in their pursuit of artificial intelligence (AI), but all three are devoting significant resources to what they believe will be a game changer. Their uses of AI also are likely to be different, as their approach to ethics varies according to each nation’s principles.
A breakout session panel provided a global view on the race for AI during the third and final day of the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit being held online September 16-18. Panelists assessed the differences in AI research and applications among Russia, China and the United States.
Just as with terrorism, disinformation can be home-grown and as damaging to a democracy as its foreign counterpart. It will take a partnered effort among all people and elements of a democracy to combat disinformation and restore truth to its mantle of supremacy before the institutions that underpin freedom crumble under the weight of lies and other propaganda. The threat is growing and is widespread, as purveyors of falsehoods adjust their tactics to increase effectiveness.
Second of a two-part report.
The Cyber Solarium Commission, a congressionally chartered panel of expert policymakers, was created to tackle cyber conflict in the same way its Truman-era predecessor addressed the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. An article in SIGNAL Magazine’s August issue (“Leaders Seek a Grand Strategy for Cybersecurity") explored the commission’s theory of deterrence by denial and how it embraced the concept of resilience.
The European Union has established the basis of an organizational structure to safeguard its important satellite assets, particularly those that provide vital positioning, navigation and timing data. As its Galileo constellation has grown in size and significance, the European Union is establishing the necessary organizational infrastructure to build and coordinate a collective effort to secure space against a broad range of threats.
U.S. trade secrets are being stolen by Chinese espionage at an alarming rate, and a Justice Department initiative is focusing on stopping the stealing. While cyber espionage is well known and hugely effective, the insider threat has shown to be equally damaging as the Middle Kingdom fuels its economic and military sectors with state-of-the-art U.S. technology.
Threats to global security now include the ongoing pandemic, its exploitation by international malefactors and climate change, according to an ad-hoc group of international defense and national security experts. These experts spent two days brainstorming the future online, and their findings were analyzed by the world’s most well-known artificial intelligence (AI) computer.
Titled “Securing the Post-COVID Future,” the event exchanged ideas among active duty military and civilian expertise with several international organizations. Findings during the 50-hour nonstop event were evaluated by tools from Watson, IBM’s question-answering computer that bested Jeopardy!’s top two champions in a competition a few years ago.
U.S. adversaries are trying to take control of cyberspace as a medium, resulting in implications to our freedom of maneuver and access in cyberspace, says Brig. Gen. Gregory Gagnon, USAF, director of Intelligence (A2), Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), Joint Base Langley-Eustis. Increasing cyberspace activity is coming from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.
“We are seeing it not just in volume, but we are seeing an expansion in the ways that they use cyberspace, whether it is to steal information, whether it is to directly influence our citizens or whether it is to disrupt critical infrastructure,” Gen. Gagnon reports. The general spoke at the AFCEA Tidewater chapter’s recent monthly virtual luncheon.
The four-month-old U.S. Space Force is setting its priorities for the future, and part of that is a plan to leverage key partnerships with allies, the intelligence community and the commercial space industry. And while partnerships with the commercial space industry in regard to launch services have been quite visible, the Space Force is set to work more frequently with the producers of small communications satellite systems, said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, USAF, chief of operations, U.S. Space Force.
How the U.S. government responded to the vulnerabilities created by anti-virus software and other products from Russia’s AO Kaspersky Laboratories is an important demarcation point in the growing awareness of and need for supply chain trust and assurance. Before that, conversations regarding supply chain risk management “were sort of siloed off to the side,” explains Daniel Kroese, acting deputy assistant director for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s National Risk Management Center at the Department of Homeland Security.
This year the Army will take several steps in the march toward reintroducing cutting-edge electronic warfare systems capable of countering near-peer competitors.
The United States is woefully underprepared to protect cyberspace against the worst-case scenarios threatening the country, says the former supreme allied commander of NATO. Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), operating executive for the Carlyle Group, warns that long-term solutions must be paired with near-term actions to prevent a host of cyber threats from crippling the United States militarily and economically.
The U.S. arsenal boasts diverse weapons that share a common cybersecurity challenge: They depend on power generated by U.S. Defense Department or civilian-owned infrastructures that are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attack. Disrupting the availability of these power systems could impact not only the United States’ ability to project U.S. military power globally but also to respond to a domestic attack.
Russia continues its disinformation campaign in order to weaken democratic nations. The country's modus operandi is to intensify genuine grievances and manipulate the public’s lack of knowledge of the legal system. Through this effort, they pass along rumors, conspiracies and distort the truth, which is meant to permeate a target population, according to a recent study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The FBI has a full plate: fighting public corruption, organized and white-collar crime and domestic and foreign terrorism; solving violent crimes; protecting civil rights; neutralizing national security threats, espionage and counterintelligence; and mitigating threats of weapons of mass destruction, among other responsibilities. And one part of the bureau is growing to protect the nation against cyber threats.
Many people have written marketing off as frivolous, but it is a field of constant data-driven experimentation, and in the past decade social media sites such as Facebook have become state-of-the-art laboratories for honing influence messaging. In the information revolution marketplace, the organization with the most data and the ability to utilize it wins.
The response to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson’s repeated request to “pick up the pace” of developing and implementing breakthrough technologies for our warfighters has gone, in my opinion, largely unheeded.
This is not the result of a lack of innovative solutions. A myriad of research and development programs exists to support the development of new technologies or to adapt existing commercial technologies to defense applications. Rather, it’s the result of an arcane acquisition process that is burdensome, expensive and lacking vision. Acquisition reform is where we need to pick up the pace!
The Warfighter Information Network–Tactical program delivered a digital transformation, enabling maneuver elements to move faster and provide commanders with vital battlefield information in near real-time. Its flexibility facilitated communications in Iraq’s urban environments and Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain. Although a powerful improvement over Mobile Subscriber Equipment, the technologies are not powerful enough to combat adversaries wielding cyber capabilities.
With the United States engaged in a “long-term strategic competition” with China and Russia, which are mounting persistent cyber attack campaigns that pose long-term risks to America, the U.S. military will act to deter aggression, cyber or otherwise, according to a new policy, known as the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Russia’s ability to evolve its use of information operations to leverage social media and the cyber domain continues to shock and challenge the world community. The country’s actions, especially during the 2016 U.S. elections, have brought cyber information operations out of the shadows and into the limelight. Now, state and nonstate actors are frequently using similar techniques to influence the public and achieve political goals once only attainable through armed conflict.
The days of the United States’ stature as a force without equal appear to be over. The threat of near-peer competition with increasingly sophisticated adversaries is growing. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis says in the National Defense Strategy, "America has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield."
Gen. Michael Hayden, USAF (Ret.), principal, the Chertoff Group, shifted the weight of the conversation at the AFCEA/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium from the direction of cyber narrowly defined to information broadly defined. Throughout his morning keynote he touched on Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, the U.S. moving into a post-truth culture and what cyber leaders can do in the future to help secure the nation.
Russia is focusing more and more on artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous systems, and this effort is like none seen before, according to an expert. The country is calling for an increased response from its academia, industry and military to develop these technologies, said Samuel Bendett, associate research analyst, Center for Naval Analyses.
The generation that remembers “duck and cover” also recalls headlines that included the words Soviet Union and impending dangers. Today, a combination of global instability, rising authoritarianism and democracies in retreat may lead to similar yet more dangerous situations, and this time, the headlines also are likely to include the words “People's Republic of China.”
To succeed in the battlespace of the future and to ensure combat superiority over peer adversaries, the U.S. military must be equipped with capabilities to defend information networks in cyberspace and to secure unimpeded access to the electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are developing cyber and electronic warfare capabilities to conduct information operations against U.S. systems that will likely threaten the speed and accuracy of military communications, intelligence and data sharing channels, while maliciously altering or stealing the information itself. These capabilities often have complementary effects, which means integrating cyber and electronic warfare could provide a stronger protection and attack capacity for U.S.
Cloud computing, big data and cyber are among the capabilities that pose a major threat to U.S. forces, said Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, Army deputy chief of staff, G-2.
“If you’re a threat actor out there, probably a little bit of investment in these areas is going to go a long way to make life very difficult for your adversaries,” Gen. Berrier told the audience at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
Russia, Iran and North Korea are testing more aggressive cyber attacks against the United States and partner nations, according to the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community delivered to Congress today by Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.
“The use of cyber attacks as a foreign policy tool outside of military conflict has been mostly limited to sporadic lower-level attacks. Russia, Iran and North Korea, however, are testing more aggressive cyber attacks that pose growing threats to the United States and U.S. partners,” the report states.
The already-complex Marine Corps mission is about to become more intricate as the Corps strives to incorporate new methods of warfighting and countering enemy capabilities. Viewing adversaries has given the Corps a glimpse of the future, and major changes lie over the horizon.
These points were hammered home by Lt. Gen. Robert S. Walsh, USMC, commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, speaking at the day two morning keynote address at West 2018 in San Diego. From amphibious assaults to information warfare, the Marines are incorporating new capabilities that will lead to an entirely new way of waging combat, the general allowed.
No longer can the U.S. military bank on ensured victories. The battlefield is more lethal and disruptive, is conducted at breakneck speeds and reaches further around the globe. And although fighting terrorism has gripped the military’s focus for the last 16 years, it is the rise of so-called inter-state strategic competition against nations such as China and Russia that will now be the primary concern for U.S. national security.
Undersea fiber optic communications cables are minimally protected and have locations that are public knowledge. This puts these vital communication links at risk of nation-state and terrorist attacks that could cause immense harm.
Russia has advanced the state of the art in electronic warfare capabilities to overcome and even overpower Western electronic systems, both military and commercial. And now the country’s military modernization plan extending to 2025 lays the groundwork for further advancement, according to a recent European think tank report.
Russia is developing a total package of electronic warfare (EW) systems covering a broad frequency range. The systems encompass traditional areas such as surveillance, protection and countermeasures, and they shield Russian use of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). These total package systems are designed to be highly mobile and include small units deployable by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The U.S. federal government has not yet told state-level election officials whether their election systems were hacked by the Russians.
— George Seffers (@gseffers) September 7, 2017
The Russian military has been using a clever—and lethal—propaganda technique against Ukrainian soldiers. They spam the soldiers’ cellphones with demoralizing messages and then take advantage of the resulting confusion to geolocate the soldiers’ cellphone signals and launch an attack.
Gen. Baker: You're never going to be able to emulate [in training] the gut-wrenching emotions of Russian-style messaging.#AFCEATechNet
— George Seffers (@gseffers) August 9, 2017
Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, USA (Ret.), former director of command, control, communications and computers/cyber for the Joint Staff, paints a dire picture of future warfare. The next war, he says, will begin with wave after wave of cyber and electronic warfare attacks that our nation is not prepared for. Although the Army is making strides in training the cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA) force, the service may not be able to address all scenarios in a training environment.
The mind of society is the battlefield in the current global struggle for geopolitical domination. The uses of soft power dominate in this battle and information warfare is the name of the game—not “cyber war” in all the ways it has been described but the influence and ultimately control of individual minds that, like cells in a body, make up the Mind of Society. Then control is used as leverage to achieve objectives that are often hidden.
The U.S. government took a vital tangible step toward clearly defining rules of cyber war when the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment on March 15 accusing two operatives of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and two hired computer hackers of being behind last year's massive cyber breach of Yahoo.
It is imperative that the United States—government and private companies alike—begin using its inherent innovative spirit to think exponentially and develop technologies that will save time, dollars and lives while defeating the nation's adversaries, said Adm. Harry Harris, USN, commander of U.S. Pacific Command.
AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2016
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1
Quote of the Day:
“What we’ve observed them do is employ the full-range of information warfare capabilities to effectively find and fix their opponents. And then they finish them with long-range fires and combined arms maneuvers.” —Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence
AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2016
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2
Quote of the Day:
“There isn’t a warfighting function that isn’t impacted by cyber, so securing, operating and defending the Army portion of the DODIN is a core warfighting capability.” —Ronald Pontius, deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command and Second Army
On day two of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference, cyber experts from across the military and industry openly and bluntly discussed the challenges of cybersecurity.
The Army Materiel Command (AMC) is modernizing and deploying pre-positioned stocks in Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific to ensure the service can rapidly and effectively respond to threats as they occur. Those so-called activity sets include the latest in communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment.
The Russian Federation forces are using a wide array of cyber and electronic warfare capabilities unlike anything U.S. forces have faced in the past 16 years. Russia uses its sophisticated capabilities to detect, locate and eliminate enemy forces, according to Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Center of Excellence.
Gen. Fogarty made the comments as the first speaker for AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference, Cyber in the Combined Arms Fight, taking place in Augusta, Georgia, August 2-4.
Some things make you go “hmmm.” A lot of electronic warfare (EW) capability is accompanying the Russians in their Syrian buildup in which they are using older, Soviet era aircraft and ships. The Russians’ defensive line is around an axis stretching between the Mediterranean port cities of Latakia and Tartus, Syria. The October 7 cruise missile strike, launched by the Dagestan from the land-locked Caspian Sea, came from more modern Russian Navy warships and was better protected. Most of the Black Sea warships capable of deploying did so in this group.
Among the many perils faced by the United States, space and cyberspace pose some of the greatest challenges. And, there is no public wave of awareness or demand for action looming on the horizon, to the detriment of the nation.
GeoEye Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, a leading source of geospatial information and insight, announced that it is working with its Russian partner, ScanEx Research and Development Center, to provide millions of square kilometers of high-resolution satellite imagery to the Russian Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr). To efficiently administer the property rights and data across Russia's vast landscape, Rosreestr is creating a countrywide base map of land properties in the Russian Federation.
"The Russians. Don’t forget about the Russians." Col. Charles R. Codman, USA, whispered the warning to Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., USA, as the Third Army commander rolled through some extemporaneous remarks to about 60 of the good folks of tiny Knutsford, England, on April 25, 1944. Local volunteers had opened a welcome club for Gen. Patton's soldiers, and the tough general came to offer his thanks. As he did, he observed that in his opinion, it was the "evident destiny of the British and Americans" to "rule the world," so "the better we know each other, the better job we will do." Although the event was supposed to be off the record, journalists wrote it all down. They knew well that Gen. Patton was always good for a colorful quote.