Evolutionary threats, global instability and the rapid pace of technological change are influencing the U.S. Army’s next steps for planning, training and fighting. Although the service has made significant network improvements for more than a decade, its leaders agree that more progress is needed to operate in the contested environment of the future.
TechNet Augusta 2017
The network the Army has is not the network it needs to confront the changing face of warfare, says Maj. Gen. (P) Bruce Crawford, USA, who took over as the service’s chief information officer/G-6 nine days ago.
Gen. Crawford told the AFCEA TechNet Augusta audience the service confronts a confluence of strategic circumstances, with several major efforts all coming together at the same time. Those circumstances include the evolution of the threat, global instability that creates greater demand for ground forces, the rapid pace of technology evolution, the speed at which decisions must be made on the battlefield and emerging doctrines.
U.S. Army officials who play various roles in modernizing the network say doing so offers multiple benefits, including saving money, improving cybersecurity and offering greater flexibility on behalf of warfighters.
The officials made the comments while serving on a network modernization panel on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2017 conference.
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.
As the Army’s forward deployed footprint has grown smaller in places such as Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the demand for sensors capable of sending data back to the United States for processing has increased significantly. While those sensors provide valuable information, they also place a heavy load on the service’s networks, said Mark Kitz, chief engineer, Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S).
One of the Army’s biggest needs in the area of tactical command, control and communications is radio waveforms that are difficult to detect and intercept.
Gary Martin, the service’s Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, told the AFCEA TechNet Augusta audience that hard-to-find waveforms top the service’s list, and he invited industry’s ideas on the subject.
On the multi-domain battlefield of the future, U.S. forces can expect to see more robots, pilotless ships and planes, and driverless convoys, as well as cyber and other game-changing capabilities, said Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command.
Gen. Nakasone made the comments during the afternoon keynote address at AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2017 in Augusta, Georgia.
“We are witnessing a fundamental change and transformation in the character of war," he said. “This transformation is being driven by technology and demographics, socioeconomic and political changes.”
The Army’s first doctrine for fighting in the cyberspace and electronic warfare domains already is changing the way the service operates, said Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., USA, commander, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, told the AFCEA TechNet Augusta audience in Augusta, Georgia.
Army officials have multiple pilot projects in the works to help define formations that will integrate cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA).
According to Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., USA, commander, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, the Army has initiated one pilot project with the Army Pacific Command and is seeking to begin another within the continental United States to better define formations that will integrate cyber, electronic warfare, signal and intelligence capabilities.
Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II, USA, the commander of III Corps, which is preparing for war, called for a network with simplicity as a core requirement.
— George Seffers (@gseffers) August 8, 2017