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Speed of Cyber Is Not Always in Milliseconds

Tuesday, October 2, 2018   (0 Comments)

By George I. Seffers  |  October 1, 2018  |  Signal Magazine

U.S. Army officials offer lessons learned from the third annual Cyber Blitz.

The U.S. Army’s Cyber Blitz experimental exercise September 17-28 turned out to be an eye-opener for one maneuver officer regarding cyber’s capabilities on the battlefield.

Military leaders often describe the “speed of cyber” as being measured in milliseconds or microseconds, which means the operations tempo in the cyber realm is incredibly high and decisions are made rapidly. But an offensive cyber campaign can sometimes take much longer than maneuver commanders might expect. In a teleconference with reporters to discuss Cyber Blitz results, Lt. Col. John Newman, USA, deputy commanding officer, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, reports that the experiment proved to be a revelation.

“Dealing with the speed of [cyber] was one of the biggest lessons learned as the maneuver force because not everything is in milliseconds. If I’m asking for a certain effect—maybe it is to degrade a communications platform—that may be something that can be done remotely very, very quickly with a few keystrokes, or it may be something that takes multiple hours or potentially days to accomplish,” Col. Newman says. “It’s all too easy for me as a maneuver officer to think it is just a few keyboard strokes, and it is just a quick finger snap, and this effect will be rendered on the enemy. This experiment for me was a very good eye-opener to help understand not everything goes as quickly in that realm as I may think it does.”

Another lesson learned is that every service member will need to understand cyber electromagnetic activity (CEMA) lingo. “With the advent of CEMA on the battlefield, all [military occupational skills], all warfighting functions need to be CEMA literate. They need to be able to speak the lexicon and understand what is being spoken to them,” says Richard Wittstruck, the Cyber Blitz director with the Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). “That does not mean that every warfighting function needs to be a CEMA expert. Only those [military occupational skills] that are operating on a daily basis with that expertise and proficiency would need to go much deeper.”  READ MORE...

With over 13,000 members internationally, the Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.