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Cyber Operations And Information Support Forces of the German Armed Forces

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Cyber Operations And Information Support Forces of the German Armed Forces

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Written by Colonel A. Bobrov; Originally appeared at Foreign Military Review #9 2019, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

Cyber Operations And Information Support Forces of the German Armed Forces

Insignia

According to the German doctrinal documents defining national defence policy, the information space is a new medium for conducting military operations. In order to form bodies capable to effectively conduct defensive and offensive operations in the electro-magnetic spectrum, the Bundeswehr command in 2017 began to create a new joint component of the Armed Forces – the Cyber and Information Domain Service (CIDS). (German: Cyber- und Informationsraum; CIR)

Initially, the CIDS was supposed to be tasked exclusively with ensuring national cyber-security, protecting state information resources and critical infrastructure from unauthorised electromagnetic intrusion. In the process of developing the component and refining the list of tasks, the units in charge of intelligence by technical means, as well as EW, formerly part of the joint support forces, were transferred to the joint support forces.

The following tasks are currently assigned to the CIDS:

  • protection of information resources of the Bunderswehr;
  • extracting and analysing information about a possible enemy;
  • conducting defensive and offensive activities in cyberspace with the aim of damaging governmental and military authorities, as well as critical infrastructure of the opposing side;
  • organising and conducting informational and psychological operations;
  • technical intelligence and electronic warfare;
  • managing subordinate units and maintaining their operational readiness for tasks;
  • personnel training, personnel management;
  • inter-agency as well as international cooperation on cyber-security issues.

An inspector leads the force. The staff category is Lieutenant General. Its working body is the corresponding General Command with headquarters in Bonn. The total number of CIDS personnel is about 10 thousand people. Completion of the organisational and staff arrangements and full operational capability of the CIDS is scheduled for 2021.

The CIDS has two commands – Strategic Intelligence, Communications and Information Technology, and a Bundeswehr Geo-Information Support Centre.

Cyber Operations And Information Support Forces of the German Armed Forces

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The Strategic Intelligence Command (SIC) plans combat operations in cyberspace, organises radio electronic and space-based specific reconnaissance, EW and information and psychological impact on the enemy, and is responsible for mapping support of the Armed Forces. The command headquarters is located in Grafshaft. The staff category of the commander is Major General.

These tasks are carried out in practice by the four SIC centres: Cyber Operations, Information and Psychological Operations, Space Intelligence, Radio Electronic Situation Assessment and four Radio Engineering Intelligence and Radio Electronic Warfare battalions.

In addition, the Strategic Intelligence command reports to the Radio Engineering Research Centre and the Strategic Intelligence School.

The Strategic Intelligence Command is subordinate to the CIDS Inspector, while the Operational Command reports to the Head of the Intelligence Directorate of the German Ministry of Defence.

The Cyber Centre plans to prepare and conduct defensive and offensive operations in cyber-space.

In addition, the Centre’s specialists are used to conduct computerised reconnaissance by penetrating protected information resources of the opposing side, as well as to disrupt automated control systems.

The Centre for Information and Psychological Operations is responsible for the planning, organisation and direct management of psychological operations abroad, as well as for the production of promotional materials (radio reports, printed, photo and video products). For this purpose, it has a stationary printing house, radio and television broadcasting stations.

The Space Intelligence Centre processes data from national military intelligence as well as from various commercial remote sensing satellite systems.

The Peacetime Electronic Assessment Centre is designed to plan and coordinate the activities of the ESM and EW battalions, as well as to analyse and summarise the data they provide in order to support the activities of the troops of the Armed Forces of Germany in crisis regions of the world.

Battalions of electronic intelligence and electronic warfare conduct reconnaissance of the electronic environment through technical means in the area of responsibility, and carry out practical EW measures. The battalions have the same type of structure (management, two ESM companies, one EW company). They are armed with mobile intelligence and EW systems.

The Radio Engineering Research and Development Centre is engaged in military applied research in the field of industry and supervises special equipment development programmes.

The School of Strategic Intelligence is training specialists in radio and radio engineering intelligence.

The Communications and Information Technology Command is designed to organise centralised management of formations of the Armed Forces and joint components, to ensure the functioning of automatic control systems (ACS) and the Bunderswehr communication means. The command headquarters is located in Rheinbach. The staff category of the commander is Major General.

The structure comprises three centres: Cyber Security, information Technology Systems Operation and Software Expertise; the German component of the 1st NATO Communications Battalion; six information technology (management and communications) battalions; and the Bundeswehr Information Technology Training School.

The Cyber Security Centre is responsible for proactively identifying and suppressing cyber-threats to the Bundeswehr information resources, automated troop and weapon control systems, and the uninterrupted functioning of the computer networks of military administrations.

The Information Technology Systems Operations Centre is designed to plan, deploy, operate, monitor and restore the technical readiness of the Bundeswehr information and telecommunications systems.

The Software Expertise Centre deals with expert evaluation, testing and certification of the Bundeswehr’s hardware and software. Currently, measures are being taken to upgrade the Centre’s personnel to the prescribed standards.

The German component of the 1st NATO Liaison Battalion is tasked with providing the bloc’s joint armed forces with all types of communications, access to local and global information networks, organisation of video-conferences during combat operations, and operational and combat training activities.

The information technology battalions are intended to organise communication and maintain the operation of the Bundeswehr computer control system in the course of daily and combat (peacekeeping) activities on the national territory and abroad.

The Bundeswehr Information Technology Training School provides education and training for working in the CIDS structures.

The Bundeswehr Geo-Information Support Centre implements the concepts of combat operations in a single information space. One of its priorities is to supply the Bundeswehr units as well as national military contingents outside Germany with up-to-date geospatial data (meteorological reports, topographic maps, etc.).

To this end, the Centre carries out research work in the following disciplines: biology, remote sensing, geodesy, geo-informatics, geology, geophysics, geopolitics, hydro-acoustics, hydrography, hydrology, cartography, climatology, meteorology, ecology, oceanography and photogrammetry.

Thus, the Bundeswehr is now equipped with units capable of effectively conducting defensive and offensive operations in cyber-space, as well as intelligence and other support tasks for the national Armed Forces. The priority tasks of the CIDS command are: elaboration of the concepts of combat use of the subordinate forces and means; specification of the normative and legal framework regulating the order of their use; equipping with the modern hardware and software, as well as completion of the command staff with the qualified personnel.

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