US Army To Send Cyber Troops To Battlefield

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US Army To Send Cyber Troops To Battlefield

Soldiers work together during a training exercise in 2011. Brian Rodan/US Army

The US Army will soon send teams of cyber troops to the battlefield, according to Colonel Robert Ryan, who commands a Hawaii-based combat team.

The US Army’s general mission is to “attack and destroy” and cyber troops are aimed at expanding its capabilities to go offensive against computer networks.

“Not everything is destroy. How can I influence by non-kinetic means? How can I reach up and create confusion and gain control?” he told reporters, according to AFP.

The cyber troops will serve six-month rotations integrated in infantry units and will tailor operations according to commanders’ needs. According to Colonel William Hartman of Cyber Command, a standard operation would likely include dragnet information gathering and intercepting enemy transmissions.

Over the past three years, the US army has conducted training for such operations at a large centre in southern California. Cyber Command had previously been a part of the US Strategic Command. In August 2017, US President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to elevate it to its own command.

On December 13, the US Department of Defense released an article entitled “U.S. Commanders Must Embrace Cyber, Special Ops Chief Says” (source):

Cyber capabilities are integral to everything the U.S. Special Operations Command does worldwide, the commander said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s hot topic discussion here today.

Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III noted that his command embraced the cyber world early, which has driven many of the successes the command has achieved.

While the command obviously defends its cyber community, Thomas spoke about “offensive and exploitive cyber operations across the cyber continuum,” during his address.

Operations in the cyber realm are as new as the domain itself, the general said.

“We special operations forces live — some would say thrive — in a world that is often out ahead of policy,” he said.

Many of Socom’s approaches since 9/11 were previously undefined in the policy realm. “Arguably the same can be said of cyber capability,” he said.

The idea of cyber as a warfighting domain is so new that many commanders consign it to a chief information officer, he said. This is “inconsistent with how we address every other domain,” the general said. “Commanders don’t outsource or pay so little attention to those.”

Attack, Exploit

The greatest space for advancement in the cyber worlds is in attack and exploit. From the U.S. perspective, he said, it is easier to conduct a kinetic strike on a target than it is to launch an offensive cyber operation.

This has gotten easier. In areas of declared hostilities, the timeline to launch an attack has compressed, he said. “But … it is still far too slow,” he said. “The limiting factor for cyber effectiveness continues to revolve around policy and process.”

Thomas quoted Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who said: “One of the challenges of the United States is we are a nation of laws and our process to approve cyber operations is detailed and lengthy. Russia and China are not inhibited.”

Officials need to formulate processes consistent with American values that still allow timely offensive cyber operations, the general said.

Thomas said he considers cyber to be both a challenge and an opportunity. Cyber is global and does not fit inside delineated geographic command boundaries, he said.

The U.S. can address the cyber domain. “We can do this,” the general said. “We have the structure a know-how to dominate in this domain, but it requires a focused effort and repetitions matter.”

From this, the military must continue building the team of cyber warriors. “We are moving in the right direction, but talent and task organization matter,” Thomas said.

Trust the Team

Another guiding principle must be to trust the team. “We must give our commanders the ability to employ cyber at the strategic, operational and tactical levels,” he said. “Tell them the end state and allow them to get after it.”

The general stressed the need to integrate effects. Cyber should be one part of all tools used from kinetic effects to diplomatic actions. “Effects are much more powerful when executed in a coordinated manner,” Thomas said.

Like land or sea or air warfare, there must be a campaign in cyber that allows the United States to exploit success, he said.

The United States must work with partners in the cyber domain. “We cannot succeed in an international domain without international and industry partners,” the general said.

History is littered with examples of commanders not understanding new technologies or dismissing those technologies to their peril, Thomas said. Cyber must not be dismissed. Commanders must understand it and look for new ways to employ it. “Our adversaries are already adapting, we need to keep pace,” he said.

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  • TiredOfBsToo

    “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who said: “One of the challenges of the United States is we are a nation of law..”

    An oxymoron if I ever heard one. Maybe he meant laws for others as we can see through the constant violations of International Laws and treaties signed by the US which seem to recognize the true values, that of not having any.

  • hvaiallverden

    Yeah, joint, did they mean an reefer, uh….. chef of stiff, sorry, staff, of an Moron, sorry, sorry, marinated Generic Gen, Joho Dumbkopfh, drooled something about internet battle, yeah, beat the Russians, 73 pence and 6 Twitters, that to kill an political agenda.

    At least, the Russians knows how to make it cheep, I give them that.

    How about the Russians used an whole Pound, and increased their Twitter storm to lets say, 12 Twitters, huh, oh….. the horror, right Wankees, thats according to the intelligence (muhahaha)
    apparatchikens, certain to crash the entire Banana Repobulic Wankeestan to smithereens.
    Yeah, we are shaking of pure fear, of encountering another pack of American Idiots.
    What could possibly go wrong.

    peace

    • VGA

      Seek help.

  • juan carlos ayala

    se están quedando sin carne de cañon

  • Pave Way IV

    “…Not everything is destroy. How can I influence by non-kinetic means? How can I reach up and create confusion and gain control?” he told reporters, according to AFP…”

    Why not just ask AIPAC? And the irony of posing such rhetorical questions to ‘reporters’ from the third largest MSM news-spewing service is not lost on this reader.

    …Over the past three years, the US army has conducted training for such operations at a large centre in southern California…”

    Yeah, we already know… it’s called Google. No need to rub it in, General.

    “…Many of Socom’s approaches since 9/11 were previously undefined in the policy realm. “Arguably the same can be said of cyber capability,” he said…”

    What a coincidence – many of SOCOM’s approaches were previously undefined in the policy realm of the US Constitution as well. And still are! This will be especially convenient when SOCOM is used right here, in the US, to ‘neutralize’ angry US citizens and save government officials from the lamp posts.

    “…Officials need to formulate processes consistent with American values…”

    Like killing Qaddafi, stealing his gold and turning the formerly successful Libya into an abject hellhole complete with slave markets? Like freedomizing Ukraine into a Westernized failed state who’s youth can’t flee fast enough? Like supporting the Saudi Caliphate’s ISIS project, or maybe the occupation and genocide in Yemen? Yeah, I wouldn’t worry to much about US officials – they seem to have the whole ‘American values’ part nailed.

    “…The U.S. can address the cyber domain. “We can do this,” the general said. “We have the structure a know-how to dominate in this domain, but it requires a focused effort and repetitions matter…”

    Hah! Good luck wrestling it from the Israelis. You know – those same guys that compromised the entire US telecom system and saw every call because they owned/ran the billing systems? The same guys that sold you the internet exchange switches riddled with back-doors, and the same guys that have their secret op codes in damn near every other communication chip out there? I think you’re a little late to the ‘dominate’ party, General. How about ‘well-cucked’ for second place?

    “…Another guiding principle must be to trust the team. “We must give our commanders the ability to employ cyber at the strategic, operational and tactical levels,” he said. “Tell them the end state and allow them to get after it.”

    Wha… Wh.. What the FUCK?? Do you mean like ‘give them orders’? Christ almighty, General… you’re a regular cyber Sun Tsu. Why are you not running the Pentagon at this very moment?

    “…Like land or sea or air warfare, there must be a campaign in cyber that allows the United States to exploit success, he said…”

    Uh-oh… I think we just found the flaw in your strategy right there, sir. Got a Plan B by any chance?

    “…The United States must work with partners in the cyber domain. “We cannot succeed in an international domain without international and industry partners,” the general said…”

    I got a better plan for ya, General: Get the fuck out of the international domain. The biggest threat to our freedom is right here. See if you can attack and exploit the treasonous dual-citizens that run our government. That would be a big help… seriously.

  • John Mason

    Yeah, saw that movie, some kind of drug injected into body, Van Dam was in it.