Archive for the ‘CEMA’ Category

Cutting Through The Noise: Army, Industry Work Together To Speed Up Signal Detection

Friday, November 16th, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Army Rapid Capabilities Office, or RCO, does things differently. It has to. It’s mandated in its charter and embedded in its culture.

So when it came time for the small acquisition shop to find a way to speed up signal detection, it knew it wouldn’t seek answers using traditional methods.

Instead, the RCO studied commercial models for getting answers quickly and created a “challenge” that gave industry, academia, scientists and other agencies the opportunity to go head-to-head in a competition, with prize money awarded to the top three performers.

The challenge focused on using artificial intelligence and machine learning to speed up the rate at which electronic warfare officers, or EWOs, could sift through the congestion and noise that comes with signal detection. With an ever-increasing number of signals flooding in from satellites, radars, phones and other devices, the signal detection process is no longer efficient in understanding the vast amount of data presented to EWOs on the battlefield.

Soldiers with the Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence Platoon, Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion provide signal intelligence to help the 173rd Airborne Brigade during Saber Junction 18, held in September 2018 in Germany. As more and more signals are captured by satellites, radars and other devices, the signal detection process is no longer efficient in understanding the vast amount of data presented to EWOs on the battlefield. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Josselyn Fuentes)

Within four months of setting up the Army Signal Classification Challenge, the RCO knew mathematically who had the best-performing algorithm.

The challenge also had an unexpected result. By offering an unorthodox method for garnering participation in what would have been a traditional request for information, or RFI, the RCO challenge resulted in the top three prize winners spanning the unconventional by including a federally-funded research and development center, an independent group of Australian scientists and a team from a big business.

“By structuring this as a challenge instead of an RFI, we were able to model what industry does and create something much more hands-on,” said Rob Monto, director of the RCO’s Emerging Technologies Office. “We invited anyone with a possible capability to participate and posted it on and This is very similar to the commercial model of posting on, where data sets are sent out to communities of data scientists who want to compete against one another to determine who has the best solution.”

The RCO’s online challenge offered synthetically generated data based on what could be seen in the electromagnetic spectrum, and challenged participants to prove they had the best artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithm for performing “blind” signal classification quickly and accurately. The challenge was strictly performance-based and open to anyone. Because it was all online and completed in four months, it came with very little cost or burden placed on those participating.

“The response was overwhelming,” Monto said. “We had more than 150 participants from across traditional and nontraditional industry partners, universities, labs and government. As an incentive, we offered $150,000 in prize money.”

Team Platypus from The Aerospace Corp. won first prize in the Army Signal Classification Challenge over the summer of 2018. The team includes (front row, from left) Eugene Grayver, Alexander Utter and Andres Vila; and (back row, from left) Donna Branchevsky, Esteban Valles, Darren Semmen, Sebastian Olsen and Kyle Logue. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy Elisa Haber, The Aerospace Corp)

The RCO announced winners on Aug. 27, 2018. First place and $100,000 went to Team Platypus from The Aerospace Corp., a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally-funded research and development center. Second place, with an award of $30,000, went to TeamAU, made up of a small team of independent Australian data scientists. And third place, with a prize of $20,000, went to THUNDERINGPANDA of Motorola Solutions.

“Having a specific problem that can be worked on by industry, academia and private citizens is a great way to establish and build a community of innovators for this technology area,” said Dr. Andres Vila, an engineering specialist at The Aerospace Corp. and a member of Team Platypus. “This challenge, which extended for approximately three months, was the right balance of having time to formulate a unique and robust solution but also not so long that the team lost urgency to find that award-winning approach.”

The challenge proved a better way to assess industry’s capabilities, instead of using a more traditional RFI and white paper approach, Vila said, calling it “spot on.”

“The challenge arrived at a great time as we were just kicking off this research and the Army had a well-formed problem set and, most importantly, data,” Vila said. “This competition gave us the chance to take our latest innovations and prototypes and apply them to this new customer-curated, hard problem. These types of customer-sponsored competitions provide very focused challenges that give us the confidence that we are using the best technology available to meet their mission needs.”


The idea for the challenge stemmed from the RCO’s partnership with the Project Manager for Electronic Warfare and Cyber, within the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, which recently delivered new electronic warfare prototype systems in response to an operational needs statement from U.S. Army Europe. Soldiers are using the equipment to implement electronic protection for their own formations, to detect and understand enemy activity in the electromagnetic spectrum and to disrupt adversaries through electronic attack effects.

However, in enhancing the signal footprint for EWOs, the prototype systems also brought more data to an already complex electromagnetic spectrum. Through the challenge, the RCO wanted to determine if artificial intelligence and machine learning, or AI/ML, could assist them in digesting that data and sorting through what is and isn’t important.

“We knew industry was already making leaps and bounds in applying AI/ML for image recognition and video recognition, but found that there was very little work being done in this specific area of signal detection,” Monto said. “What we discovered in a very short period of time is that AI/ML could in fact be applied to a data set that could translate to being integrated into an electronic warfare system on the battlefield.”

The idea is to create this application as a layering effect, where artificial intelligence and machine learning does one subset of signal classification for the EWOs, then layers other applications that are more encompassing onto that to give the EWOs a wider range of what they can identify, said Monto.

While the EWOs would remain as the lead for identifying signals of interest and analyzing their impact, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning could help them quickly and accurately detect patterns, identify signals of significance, filter out unwanted signal noise and paint a picture of the electromagnetic spectrum.


The RCO’s Army Signal Classification Challenge began April 30 and closed Aug. 13. After opening registration online, competitors were given access to the training data set, consisting of over 4.3 million instances across 24 different modulations, which included a noise class. (The noise class represents “white” noise to replicate the real-life environment that signals would be detected in, rather than a pristine lab environment.) The effort sought solutions that could perform “blind” signal classification quickly and accurately. Blind signal classification requires little to no prior knowledge about the signal being detected in that specific instance. Instead, the solution would automatically classify the modulation, or change of a radio frequency waveform, as a first step toward signal classification.

The challenge gave participants 90 days to develop their models and to work with the training data sets. That was followed by two test data sets of varying complexity that were the basis for judging submissions. The first data set was released 67 days after the challenge launch, with a solution submission window of 15 days. A second, more complex test data set was released 84 days after the challenge launch, with a shorter submission window of only seven days.

Participants’ scores were based on a combined weighted score for both test data sets. Competitors could see how well they were performing against their peers through a participant leader board that showed scores in real time.

For first-place winners Team Platypus — which participated in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Software Defined Radio Hackfest 2017 and whose name references platypuses’ ability to detect electrical fields with their bills — the challenge lined up perfectly with its core research in artificial intelligence and advanced signal processing.

“We really enjoyed the challenge process, which included the hard problem curation, providing training data and a specific scoring algorithm,” Vila said. “To do this with the highest level of confidence, we had to use a multipronged approach. We built statistics and metrics inspired by communication principles, and we also developed deep learning classifiers that work directly on the raw data. We ended up using several state-of-the-art AI techniques to achieve the winning submission.”

Their technology includes an algorithm trained to identify what kind of signal is present in the midst of a congested radio frequency environment, much like Soldiers would find in an urban core or battlefield where both friendly and enemy radio communications are being detected.


By structuring this effort as a challenge and not going through the traditional RFI process, the RCO proved it could take an industry model and move fast. For its efforts, it is substantially closer to identifying a potential solution that could be applied to battlefield electronic warfare capabilities in the very near future. It also showed the RCO could harness the promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning by applying it to a specific problem. The amount of interest and quality of performance, including from nontraditional organizations, was remarkable.

Now the RCO is quickly moving forward to the next step, with two possible options. First, the RCO could initiate a second, more intense challenge and open it up to only the top performers in the first challenge. Or, the RCO could begin to immediately move the algorithms into the hands of Soldiers through software enhancements to their existing electronic warfare equipment. This would enable the Soldiers to give immediate feedback and enable the Army to incrementally build capability.

Over the next several months, the RCO will begin to advance what was learned from the challenge, potentially prototyping the leading artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms into Army electronic warfare systems.

For more information on the Army RCO, go to

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, Army Rapid Capabilities

NANCY JONES-BONBREST is a public communications specialist for the Army RCO and has written extensively about Army modernization and acquisition for several years, including multiple training and testing events. She holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

This article will be published in the January – March 2019 issue of Army AL&T.

Electronic warfare: A Battlefield on a Different Wavelength

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

ZAGAN, Poland — Soldiers on the ground are now capable of rapidly reacting to electronic and cyber data rather than waiting on their higher echelons.

Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, currently deployed in Poland, are among the first brigades supporting Atlantic Resolve to train on a new system that enables a team to forward deploy and respond to enemy frequencies using new electronic warfare, or EW, technology.

Electronic warfare, known as the battle in the electromagnetic spectrum, relies on data and signals to survey, fight and defend. Collecting enemy radio signals, sensing radar of an incoming threat, and utilizing radio waves to confuse or disable an enemy’s electronic communication methods are all means in which electronic warfare specialist teams strive to train to perfection.

Team members are learning to better operate and integrate EW capabilities, including the VROD, VMAX and Raven Claw. The VROD and VMAX are part of the backpack system that surveys the field from an electromagnetic perspective and delivers limited electronic assault capabilities such as signal interception and jamming. Raven Claw, a mobile computer system, offers on-the-ground planning and management without any network connection.

“These teams are tied to surveying the battlefield, going out with the scouts and being the lead elements,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Wheeler, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the electronic warfare section, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “We’re using it for real-time information.”

Utilizing both dismounted and mounted systems allows forward deployed Soldiers to act on electromagnetic information as they receive it.

“Having it [EW technology] at this level helps a local commander make more EW type decisions,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Benjamin Donahue, an electronic warfare noncommissioned officer assigned to 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “If you have it at only the high echelons, you’re waiting on a report to come down later, versus something you can do right now.”

Though Ironhorse Soldiers did not have the opportunity to train on the equipment before their rotational deployment across Europe, they quickly brought themselves up-to-date.

“We never saw it before we came out here,” said Wheeler. “We had a month of training at Grafenwoehr, Germany. In the future, you would train before coming out. We’ve got a good handle on it.”

Later this year, Soldiers in the electronic warfare field, in addition to the entire 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, will put their training to the test at Combined Resolve XI, a multinational training exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels Training Area, Germany.

Story By SGT Lisa Vines

Photos by SFC Craig Norton

MCTSSA Tests Marine Corps Network to Make Cyber Systems Stronger

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.—Command and control must be assured anywhere the Marine Air Ground Task Force operates, which requires in-depth testing to deliver success on the battlefield.

Cyber security experts and engineers from Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity recently tested various systems within the Marine Corps Enterprise Network, or MCEN, to assess interoperability and cyber resiliency.

“MCTSSA started executing mission-based systems tests as a means to aid Marine Corps acquisition programs in security engineering and ensure our capabilities can perform in cyber-contested environments,” said Jimmy Clevenger, MCTSSA senior principal engineer for Cyber Security.

This mission-based system of systems testing is one of the functions of the MCEN Planning Yard.

The MPY evaluates proposed changes to the MCEN from a performance, interoperability, and cyber security perspective. The MPY testing takes a big-picture approach to validate network processes, provide baseline performance characteristics and conduct an adversarial cyber vulnerability assessment.

“The MPY capability is a great test and analysis service that informs leadership of the impacts imposed on the MCEN’s core services of transport, processing and storage,” said Clevenger.

MCTSSA conducted the cyber resiliency tests in April and May, and delivered a final report of the results to Marine Corps Systems Command programs of record as well as Marine Forces Cyberspace Command and Headquarters Command, Control, Communications, and Computers, United States Marine Corps stakeholders in June.

Specific testing measured the impacts and cyber resiliency of several command and control programs that are connected to the MCEN.

“We collected performance metrics such as network utilization and throughput,” said Paul Tice, MCTSSA technical director. “This enables us to measure the impact of future changes.”

These tests have expanded in size, scope and complexity as MCTSSA looked at different warfighting functions and the systems that support them.

Large scale network tests are a big undertaking, and under the direction of MCSC, MCTSSA formed a federation of technical organizations to aid in the detailed analysis, including: SPAWAR Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic; SSC Pacific; Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division; and Portfolio Manager, Supporting Establishment Systems, Systems Integration Lab.

“System of systems tests are challenging, and we decided to take a crawl, walk, run approach as we developed the current capability here at MCTSSA,” said Clevenger.

MPY testing facilitates the maintenance of the MCEN by enabling a technical evaluation process of proposed hardware and software changes within the MCSC portfolio to determine the impact of those changes to the network.

“The goal of the MPY is to technically evaluate changes to the MCEN before they are introduced,” said Tice. “The idea is to determine whether a proposed change impacts the performance or security posture of the MCEN and recommend mitigation steps before the change is implemented.”

One of the side benefits is enterprise awareness of the changes happening to the network.

“Each program office is extremely busy delivering their particular product to the MAGTF, and often don’t have time to see what is changing in the other systems that share their environment,” said Tice.

This strategic look at the MCEN aids future planning and gives a better understanding of current network capability.

“We have established a measurement of the Marine Corps’ Aviation C2 systems’ impact to the MCEN and have preliminary formulas that can estimate the bandwidth required for these systems in a Tactical Air Operations Center role,” said Darren Spies, test director for MCTSSA’s Test and Certification Group. “For future planning efforts of the MCEN, this information will be useful when gauging further impacts of modifications made to existing systems or incorporating any future systems into the architecture.”

By evaluating the impact of various C2 tools on the MCEN, MCTSSA provides the data leaders need to deliver a C2 environment for tomorrow’s Marine Corps today.

MCTSSA, the only elite full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity personnel tested various systems within the Marine Corps Enterprise Network as part of the MCEN Planning Yard 18-1 event. MCTSSA started executing mission-based system of systems tests as a means to aid programs of record in security engineering and cyber resiliency. (U.S. Marine Corps illustration by Jennifer Sevier)

By Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA

Army’s BCT Cyber Teams to Double in Size

Monday, August 13th, 2018

WASHINGTON — Combatant commanders are increasingly getting better support in the cyber domain thanks to a diverse group of problem solvers, said Lt. Col. Wayne A. Sanders.

Sanders, chief of the Cyber-Electromagnetic Activities Support to Corps and Below Program, U.S. Army Cyber Command, spoke Aug. 2 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Cyber Hot Topics panel.

Sgt. Camille Coffey (on the antenna), Spc. Victorious Fuqua (on the computer), and Spc. Mark Osterholt, all cyber operations specialists from the Expeditionary Cyber Support Detachment, 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion (Cyber), from Fort Gordon, Ga., provided offensive cyber operations as part of the Cyber-Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) Support to Corps and Below (CSCB) program during the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, National Training Center Rotation 18-03, Jan. 18-24, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Steven Stover)

After each of the past 10 combat training center rotations and numerous deployments, these problem-solving cyber operators have been learning something new each time and are improving and integrating better with the staff of the maneuver commanders, he said.

As a result of learning from those 10 CTC rotations and lots of assessments from the Cyber Center of Excellence and other commands, a determination was made to double the size of cyber teams supporting brigade combat teams from five personnel to 10, he said.

Each of those teams will be led by a major who has a “17B Cyber Electromagnetic Activities Officer – Electronic Warfare” military occupational specialty, and a captain, with a “17A Cyber Operations Officer” MOS, he said. Teams will include offensive and defensive cyber, as well as electronic warfare and information operations Soldiers.

Soldiers from the Expeditionary Cyber Support Detachment, 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion (Cyber), provide offensive cyber operations in support of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during a seizure of a town at the National Training Center during Rotation 18-03 on January 18, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. Adam Schinder)

The other big development is that the secretary of the Army authorized the creation of a cyber warfare support battalion, he said. Initial operational capability for that battalion will be in fiscal year 2019, which begins in October.

The battalion will go after gaps in cyber against peer threats, he said. Those personnel will find the software and hardware solutions that will make the cyber teams more innovative and expeditionary.

Sanders said that in every single operation that cyber teams are a part of, they learn something new during their forensic analysis of attacks. That information is then shared with cyber teams throughout the Army.

A lesson learned could be about a new tactic or technique used in a cyber or electronic warfare attack, he said. Or, it could be about something totally unrelated.

He provided an example. During a recent deployment, the cyber team assigned to the maneuver commander found out after hitting the ground that transportation was not readily available. “We weren’t a known entity to anyone,” one of the Soldiers said. The lesson learned was to integrate early into the operations planning process and attend home-station training prior to going to the combat training center.

Soldiers of the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade embedded with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, establish a location to conduct cyberspace operations during Decisive Action Rotation 18-08 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 6, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Storrier)

Brig. Gen. William Hartman, deputy commander, Joint Force Headquarters, U.S. Army Cyber Command, looked back on the brief history of cyber. Just a few years ago a cyber team of four Soldiers was invited to their first combat training center rotation. There wasn’t Internet set up, so it was impossible to conduct realistic training.

On the next rotation, 35 cyber operators were able to surveil enemy targets at 900 meters, he said. On subsequent rotations, that improved to 5 kilometers, giving the maneuver commander the ability to see cyber activity around him from inside the tactical operations center.

Hartman noted that besides being really good at what they do, cyber operators need to know how to communicate to the maneuver commander and his staff in language they can understand.

Col. Paul T. Stanton, commander, Cyber Protection Brigade, oversees 20 cyber protection teams.

“We understand the ones and zeroes and the complexity of the systems we’re defending,” he said. “We develop interesting and novel algorithms, sometimes on the fly in order to analyze the data in a meaningful way to defend the network.”

Having said that, there are limitations to defending the network at the tactical edge, he noted. There are just 2 megabits of bandwidth per second available at the tactical edge, compared to many times that available at home station.

That means there’s limited bandwidth for those systems at the tactical edge, but the upside to that is there’s a smaller footprint, meaning it’s harder for the enemy to find and target the cyber team’s activities.

Frank Pietryka, director of Information Operations, Electronic Warfare Systems, Raytheon, said that 2 megabits of bandwidth might be okay today, but as artificial intelligence and machine learning take hold, operators at the forward edge of the battle area are going to need “more horsepower.”

By David Vergun, Army News Service

New DoD Policy Prohibits GPS Tracking in Deployed Settings

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan recently issued a memorandum prohibits the use of GPS enabled personal devices while deployed. These include physical fitness aids, applications in phones that track locations, and other devices and apps that pinpoint and track the location of individuals.

During a media event last week, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning III told reporters, “Effective immediately, Defense Department personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on government and nongovernment-issued devices, applications and services while in locations designated as operational areas,” adding they, “potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.”

Commanders may apply the rule to other areas as well but may also make exceptions, but only after conducting a thorough risk assessment.

The concern is that the data collected by these devices is vulnerable to access and exploitation by unauthorized personnel. These could be criminal threats as well as enemy.

Army Electronic Warfare Prototypes Reach First CONUS Brigade

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

This article discusses the fielding of EW Systems to the 1st Infantry Division. However, similar systems have also been fielded to the European-based 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade. In fact, those forward deployed systems have been used to conduct the first live Electronic Attack scenarios since the end of the Cold War.

FORT RILEY, Kan. — For today’s commander, having a clear picture of the battlefield is almost as much about understanding the electromagnetic spectrum as is it about reading a map.

To better equip and train brigades to compete against near-peer adversaries with sophisticated electronic warfare, or EW, capabilities, the U.S. Army recently delivered new EW prototypes to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division ‘Devil’ Brigade, marking the first unit stateside to receive the systems after completing fielding to select Europe-based units in February.

Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Perez, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities section, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, points toward a nearby objective during the final day of training with his section’s new electronic warfare equipment at Fort Riley, Kan. The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division is the first unit stateside to receive the systems after completing fielding to select Europe-based units in February. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael C. Roach, 19th Public Affairs Detachment)

The training in the United States prepares the units for future potential deployments where they will use the new technologies in theater, and helps spread updated electronic warfare technology, knowledge and tactics throughout the force.

“This is really driving us to answer the question, ‘how do we, as EW professionals, get better tactically?'” said Warrant Officer 1 Christopher Mizer, an electronic warfare technician with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. “Up until recently, the EW sections have been mostly planners on the brigade and battalion staffs, as well as the higher level. Now, our EW Soldiers can effectively move and maneuver and support the other warfighting functions with equipment on the ground, and that’s really driving us in how we train from here on out.”

This integrated package of EW capabilities, consisting of mounted, dismounted, and command and control systems for electronic sensing and jamming, were fielded to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley in March. In May and June, the unit’s electronic warfare officers, or EWOs, had a chance to use the equipment at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, located in California’s Mojave Desert.

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Robinson (left), Electronic Warfare noncommissioned officer in charge, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, works alongside Staff Sgt. Susan Bradbury, Electronic Warfare noncommissioned officer, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, during the final day of training with their new electronic warfare equipment at Fort Riley, Kan. in April 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael C. Roach, 19th Public Affairs Detachment)

Yet instead of working alongside the rest of their brigade at the NTC, which will come later this year, the EW Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division were at the NTC to participate as part of the Opposing Force, or OPFOR. The EWOs were able to push the equipment during operational scenarios by electronically locating the “blue” or friendly forces on the battlefield, passing that information to the OPFOR commander and even applying some jamming effects against the friendly forces.

“This was our initial test of the equipment away from home station in a realistic operational environment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Robinson, electronic warfare non-commissioned officer in charge with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. “When our brigade goes to the NTC later this year we’ll be able to integrate the equipment within our organic brigade, using the equipment in the same environment but this time against the OPFOR.”

The systems are prototypes that serve as an interim solution until the Army’s enduring EW programs of record can be fielded. Together, they provide electronic protection, as well as the ability to detect and understand enemy activity in the electromagnetic spectrum, and disrupt adversaries through electronic attack effects.

“Recognizing this is a prototype system, it is still a step in the right direction,” Mizer said. “We haven’t had a system within the electronic warfare community that looks at the electromagnetic spectrum and forces Soldiers to think through what they are seeing, how that affects their commander’s mission, and how they can affect the spectrum to enable the commander.”

The Army Rapid Capabilities Office and Project Manager EW & Cyber developed and delivered the prototypes in response to an Operational Needs Statement from U.S. Army Europe. The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division is the first brigade to receive the equipment and train with it in the continental United States. Units in Europe, including the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade and 2nd Armored Brigade, 1st Infantry Division were provided the equipment and have also used it operationally in exercises this spring, including Saber Strike and the Joint Warfighting Assessment.

Together these units in Europe, and now the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, are adapting electronic warfare techniques for the brigade and below and providing valuable feedback on how to employ or “fight” the systems on the battlefield. The prototype fielding and training has also provided a chance for the different units to examine how to task organize cyber and electronic warfare personnel as they integrate the systems within their formations.

“If we did nothing electronic warfare-wise until we actually field a program of record EW system, we would be significantly farther behind,” Mizer said. “We wouldn’t know how to integrate them, operate them, maintain them or fight those systems when we get them. This is really informing that process. It’s forcing our EW Soldiers to look at the intellectual problem of determining how you fight an EW system. That’s something the Army hasn’t really done in almost three decades.”

That input is helping to feed information back into the enduring solutions. This approach, where the RCO worked with the program of record developer PM EW&C to adapt existing systems and incorporate emerging technologies to provide new EW effects and meet an emerging threat, enabled the Army to rapidly move an interim solution to the field in 12 months. The Army will continue this phased fielding approach, which incrementally builds EW capability through direct Soldier input and as new technologies are made available.

At the NTC, for example, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Soldiers were able to work directly with equipment developers on improvements to the systems, some of which could be incorporated over the next several months.

“We were able to work with the engineers and identify items that needed to be fixed,” Robinson said. “We expect some improvements shortly before we take the equipment back to our brigade’s rotation at the NTC later this year. We did point out that the systems need a more user-friendly interface and improvements are needed with the integration between the mounted and dismounted systems so we can get better end results from the information we’re receiving.”

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, U.S. Army

Cyberspace-Electromagnetic Activities Program Builds Maneuver Unit Readiness

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Cyber warriors from U.S. Army Cyber Command and its 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber), 1st Information Operations Command, and the Army Cyber Protection Brigade, are supporting 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division training and readiness as part of ARCYBER’s ongoing Cyberspace Electromagnetic Activity, or CEMA, Support to Corps and Below, or CSCB, program.

A Soldier with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, launches an RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle during Decisive Action Rotation 18-08 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 3, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Dana Clarke)

Under CSCB, Army Cyber elements have been providing the 3rd Brigade Combat Team with cyberspace support during its train-up and current participation in Decisive Action Rotation 18-08 at the National Training Center here.

The CSCB initiative, which has supported select BCT rotations at the Army’s Combat Training Centers since 2015, improves readiness by helping Army maneuver units to integrate CEMA into their processes and operations. The program embeds cyber warriors into a brigade’s CTC preparation and training to develop unit cyberspace capabilities, requirements, planning and operations and integrate cyber with its multi-domain operations initiatives and key related warfighting processes such as intelligence, reconnaissance, communications, electronic warfare and information operations.

Soldiers of the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade embedded with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, establish a location to conduct cyberspace operations during Decisive Action Rotation 18-08 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 6, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Storrier)

CSCB helps Army maneuver units to leverage networks as a warfighting platform and a key organic element of multi-domain operations in an increasingly complex and technical battlespace without borders. The program improves the readiness of Army maneuver units to defend cyber key terrain and exploit cyberspace opportunities in response to real-world contingencies. It is also helping the Army to develop cyberspace requirements and capabilities, define and integrate operations in a rapidly evolving warfighting domain, and build the understanding that protecting people, systems and networks from attacks in cyberspace is a shared responsibility of commanders at all levels.

Col. Robert Magee, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, discusses his brigade’s operations and the integration of cyberspace operations into its concept of maneuver with Military Times reporter Mark Pomerleau in an interview during the 3rd BCT’s participation in Decisive Action Rotation 18-08 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 6, 2018. To enable and develop the cyber capabilities of brigades training at NTC and merge cyber effects into BCTs’ approach to multi-domain operations, elements from U.S. Army Cyber Command’s ongoing Cyberspace Electromagnetic Activity Support to Corps and Below program provide tactical cyber forces and incorporate cyberspace planning into brigade mission command and decision-making processes. Embedded with the brigades during their training rotations, cyber warriors both become part of the BCT’s operational force and enable its staff to unite cyber efforts with key related warfighting disciplines such as intelligence, reconnaissance, communications, electronic warfare and information operations. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Storrier)

“The bigger picture is that at the corps, division and brigade levels, having that (CSCB) team embedded into the formation will allow me to leverage some other assets, which will potentially effect and decisively change the situation on the ground,” said 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander Col. Robert Magee.

By U.S. Army Cyber Command