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Archive for the ‘CEMA’ Category

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