Archive for the ‘Information Warfare’ Category

US, Moroccan Special Forces Team Up For Inaugural Cyber Training

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

TIFNIT, Morocco – U.S. Army Soldiers with 3rd Special Forces Group (SFG) Tactical Information Support Center, Expeditionary Cyber Team 2, and Royal Moroccan Special Operations Forces (SOF) teamed up to conduct prototype cyber effects training during African Lion 22, June 26, 2022.

African Lion 22, U.S. Africa Command’s largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, June 6 – 30, is a critical opportunity for members of the joint team to build and test their strategic readiness to deploy, fight and win in a complex, multi-domain environment. The cyber training collaboration was the first of its kind and sought to discover how low equity cyber solutions can expand options for key decision makers at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

The cyber effects training included hands-on cyber lab demonstrations using commercial tools and comparing them to less accessible high-tech devices. The lead 3rd SFG trainer described the hands-on training as an ‘opportunity to take cyber security to the field and into the mind of each Service Member in a combat situation.’

3rd SFG endeavors to learn, iterate, and eventually offer flexible cyber options at scale while maximizing the indigenous approach through partner forces.

“By actually shifting the focus of training to the modern combat environment, which is now becoming rapidly digital, you create a more potent, lethal force, moving into the future,” stated a member of 3rd SFG.

Building an understanding of multi-domain digital activities would allow U.S. and partner forces to work with more sustainable equipment and better understand digital threats to their missions.

U.S. Africa Command is ready to provide the necessary resources to advance mutual interests and respond to crisis in Africa because of successfully forged and maintained partnerships and demonstrated operational success.

African Lion 22 is a joint all-domain, multi-component, and multinational exercise, employing a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among participants and set the theater for strategic access. More than 7,500 participants from 28 nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces.

Story by Charli Turner, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

Photo by SFC Katie Theusch, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

AFSOC Incorporates Weapon Systems Cyber Defense in Emerald Warrior 22.1

Friday, June 3rd, 2022


Air Force Special Operations Command recently incorporated defensive cyberspace operations actions, for the first time, into the overall training objectives during Emerald Warrior 22.1.

The exercise fused cyber effects into aircraft operations and employed two mission defense teams, with the cyber defense correlation cell and demonstrated how AFSOC will deploy MDTs to defend weapon systems from cyber-attacks.

The communications and information element within AFSOC developed a realistic scenario to maximize training and awareness of cyberspace threats to aircraft avionics. The identified scenario and events allowed maintainers, cyberspace and aircraft operators, and intelligence and battle-staff members the opportunity to see the impacts of cyber threats to weapon systems, firsthand.

During the exercise, AFSOC staff and MDTs worked with Shift5, a commercial cyber security company, to test and validate a real-time cyber intrusion detection system on an aircraft, and a cyber-incident response software tool within the Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter to assist MDTs in executing cyberspace defense operations.

Shift5’s technology enabled MDTs with the 1st Special Operations Communication Squadron and 27th SOCS, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to test their training, and raised awareness of cyber threats to the operational community.

The MDT with the 1st SOCS included three personnel with the 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida, and two instructors with the 39th Information Operations Squadron. Additionally, the MDT with the 27th SOCS was augmented by three personnel with the 193rd SOCS at Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Pennsylvania.

The Defense Enterprise Cyber Range Environment for Command, Control and Information Systems provided a realistic training environment which challenged the participating MDT’s technical, analysis and mission-planning skills, while being actively attacked and challenged by a cyber-red team with the U.S. Army’s threat system management office.

Members with the 318th Cyberspace Operations Group, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, provided a secure data transport between all players and teams on a closed-looped network.

The scenario involved a flying aircraft experiencing a critical event of unknown origins that exercised numerous operational processes, leading to the discovery of a cyber-threat. During the exercise a sortie reported mission computers failures and performed actions enabling the aircraft to “limp home.” When the plane touched down, maintainers with the 901st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron executed a cybersecurity checklist and MDTs began to work.

The MDT’s actions saved the maintainers from replacing the mission computers, as well as saving the U.S. Air Force $750,000 for each mission computer that would need to be replaced.

With the realistic training incorporated into Emerald Warrior 22.1, impacts of cyber threats to aircraft, and how those threats affect operations and readiness, ensured aircraft maintainers, MDTs and operators remain ready and relevant to cyber-attacks.

Air Force Special Operations Command Communications and Information

Ghosts In The Machine

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Apparently this video has people upset.

Personally, I’m just glad they’re using the term “psywar” again.

NAVWAR Highlights the Power of Information for Modern Warfare at Sea-Air-Space 2022

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) joined commands from across the information warfare (IW) community to discuss the power of information on the modern battlefield at the Navy’s IW Pavilion during the 2022 Sea-Air-Space Exposition at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland April 4-6.

Now in its sixth year at the event, the U.S. Navy IW Pavilion featured a leadership speaker series, an engagement zone and technology demonstrations, with collaboration and alignment at the forefront as a top priority in today’s constantly evolving cyber and technology environments.

During the event, NAVWAR leaders touched on technology challenges, discussing the use of digital engineering, research, development, delivery and sustainment of IW solutions to highlight how the command aims to build a more agile and innovative force that can use information anytime and anywhere by modernizing and better defending information technology (IT) systems.

As a part of the leadership speakers’ series, NAVWAR’s chief engineer, Rear Adm. Eric Ruttenberg, emphasized the need for digital tools and a shift of mindset for their use.

“The future of global maritime superiority is digital and NAVWAR is leading the Navy’s efforts in making that future a reality,” he said. “We have already begun employing world class commercial best practices that deliver faster and more secure information warfare capabilities to the Fleet to ensure the developers, operators, and maintainers have what they need to preserve and extend U.S. maritime leadership not only in today’s operating environment but also in the highly digitized one of the future.”

He went on to explain the process, policy and efficiency efforts that would lead to the end goal of artificial intelligence and machine learning-enabled systems and automated battle management aids for on demand access regardless of the operating setting.

Further, he also addressed the need for a hybrid cloud computing environment to provide the warfighter with any data, at any time, and any place. The advantage to the hybrid cloud concept stems from its integrated and adaptable technology infrastructure comprised of physical data repositories, cloud-based data and applications stored in both public and private clouds, and data applications stored on-premises. Ruttenberg also noted that a hybrid cloud “provides quick access to all necessary data regardless of classification level for ease of cross-domain movement.”

Leaders from Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic reinforced Ruttenberg’s points as they provided an overview of the command to educate attendees on the main priorities and technical areas of the mission.

“Our NIWC Atlantic team is a unique and critical connection point to the warfighter, in that we research, develop, engineer and deliver technology that brings the full power of information to the fight,” said Capt. Nicole Nigro, NIWC Atlantic commanding officer. “To move at the operational velocity required in this domain, we are intensely focused on leading digital practices that include cybersecurity, automation, model-based systems engineering, DevSecOps, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics – areas that ultimately drive data-informed, human-driven decisions necessary for mission success.”

As it has in previous years, the IW Pavilion featured an engagement zone, where attendees had the opportunity to join Navy leaders, program managers and other subject matter experts for informal, sit-down conversations in multiple sessions throughout the three day conference. These dialogues help to connect government and military leaders with industry partners with the goal of improving and modernizing capabilities for the fleet, as quickly as possible.

“As the Navy’s systems command for a warfighting domain that can change in a matter of minutes, it’s critical to give our industry partners clear direction on where we are going, what our needs are, and why,” said NAVWAR Executive Director John Pope. “It’s been extremely beneficial to connect with industry partners, no matter how big or how small, so they can understand how they can contribute to the larger Navy capability picture.”

The IW Pavilion also featured several technology demonstrations that impact Sailors today, including Program Executive Office Manpower, Logistics and Business Solutions’ (PEO MLB) MyNavy Human Resources (HR) IT Solutions, unmanned underwater vehicles from Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Joint Communications Marketplace from the Joint Tactical Networking Center and the U.S. Naval Observatory’s atomic clock.

“MyNavy HR IT Solutions creates and maintains mobile apps that allow Sailors to accelerate and manage their careers through digital solutions,” said Christine Rodriguez, program executive officer of PEO MLB. “Attendees got to experience live, interactive demos of the mobile apps we have developed for the Navy and learned how to get an app added to the Navy App Locker, home to the Navy’s official apps that touch the lives of every Sailor in the Fleet.”

MyNavy HR IT Solutions is one of PEO MLB’s service portfolios, serving as the single IT acquisition agent providing life cycle management supporting the Navy’s human resources IT capabilities.

Hosted by the Navy League of the United States, the Sea-Air-Space Exposition is now the largest maritime exposition in the United States and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League’s mission of maritime policy, education and sea service support.

From Kara McDermott

Air Force Cryptologic Office Establishes New Information Dominance Initiative

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022


The Air Force Cryptologic Office recently established the first Converged Air Force Enterprise Mission (CAFEM) framework to harness total enterprise capacity and deliver information dominance now and for decades to come. 

As one of the new initiatives within the cryptologic component of the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), CAFEM is steering the enterprise away from the platform-centered intelligence analysis standard to a sensor agnostic and problem-centric architecture.  The concept is focused on modernizing the decades-old intelligence production framework and providing Combatant Commands, commanders, and intelligence partners with the necessary agility of analysis. 

CAFEM leverages the full potential within the cryptologic enterprise by connecting analysts working similar mission sets regardless of geographic location, unit of assignment, or Air Force component. The approach insulates missions against fluctuations in manning that might otherwise impede production. It provides a steady-state analytical and reporting capacity against identified missions. At its core, CAFEM is an intuitive methodology designed to center cryptologic Airmen on real-time collaboration and information exchange.

The collaborative ecosystem CAFEM provides is a major benefit to analysts. Here, the most junior and most senior Airmen participate in the same virtual space analyzing problem-sets, which provides a common learning experience for all participants. Centralized participation in CAFEM production also creates a link to cultivate a reporting standard that exceeds current norms and better meets customer requirements. 

The initial design focused specifically on Air Force cryptologic missions and requirements; however, it is scalable to encompass the entirety of the Air Force intelligence community and even joint service or national intelligence production.

As CAFEM becomes the standard for cryptologic analysis and production, it has the flexibility to evolve and grow to harness total capacity against any target-set.  

By Capt Francis Castillo, Air Force Cryptologic Office

AWACS Demonstrates Historic Firsts, Receives and Processes In-Air EW updates in Minutes

Monday, April 11th, 2022

For the first time, the U.S. Air Force’s E-3G airborne warning and control system aircraft, or AWACS, demonstrated the ability to receive and process in-air electronic warfare software updates derived from EW data collected and transmitted while in flight.

An airborne E-3G operated by the AWACS Combined Test Force updated its electronic support measures, or ESM, database in flight over central Texas with a file transmitted from its reprogramming center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, using an existing beyond line-of-site satellite communications system.   

The E-3G collected EW information using its existing ESM system and transmitted the in-flight recorded data to the 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida, using its satellite communications system. This test was conducted by 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 1, at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, aligning with their mission to field innovation and develop tactics for the AWACS community.

“While most airborne EW systems provide self-protection, the primary purpose of the E-3G’s ESM system is to provide situational awareness, combat identification, and threat warning for the rest of the assets in theater. Modern advanced radars are increasingly digital and can adapt faster than ever before, and the mission data update process needs to adapt along with it,” said Maj. Jesse Snook, 605th TES, Det1 air battle manager.

Snook continued, “The E-3G has demonstrated its ability to exchange near real-time electronic warfare information with the experts on the ground and feed that information back into the fight immediately.”  

Within an hour, the 36th EWS processed and analyzed the E-3G’s data, corrected deficiencies observed in the data, and transmitted the updated file back to the E-3G for immediate loading during the mission. The in-air update and in-air flight data transmissions were firsts for the E-3G. In addition, the concept referred to as Airborne Cooperative EW Integrated Reprogrammable Exchange, or ACEWIRE, was devised as a first step to accelerating antiquated reprogramming processes for the E-3G and the assets under its control.

“These are significant events,” said Col. Adam Shelton, 505th Test and Training Group commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida. “Our capability to detect, discover and defend ourselves against hostile threat systems is tied to our ability to quickly update software, especially mission data files, and there is a tactical demand to do so.”

The test was made possible using the E-3G’s upgraded satellite communications system called Internet Protocol Enabled Communications, or IPEC, in conjunction with the more modern and flexible mission computing system on the E-3G. The proof-of-concept test demonstrated the E-3G’s ability to adapt to new threats and facilitate the compressed mission data reprogramming timeline required for success in the future fight. 

“The E-3G has to continuously evolve and find ways to adapt legacy technology for the future fight, and ACEWIRE is a great example,” said Lt. Col. Dameion Briggs, 605th TES, Det 1 commander, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. “The next step is to build on this concept within the E-3G community and work with other airborne platforms to use IPEC and existing datalinks to provide in-air updates for other platforms.”

The test also served as a valuable exercise for the 36th EWS as part of the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing, activated in 2021 on Eglin AFB, Florida. The 350th SWW is focused on its mission to deliver adaptive and cutting-edge electromagnetic spectrum capabilities that provide the warfighter a tactical and strategic competitive advantage and freedom to attack, maneuver and defend.

“The E-3G has completed a process that used to take days or months in a matter of minutes. This aligns perfectly with CSAF [Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. C.Q.] Brown’s imperative to Accelerate Change or Lose that applies to software update processes as much as it applies to hardware upgrades and new platforms,” said Lt. Col. Carly Sims, 605th TES commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The AWACS CTF is comprised of the 96th Operations Group, Det 2, and 605th TES, Det 1, which are responsible for the developmental and operational testing of new hardware and software on the E-3G. The 96th OG, Det 2 at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, is part of the 96th OG and 96th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida. The 605th TES, Det 1 at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, and the 605th TES are a part of the 505th TTG and 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Story by Deb Henley

505th Command and Control Wing

Public Affairs

Photo by Kimberly Woodruff

Air Combat Command Stands Up Information Warfare Training and Research Initiative Detachment

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

ACC co-leads effort to hone Information Warfare readiness


Air Combat Command stood up a new organization to accelerate information warfare training and research on March 22, 2022, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

This new Information Warfare Training and Research Initiative Detachment, a subordinate unit of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, will conduct IW training and research events to addresses the growing importance of operations in the information environment and the electromagnetic spectrum, as they relate to strategic power competition.

The 55th Wing, Detachment 1 will also have operating locations at the 67th Cyberspace Wing, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and Offutt.  

For the last three years, Air Combat Command, Air Force Research Laboratory, Secretary of the Air Force Concepts, Development and Management, and several academic organizations have been experimenting to change the way the Department of the Air Force conducts IW training and research. This resulted in the creation of a hybrid, wing-level organization to connect IW Airmen from multiple locations to accelerate readiness through training and research initiatives through its next phases of development.

These efforts are, in part, a reflection of recent DAF leadership directives on range modernization, Live-Virtual-Constructive efforts, Information Warfare planning and guidance, and Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority strategies, among others.   

The group organized and executed 22 IW-focused events that spanned the globe, bringing together Airmen, Guardians, joint forces and members of academia and industry to rapidly innovate, experiment and accelerate readiness. Integrating elements and capabilities enables the team to re-think traditional training and research models. 

The team supports IW experts by designing and building training environments and linking Airmen across the world to enable operators and researchers to experiment, test and train in the information environment and electromagnetic spectrum. This approach does not detract from other organizations who are working these efforts, but rather helps accelerate their work.  Additionally, each event provides IW-focused training and research to support a larger Air Force mission, such as air superiority; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. 

“We’ve adapted a ‘build, learn, correct, repeat’ model,” said Col. Christopher Budde, chief of ACC’s information warfare division. “We are experimenting with sustainable processes and events in quick succession to scale conceptual ideas, operationally test them, then integrate these processes across the larger federated enterprise.”

This model offers several advantages over traditional events, which are often infrequent and focused on different training audiences with different objectives. This approach gives IW teams the training and research repetitions they need to excel in other major exercises. The quality of the events increases with each iteration and helps increase readiness among IW Airmen and the rest of the Air Force as each event exposes more communities to understanding how IW supports the Air Force missions.  

“The distributed nature of the events means they can be conducted more frequently, can be ongoing, and members can participate in multiple iterations,” said Budde. “If a unit is unable to participate in an event, they can jump back into a future iteration when available, but the challenges in the information environment continue and the teams have to respond with the capabilities available.” 

The “build, learn, correct, repeat” model also enables accelerated learning and engagement between operators, researchers, and academic teammates.  

“Because of the relationship we’ve established with the Air Force Research Laboratory and academic organizations, they help plan and participate in each event,” he said. “This allows the operators to provide immediate feedback, so research and operational efforts move faster at a decreased cost.”

In the most recent event, IW Airmen from 34 organizations and teams across 23 geographically separated locations integrated their capabilities within an ISR centric mission. In each event, Airmen are identifying more application and potential, so the concept, players and capabilities continue to grow.
By building environments to test and train IW elements and integrating new tactics, techniques and procedures with existing capabilities, the DAF is preparing for the future of strategic power competition and building the foundations to integrate IW throughout every AF core mission.  

“If we want to be a resolute world power, we must not only compete in the global commons but also compete and win in contested sovereigns,” said Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of ACC. “Most competition, if not all combat, will take place in the electromagnetic spectrum. Focusing our offensive and defensive capabilities in the digitally-enabled domain is critical to honing our lethality in strategic competition.”

By Senior MSgt Jared Marquis and 1st Lt Teri Bunce, Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Pennsylvania Guard First Guard to Field New SIGINT System

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. — The Pennsylvania National Guard is the first National Guard in the country to field the new Tactical Dismounted Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence (TDEWS) system.

Eight Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers trained at Fort Indiantown Gap March 13-17 on the TDEWS, which filled a significant gap in the training of Soldiers in the intelligence Military Occupational Specialties. Signals Intelligence advisers from the Army National Guard Technical Control and Analysis Element and the Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Program of the Mission Training Complex facilitated the training.

“This system adds a huge amount of value to our intelligence capabilities,” said Warrant Officer Trevor Burgess, a signals intelligence analysis technician with 28th Infantry Division, the Pennsylvania Guard’s senior SIGINT technician. “Soldiers train for six months to acquire the MOS, then when they get to their units here in Pennsylvania, they didn’t have this equipment to train on and the support of full-time subject matter experts that the Army National Guard G2 provides, so this does improve our intelligence capability.”

The TDEWS is a dedicated, all-weather, tactical electronic warfare system providing force protection and situational awareness to commanders at any echelon.

“We went from classroom instruction to hands-on setting up and tearing down the system over and over, to using it in a controlled dismounted environment, and then in the past two days, we’ve been able to pack it up in our special man packs we were issued for the system and actually come out here and work with trainers who built situational training exercise lanes for us to train on,” said Sgt. Emily Rivas, a cryptologic linguist with the 103rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division.

The 56th SBCT will be doing a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, this summer. The training will ensure these Soldiers can employ this new equipment during the brigade’s validation exercise and can execute their mission as they would on the battlefield, Burgess said.

“The thing with this system that makes it so nice for our training is that we’re able to just fire it up and use it whenever we want at any training site,” said Rivas. The previous system required a lot of coordination and approvals, which became cumbersome.

During the recent training at Fort Indiantown Gap, the eight Soldiers were divided into two-person teams to locate trainers posing as enemy forces at a rubble pile. Rivas’ team was the first to locate their target.

“We were able to lock it down really fast, locating the enemy really quickly and let the other teams know where they were and how they were communicating,” she said. “It felt really good to actually be able to see the system working and how it all comes together.”

“As of right now, I’m feeling very good about it,” said Sgt. Joe Falcone, a cryptologic linguist with the 103rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division. “We have a total of eight days so far training on this equipment, just due to the nature of being in the National Guard and that it was only fielded to us at the beginning of January, but every single day I feel leaps and bounds better.”

Falcone said he didn’t feel as comfortable with the device earlier in the week, but this event significantly improved his confidence in advance of the upcoming rotation.

“The NTC rotation will allow the Soldiers to actually utilize the skills that they train hard in, and use that to improve the intelligence footprint, the intelligence picture and make the overall mission a success,” said Burgess.

By SSG Zane Craig, Joint Force Headquarters – Pennsylvania National Guard