Army cyber arm must prepare mentally for what lies ahead

The Army's cyber domain, still very much in development, will benefit from better understanding of people, thought processes and integration of effort.

As the Army Cyber Command continues to take shape since becoming operational last year, there remain policies to establish, doctrine to build and questions to be determined, according to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smith, deputy commanding general for proponency at the command.

For example: What kind of influence does the cyber command provide? If the network is inherently joint, what is the role of Army Cyber Command? Does cyber include the electro-magnetic spectrum?

“These are tough ideas, tough thoughts, and authorities and policies that have to be considered. But we need that debate…inertia is not an acceptable option,” Smith said Aug. 23 at the LandWarNet 2011 conference in Tampa, Fla. 

Although Smith didn’t have all the answers, he said understanding human nature is important to grasping the cyber battlefield and the evolving governance surrounding it.

“Everything that you read or write becomes information that will eventually get electrified…that is the convergence of cyber operations and information operations,” Smith said. “You have to understand the situation well enough to act wisely. The network is the means by which we establish kinetic presence, launch attacks and defend.”

He said a successful cyberspace concept includes an approach to the cyber domain is shaped by evolving organizational constructs and incorporates all perspectives, including intelligence, signals, information, influence, electronic warfare, full-spectrum operations and space and knowledge operations.

Smith said cyber warfare is a game-changer not just in infrastructure, but in the interaction between people and thinking.

According to Smith, the future of Army Cyber Command centers on the development of the cyber force across all aspects of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities.

“We need to ask ourselves, ‘How can we take off the gloves and get to the warrior spirit we need for this fight?’” Smith said. “Cyber infrastructure has to do more than just provide services; we have to be able to see the enemy and understand circumstances. Imagine cyber infrastructure as a coral reef in which you can carry out any number of different operations.”

Still, that infrastructure as a game-changer centers on the marriage of the various disciplines and capabilities, Smith said.

“If this is a game-changer, it’s not because we have added defense to the networks or the full spectrum of capabilities to the warfighter. It’s because we have unified that which has remained nonintegrated, separate and dark,” he said.