On Offer: An Integrated Dashboard for Cyber Warfare

In this Feb. 20, 2013 photo, a cadet works at a large computer display inside a classroom at the Center for Cyberspace Research, where cyber warfare is taught, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

AP / Brennan Linsley

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In this Feb. 20, 2013 photo, a cadet works at a large computer display inside a classroom at the Center for Cyberspace Research, where cyber warfare is taught, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Lockheed previews its response to a Pentagon quest for a tool to coordinate cyber effects in the land, air, sea and space domains.

Called “Henosis,” from the Greek word for unity, Lockheed Martin’s new digital dashboard is meant to give commanders a single interface to organize cyber defense and offense in real time against land, sea, air, and space targets. Henosis is Lockheed’s bid for the Air Force’s Unified Platform competition, for which the service requested $30 million in 2019.

“Like the cyber equivalent to an aircraft carrier, the Henosis prototype could incorporate and integrate cyber effects into multi-domain, air, land, maritime, and space operations,” read a Lockheed press release. “It functions as a command and control battle management visualization tool that coordinates defense cyber operations, offensive cyber operations, and cyber intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”  

The Air Force program reflects the growing military reliance on offensive cyber operations, and the need for better coordination. Various commanders have spoken about how effective and essential such operations were against ISIS. But that group was a far lower-tech threat than, say, China or Russia. In a high-end battle, against an enemy who can launch advanced electromagnetic warfare and cyber attacks, a much wider variety of U.S. military assets would come into play. Hence the urgent need to simplify information flows to launch cyber operations, and enact a defense, at the scale of actual conflict.

Complicating that already-complex battlespace, commanders have said that getting proper permission to run the full gamut of operations has been a problem in the fight against ISIS. The underscores the still-murky definition of cyberwar, questions about when it’s appropriate, what the rules are, etc.. Some aspects of that question relate to policy and can’t be solved by a new software suite. But better streamlining of information — who or what cyber-effect does what operator need where — could allow faster permissions granting around key operations or activities and even provide better, clearer data to help the policy discussion.

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