Cyber Warfare

Cyber Quest looks to blend cyber with electronic warfare

The Army, which has been honing efforts to incorporate cyber operations and electronic warfare on the battlefield, is planning an exercise next summer to work on converging the two.

The service’s Cyber Center of Excellence, located at Fort Gordon, Ga.,  is looking for vendors to take part in its Cyber Quest 2016, described as a cyberspace operations experiment to assess emerging technologies against documented cyber and electronic warfare capability requirements. The exercise also is expected to help improve capability development and doctrine writing efforts. 

In a notice published on FedBizOpps, the Army said its research and development efforts have shown that user-defined operational pictures can be developed separately for cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, but it still needs to identify technologies that can let those two operational pictures work together.

The Cyber CoE said it wants to explore commercial vendors’ capabilities in cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum situational awareness. One of the primary objectives will be to assess the feasibility of leveraging the current program of record – Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool – as a foundational platform for a converged cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum situational awareness capability. In that scenario, the current cyber situational awareness visualization performance metrics, published in the Draft Information System Capabilities Development Document, would be integrated into the program of record. 

The Quest will be a proof of concept conducted in an infantry brigade combat team tactical operations center environment, the notice said.

The notice also described four cyberspace/electromagnetic spectrum situational awareness key areas of interest, which include visualization, data dissemination, data outputs and interoperability. Data storage/ingest and cost are considered secondary areas of interest that “should be viewed as additional capabilities to the key areas of interest (as applicable),” the notice said.

The Army was sure to indicate that the Cyber Quest will focus only on understanding friendly networks, or what occurs in “blue” space.

Additionally, the notice expressed an interest in tactical radios capable of voice data communications and EW protection. Given reports of heightened peer competitor capabilities from nations such as Russia that have demonstrated advanced jamming in Ukraine recently, this evaluation is timely. “Emphasis will be on tactical radio solutions that can prevent enemy EW capabilities from detecting or disrupting friendly force communications and perform as RF sensors,” the notice said.

More specifically, tactical radio should:

  • Operate from 200 - 2500 MHz.
  • Have anti-jamming capabilities.
  • Automatically discover and operate in unused portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Have direction finding capabilities.
  • Be capable of directing antenna energy to avoid jamming.
  • Be capable of (near) silent operation.

Key response dates include white paper submissions by Nov. 13; convening of a technology selection board from Dec. 8-11; coordinated working groups (three) taking place in January 2016, March 2016 and May 2016; technology integration in June 2016; and pilot/practice mission week and the Quest both taking place in July 2016.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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