ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (August 9, 2016) – Failure to change in the cyberspace is a decision to fail.
That was the message from Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, during the opening remarks at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s TechNet Augusta 2016.
The conference enabled attendees, both military and civilian, to understand the challenges the cyber element introduces into a combat arms fight, according to the AFCEA website.
“We need to change the way we look at the problem with cyber. There are no other options,” said Fogarty. “Whether you are industry, academia, government or contract, we need to all contribute to the greater good and provide solutions in the cyber fight.”
Cyber dominance was the general theme at this year’s conference, held in Augusta, Georgia, with an emphasis on innovation, which was echoed throughout the week during multiple panels and engagement sessions.
Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general, Army Materiel Command, spoke of the stark reality of cyber in today’s fast-paced environment, noting that “cyber is the only domain we share everyday with our adversaries.” Via called on the next-generation to help combat the cyber threat and encouraged government and industry to hire both veterans and uniformed military, adding “at the end of the day, it’s all about the Solider.”
To cap off the conference, leadership from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, participated in a panel that looked at the challenges from a cyber-convergence perspective.
The panel, called “Cyber Convergence in Combined Arms Acquisition,” provided CERDEC the opportunity to share its most significant functions and challenges with cyber, while also relating how industry can help.
Kicking off the panel was Gary Wang, Army Deputy Chief Information Office/G6 and moderator for the session. He was joined by CERDEC’s John Willison, Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate director, and Gary Blohm, Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate director, along with four U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command capability managers, or TCMs, for Tactical Radios, Networks & Services, Electronic Warfare and Cyber from the Cyber Center of Excellence.
Wang asked for the CERDEC panelist to look at cyber as a supporting arm, while the TCMs were asked to focus on the threat, and how it translates into requirements and capabilities. “This allows industry to know what we’re looking for,” he said.
Speaking on acquisition, Blohm spoke of architecture and moving away from the standard stovepipe.
“How do we provide the agility, control and access while trying to stay ahead of the threat,” he said. “It’s not about building one size fits all. We need to have a broader conversation with Industry and TRADOC partners and work architecture by breaking down classifications, policies and procedures.”
Innovation and what it means for the Army in the cyber space was the focus for Willison during the panel, emphasizing its importance within the science and technology, or S&T, community.
“One of our priorities in the S&T world is to take a step back from developing near-term capabilities and, in my opinion what might be more valuable, is to inform investment decisions and show what’s possible, in what timeframe,” he said.
Willison talked about three areas of innovation – making the network more expeditionary and addressing both radio frequency and cyber threats – and how events like CERDEC’s Cyber Blitz work toward innovative outcomes for the Solider.
“We’re doing a lot to really root our investments back in the threat,” Willison said. “We’ve had a number of initiatives that are different than your standard way of S&T and instead focus on the experimentation process where lessons learned can immediately affect a Soldier’s mission.”
Photo credit: Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, addresses the audience during the opening ceremony Aug. 2 at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association TechNet 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly White)