U.S. Training and Doctrine Command hosted representatives from the German Army to share an opportunity to exchange ideas on the new Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) Concept at Ft. Eustis, Virginia on March 30,2017. Pictured are Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center (center, seated), and Col. Klaus Nebe, Commander of the German Army Main Liaison Staff in the U.S. (center, standing) as they discuss multinational implications associated with MDB. Warfighting function subject matter experts from Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) and the German Army Liaison Staff identified and discussed challenges and opportunities presented by MDB and multinational operations in the future. (Photo by: Command Sgt. Maj. Lutz Koys, German Army)
Archive for March, 2017
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — Several Latin American nations are modernizing their armored vehicle fleets, including Peru, which may soon finalize a sales deal with the U.S. to purchase Stryker vehicles.
The threat from “illicit networks” in Latin America continues to grow. And armored vehicle modernization efforts by partner nations there will play a part in combating the threat — but the deals must be done right, said the deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command.
Latin American nations like Colombia, Brazil, and Peru, for instance, are demonstrating the right way to modernize existing fleets of armored vehicles, including training and doctrine packages, said Lt. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo, deputy commander, U.S. Southern Command, during a conference here on armored vehicles.
Columbia, DiSalvo said, is now in its fifth year of a 15-year plan to modernize its armored vehicle fleet, which includes the Light Armored Vehicle family of infantry fighting vehicles.
“They are striving to get a combined arms combat capability right now,” DiSalvo said.
He characterized Colombia’s efforts to modernize their fleet as a “well-thought-out total system development of a legacy platform,” that they expect will last them another 30 to 40 years. “They are getting the institutional side of the house in foundation right now, with their doctrine and training.”
Colombia’s neighbor, Peru, he said, is on a similar path with their own vehicle modernization effort. They are “on the verge of signing a letter of acceptance for foreign military sales for Stryker vehicles.” It’ll be the first FMS deal for the Stryker vehicle, he said.
“They are doing a very prudent approach in accounting for the total system,” he said. That includes consideration of training, doctrine and sustainment.
And Brazil, he said, is active in upgrading some legacy systems as well, such as their M113 armored personnel carriers, and M109 howitzers.
“They know they have got to adjust the doctrine side, the training side, and the personnel side of the house,” he said of Brazil. “We’re seeing good examples here of smart modernization that’s within budget and that will hopefully be successful for a legacy platform that will last them years out.”
According to DiSalvo, the threat of state-on-state military action in Latin America is negligible. The real threat, he said, comes from the “illicit networks” operating there and “the ability of these networks to move the drugs.” Included as part of that threat are gangs, special-interest alien movement, foreign terrorist fighter flow, illegally armed groups, and mass migration.
“There are a bunch of different activities that go to undermine the security and governance and stability within Latin America — all because of the existence of these illicit networks,” he said.
Illicit mining operations also threaten effective governance and the environment in Latin America, he said, including mining operations for gold and other minerals. “Right now that’s generating more illicit revenue than the drug trafficking,” he said. “It’s a huge concern, plus the environmental damage being done, all pose a serious threat to the region.”
Considering the threats they face and their needs in combatting them, governments in Latin America should look to wheeled armored combat vehicles, he said.
Already, nations in Latin America have such capability: the Swiss-designed Piranha, the Brazilian-made Cascavel, the Russia-made BTR, and the American-made Humvees, for instance. But the technology, he said, is old. “Right now, it probably isn’t sufficient enough to do what is necessary for the survivability, maneuverability, and lethality to go ahead and degrade the [illicit] networks for them.”
Such vehicles, he believes, will need to operate in a range of complex environments, like mountains, deserts and jungles.
When partner nations in Latin America are looking to modernize their capability, he said, consideration must be given not just to the hardware, but also the training, doctrinal changes and sustainment. “The whole bit,” he said. That requires a commitment to a long-term plan.
In the past, he said, the standard for buying gear or for modernization of existing gear, was to field a system and then let the training and military occupational specialization and maintenance training “catch up later.”
But now, he said, partner nations know they have to “build that doctrinal base and training foundation first. There is progress being made for that now, and the professional education on that.”
DiSalvo warned against modernization “on the cheap.”
Dealing with the United States for foreign military sales isn’t inexpensive, he said. But partner nations in Latin America should resist the temptation to do modernization “the easy way,” which might involve buying equipment from other nations that don’t provide the training, support, and partnership that comes with buying from the United States.
If they go that route, he said, the “good news” is that they’ll get gear quickly. But the bad news is that “it won’t be a total-systems-type program.”
Such systems might initially be operational and meet partner nation needs, but “when you don’t have the sustainment, the training, or the legacy infrastructure to support [those] systems … you probably just bought a 30-ton paperweight 10 years down the road. You’ve added another variant to an already too-many-fleeted program, which will make it impossible to sustain, and you’ve done nothing to get that legacy system you can afford for 30 to 40 to 50 years.”
Buying on the cheap, he said, “in zero to five years it seems advantageous, but in the long run it winds up being counterproductive.”
Modernization for ground combat vehicles in Latin America, DiSalvo said, must be “a very deliberate process.” What the Army tells partners is that “you have to commit to an investment” when it comes to modernization, and U.S. platforms, he said, will provide a “total system.”
FORT STEWART, Ga. – The Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) Platoon of Delta Company, 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division launched RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in support of 2nd IBCT battalion field training exercises at Evans Army Airfield near Fort Stewart, Georgia, Jan. 22 – 29.
The RQ-7 Shadow UAV can determine vital information such as enemy location, size and activity. Additionally, the Shadow can provide other valuable functions that enable an organization’s understanding of the operational environment.
However during recent training, the UAS platoon provided surveillance and communication retransmission capabilities to support the brigade’s infantry battalions making training more realistic for ground commanders and for their intelligence section.
“Shadow support to China Focus was a critical element of training that helped prepare the S2 section to integrate assets external to the battalion,” said Capt. Casey Tannreuther, intelligence officer with 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
“UAVs are great force multipliers,” said Sgt. Jacqueline Gross, UAV repairer with the UAS platoon. “When you actually get reports back from the mission and find out they destroyed a target or saw the enemy and they’ve let the ground troops know about that, it’s a really great feeling.”
The UAS platoon gives real-time video feed. Commanders can access the video feed on the one system remote video terminal to receive a direct link to what the UAV sees.
The RQ-7 Shadow UAV is designed to cover a brigade area of interest for up to seven hours at a range of 50-125 kilometers.
“It’s a really rewarding feeling knowing that you’re helping people on the ground and how grateful they are that you’re up there for them,” said Spc. Shannon Strakal, UAV operator with the UAS platoon.
Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s senior enlisted adviser, explains why leadership development is critical to the Soldiers of tomorrow’s Army. Davenport and subject matter experts will discuss noncommissioned officer leadership development during the TRADOC State of NCO Development Town Hall 4 March 30 at 11 a.m. EDT.
Lead from the front, and make the force better for the future. Join the town hall live March 30, and learn more about being a steward of the profession: https://go.usa.gov/xXqYY
Soldiers can also ask questions on TRADOC’s Facebook page or tweet questions to @tradoc using #TRADOCtownhall.
The ever-increasing complexity and interconnectivity of Army tactical networks and mission command systems, along with the requirement for mission assurance in the contested domain of cyberspace, present a unique challenge to operational testing and evaluation (T&E). The challenges in cyber (T&E) stem from several factors, first among them the sheer number of devices and the amount of data they exchange. These, when coupled with the growing size, evolution and complexity of software and the ever-present human factor risks, can make it seem nearly impossible to assess the true cybersecurity posture of our networks.
These challenges call for new and innovative ways to partner for success in cyber T&E, in fact a fundamental change in our traditional approaches. One such successful partnership was evident recently in the teaming of multiple organizations at Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 16.2. During this event in May 2016, the stakeholders charged with developing, testing, fielding and ultimately operating and defending tactical networks and mission command systems took a fresh look at cybersecurity T&E paradigms, including the exchange of information.
These stakeholders included program managers (PMs) from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)), along with testers from the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G-2, and the Threat Systems Management Office (TSMO). Army cyber defenders at the brigade, division and regional cyber center levels completed the team.
Cybersecurity T&E requirements are grounded in DOD Instruction 5000.2, “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System,” and other supporting regulations and directives. The primary purpose of cybersecurity T&E is to determine the operational impact of real-world cyber effects on the unit’s mission. The overall evaluation of a system’s cyber posture is a result of testing across the spectrum of developmental and operational environments, which typically follow the test-fix-test model. The operational test (OT) environment is the most complex and involves linking the system under test to the Soldier operators and defenders in an operational environment, including a representative cyber threat force.
CYBER TESTING STEP BY STEP
The first step to cyber testing during an OT event is a cooperative vulnerability and penetration assessment (CVPA). Cybersecurity professionals evaluate the system to uncover all potential vulnerabilities and threat vectors. The system technical experts, typically program office or field service representatives, and network defenders cooperate fully and work directly with ARL testers to perform a comprehensive assessment. The CVPA typically occurs weeks or months before the actual OT. The results of the CVPA are shared with defenders and owners of the system under test. Then cooperation begins to attempt to correct any cyber deficiencies before the next phase of testing.
The second cybersecurity test event is the adversarial assessment. This “assesses the ability of a unit equipped with a system to support its missions while withstanding validated and representative cyber threat activity.” Additionally, testers are chartered to “evaluate the ability to protect the system, detect threat activity, react to threat activity, and restore mission capability degraded or lost due to threat activity.” In NIE 16.2, cyber operators from the TSMO assumed this adversarial role, attempting to gain access, exploit vulnerabilities and create mission effects on the systems under test.
BLUE VS. RED
In a traditional OT environment, participants maintain a rigid separation of the test audience, known as the Blue Team, and the opposing threat forces, or the Red Team, to preserve the operational realism of the test event. In the cyber domain, this “firewalling” of the red and blue elements historically has led to disappointing and frustrating cyber assessments.
There are several challenges with this traditional model. The primary challenge is a lack of timely detailed feedback on the systems and the efforts to defend them; feedback typically is not available until well after all testing is completed. Without any dialogue among stakeholders, these OT events fail to achieve their full potential in uncovering system vulnerabilities and developing improvement strategies for detection and mitigation. While traditional tests typically achieve the goal of demonstrating the operational risk of cyber vulnerabilities, they fall short of the goal to actually improve prevention, detection and mitigation procedures.
Historically, OT cyber testing has revealed a consistent list of problems: default passwords, misconfigured hardware, poor user behavior and unpatched vulnerabilities. While this is important, much more can and should be learned from these rare opportunities to exercise cyber defense in a realistic environment. When cybersecurity OT finds only seemingly simple issues that surface routinely, it leads to frustration for decision-makers at every level.
The result of “firewalling” key players during cyber OT often results in the system’s PMs discovering the “bad news” far too late in the system life cycle, when making meaningful changes is more costly and time-consuming. The lack of real-time feedback was also a problem for principal decision-makers throughout the acquisition and T&E communities who desired more comprehensive exploration of cyberattack vectors and methods.
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
During NIE16.2, Brig. Gen. Kenneth L. Kamper, then commanding general of ATEC’s U.S. Army Operational Test Command, envisioned a different approach to cyber OT centered on teaming. “We have some very specific goals when it comes to cyber operation testing and protocols that need to be followed for good reasons, but we also ought to be using every opportunity to learn and get better every day,” said Kamper after the event.
Striking that balance was the goal of several partner agencies charged with the conduct of cyber OT at NIE 16.2. The central concept involved much more frequent and results-minded interaction between the red and blue elements. The assumption was that if the network defenders (Blue Team) were provided more information about how the cyber threat (Red Team) was behaving, then they would be in a much better position to prevent, detect, react to and ultimately defeat the cyber threat and restore systems. The result would be a more comprehensive assessment of the cybersecurity posture of systems under test during the condensed testing window of the 14-day evaluation.
The Blue Team met with the Red Team before the event and at the midpoint to discuss what each was seeing on the network. These formative discussions, while somewhat guarded to maintain a spirit of fair competition, were productive in ensuring that the teams were not overly focused on one aspect of the network and systems. At the end of the event, a much more robust and open technical exchange was conducted. This exchange, labeled the “Tech-on-Tech,” was analogous to the after-action reviews that are a staple of the combined arms training centers. Here, both red and blue teams discussed what their plans and actions were during each phase of the test event. The discussion allowed an immediate, in-depth analysis of the action-to-counteraction maneuvering on the network and resulted in lessons learned for both the defenders and those responsible for system engineering and design.
A special feature of this exchange was the presentation of a codified assessment of defenders’ actions against the threat. This evaluation rubric outlined behaviors and criteria along a continuum of observed indicators from the viewpoint of the adversary. The Red Team essentially told the Blue Team how hard the Blue Team made each phase of the threat presentation based on discrete observations of the network security. The feedback from the event was uniformly positive. One observer from the Blue Team stated that he learned more during this event than from all previous NIEs combined. This positive response has prompted decision-makers to further explore and codify this concept for future NIEs and similar cyber test events.
While senior leaders in the test and PM communities push for more opportunities to partner closely in cyber T&E, they are also paying special attention to ensure the integrity and validity of operational realism. In planning future exchanges during OT, caution is warranted in data exchanges among developers, defenders and testers. It is critical that teams not mask system issues, and thus make system performance appear better in a test than it would actually be in a true operational situation, by exchanging too much information. Invalid testing could allow the fielding of substandard equipment, threaten our national security and ultimately cause loss of service members’ lives.
The stakeholders at NIE 16.2 did an excellent job of balancing this need to maintain threat integrity for the system under test with the desire to make systems better through collaboration. While these partnering events were not as robust as exchanges held during training events or Army Warfighting Assessments, they re-established the notion of “one team” and helped break down the “us vs. them” atmosphere that can inhibit positive exchanges and improvement in cybersecurity.
Ensuring that systems are ready for Soldier to rely on them on the battlefield remains the focus of operational testing, and these exchanges helped to meet that end. The Tech-on-Tech discussion, observed by PMs and developers, provided great insight into the test and how systems fared against a representative cyber threat. The content was much more technical than at previous events, covering specific software and hardware vulnerabilities and exploitations. During the final exchange, subject matter experts from the blue and red teams participated in focused discussions with system developers on how to thoroughly improve the system under test.
The initial feedback on these discussions has been very positive. Col. Greg Coile, project manager for the Warfighter Information Network — Tactical, praised the continued partnering initiative. “The insights we gained in near-real time of potential vulnerabilities in the network and applications enabled us to make rapid improvements to continue to harden the network,” Coile said after the event.
A post-test presentation of NIE 16.2 cyber findings, hosted by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications –Tactical (PEO C3T) after a more comprehensive analysis of the event results, discussed various source code and software features that could be modified to enhance security. This review looked at network diagrams and screenshots of trouble areas, among other analysis, and reinforced the spirit of partnership as developers, PM system engineers, various software testers, Red and Blue teams, and PM and PEO leadership worked together to better understand the cybersecurity posture and performance of the tested systems.
After the event, Nancy Kreidler, the information assurance program manager for PEO C3T, summed it up this way: “The follow-on technical exchange between the Red Team and our larger team of security engineers from the program offices was invaluable. It allowed our folks to look at vulnerabilities in a new light and get after some of these challenges in our labs.”
The unassailable truth about cybersecurity is that the discipline is evolving at a rate that challenges our current processes all along the spectrum of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy. If we are to have any chance to surmount this rapidly changing problem, we must be willing to challenge our own culturally entrenched ways of thinking about the problems and refuse to become moored to any idea that limits our overall ability to respond to change and accomplish valid and reliable testing. Partnership among all stakeholders is the key to tackling these difficult problems in a dynamic discipline.
For more information on how programs can succeed through increased partnering between the test and acquisition communities, or to request test team support, go to https://www.atec.army.mil/rfts.html.
This article is scheduled to be published in the April — June issue of Army AL&T Magazine.
TYSONS CORNER, Va. (Army News Service) — Developing technology for a new combat vehicle or other gear should not be the only focus as the Army prepares for future warfare, said the head of the Army Maneuver Center of Excellence.
As the center publishes the Army’s maneuver force modernization strategy, Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley said, collaboration efforts regarding the future of warfare must be in high gear.
Many of those efforts won’t necessarily be driven by new technology, but may instead spark changes in doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities, or DOTMILPF.
“It’s not just about armored platforms,” Wesley said. “It’s about a transcendent strategy that allows us to lift this entire enterprise, which includes industry and also our NATO partners, in order to move into the future rather than to continue to improve on the past.”
The strategy, which had its underlying maneuver concept signed off last month, will provide direction on where work in those areas should go. That could lead to a paradigm shift in what’s being taught at schoolhouses or the restructuring of organizations so the Army can compete against near-peer threats.
“It’s imperative that this entire enterprise collaborates and works together,” he said, speaking Monday at an armored vehicles forum hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. “Otherwise, you’ll have nothing but stovepipes going out and exploring their own ideas without a lens or an azimuth.”
This sort of extreme makeover is nothing new for the Army. In 1981, Gen. Donn Starry, in charge of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, rolled out the Army’s “AirLand Battle” concept, which focused on air support for land forces.
Before doing that, Starry analyzed the Yom Kippur War of 1973, which later became known as the “Starry Study.” The armored battlefields seen in that Arab-Israeli war, coupled with how the Soviet Union was updating its armor fleet, gave Starry and others ideas on how to develop AirLand Battle.
“We were outgunned and outtanked,” Wesley said of that time. “Our competitor (the Soviets) was able to generate and produce countless tanks and artillery pieces.”
Rather than try to keep up with the Soviets, Starry suggested taking a step back and changing how Soldiers would fight in modern battlefields, which were expected to be dense with large numbers of advanced weapons systems.
“With so many threats coming from the Soviets, we had to consider a different solution instead of attempting to go mano a mano, gun-to-gun,” Wesley said.
AirLand Battle ended up changing how Soldiers trained and revamped the Army’s structure, recruiting efforts and materiel development.
“What’s amazing about the Starry Study is … that study ultimately resulted in the Army the United States owns today,” Wesley said.
“It wasn’t something that happened overnight, but it was founded in the analysis of the opponent we were looking at,” he added. “So, we have been here before and we know how to do this.”
Today, the U.S. Army is honing in on another fundamental shift. While AirLand Battle primarily focused on two domains, Army planners predict future battlefields will be more complex, with Soldiers juggling capabilities in the land, air, maritime, cyber and space domains, while maneuvering in a contested environment.
The maneuver force modernization strategy, which is being developed simultaneously with TRADOC’s overall multi-domain operating concept, will look at how Soldiers can fight against these threats in the 2020-2040 timeframe.
Many of the strategy’s ideas are coming from lessons learned involving a familiar competitor: Russia.
Last year, TRADOC started the “Russian New Generation Warfare Study,” which is looking at how the Russian military has fought in Ukraine, using capabilities such as electronic warfare, long-range artillery and unmanned aerial systems.
By 2025, according to Wesley, the Russians are on track to exceed many of the U.S. Army’s capabilities, while having parity in a few others. The U.S. military’s air superiority is also losing ground as near-peer adversaries develop new anti-access/aerial denial capabilities.
“Those days are over,” Wesley said of dominating the airspace. “We are strategically out of position in Europe now.”
Russian advances in cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum are also concerning. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1991, the U.S. Army disbanded all of its electronic warfare capability, while the Russians increased theirs, Wesley noted.
To deal with this, the Army needs to figure out how to deploy semi-independent units with young leaders who can make split-second decisions on their own. While at a conference in London earlier this year, Wesley described this as realizing mission command, a concept the Army has adopted but hasn’t really followed through on, he said.
“[NATO] armies, and in particular, ours, are drunk on information and dependent on permission,” he said. “You have to create training environments where a captain, for example, has to choose to do something that he was told not to do, but is consistent with the intent of the expectation of his higher command.”
Quick maneuvering will also be critical in future warfare, he said, with command posts having to be moved every two hours to prevent troops from being killed.
“Ukrainians are telling us now that you have to be more dispersed and you have to keep moving in order to survive,” he said.
This will require a huge shift from today’s operations in Southwest Asia, where Soldiers typically work out of forward operating bases.
“That’s a far cry from the command posts that we have used for the last 15 years in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “We stayed in the same place for a decade.”
In light of what’s happening today, Wesley said he hopes multi-domain battle can be fleshed out quicker than it took the Army to finally execute AirLand Battle in 1991, almost two decades after the Starry Study.
“We won’t have that luxury,” he said, “because what we’re seeing in the Ukraine right now is that the Russians are fighting in all five domains.”
Reducing bureaucracy and having Army organizations working more closely together, with input from industry and academia, will help shape the future force, he said.
Along with acquisition reform, the Army is also propping up a cross-functional integrated concept development teams to speed up the development of new vehicle prototypes.
“We’re going to push the envelope on that,” Wesley said, while adding that industry partners will play a large role. “Without bold initiatives, you’re not going to be able to change.”
This and other ways of cutting through the bureaucratic red tape will help make any changes be made in a timely manner.
“We have a wonderful Army, but it is a big institution and big institutions create bureaucracy and we want to break that,” he said.
“We have to turn in tighter cycles,” he added, “and if we’re going to turn in tighter cycles there has to be maximum collaboration.”