The Navy Cryptologic Cyber Warfare Community Vision, dated Feb. 8, is scant on details and rich in generalities, but makes clear the importance of information warfare in the future and the imperative of dominating in this space, which in many cases includes daily operations.
It notes the Navy must win complex information sphere challenges “in a battlespace of close, continuous contact against multiple adversaries while facing complicated challenges and unanticipated problems.”
Military leaders have been beating the drum that information warfare is occurring every day, despite no declared physical conflict.
“Information is increasingly a weapon of choice amongst our strategic competitors,” Capt. Bryan Braswell, commanding officer, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Pacific, and one of the vision’s authors, said in a Feb. 27 release. “Space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum are more interconnected and interdependent and our ability to agilely maneuver in and through them are critical to denying our competitors’ operational advantages. We must excel at warfare in those battle spaces to win."
Vice Adm. Timothy White, commander of 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, candidly offered that the vision document is just a start.
“Like our community itself, it isn’t perfect. We need to be real with ourselves and understand that,” he wrote. “We do not exist alone nor operate in isolation. We are part of a greater community, the Information Warfare Community, and that community is better together; more resilient, robust, ready, and lethal when integrated.
The Navy’s information warfare force, much of which exists at 10th Fleet, includes cyberspace operators, signals intelligence and electronic warfare. These forces must “operate as a fully integrated part of the Information Warfare Community (IWC) by optimizing combat power through integrating the elements of Assured Command and Control (AC2), Battlespace Awareness, and Integrated Fires. To do this, we must coalesce with all elements of the IWC — intelligence, METOC, communications, cryptology, and cyber warfare engineers” to support and defend U.S. interests, the document states.
The chief of naval operations released an updated version of his 2016 strategy for the Navy in December titled “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority Version 2.0.” The document charts a path for how the Navy will compete against near-peer competitors, with a critical component being the information domain.
Following this vision, Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, the Navy’s top information warfare officer, told C4ISRNET how the Navy is building on over a decade of work in the information space, such as the creation of the Naval Information Warfighting Development Command.