The US Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) is working on the doctrine to include cyber attacks as a standard attack option in times of conflict. According to Colonel Thomas Goss, chief of the command’s Strategic Initiatives Group, an Army brigade may call for a cyber attack as it does for a precision-guided bomb.
Brigades will have the capability to coordinate cyber operations, but will not actually have the tools to carry out the strikes. Most likely the Army cyber team will conduct the cyber strike when needed by a requesting brigade:
“As you can imagine, with an emerging domain and an emerging operational dynamic, those authorities are not delegated down to the lowest levels,” Goss said. “If you picture the equivalent of joint fires, somehow we have figured out how a division or brigade commander drops a [Joint Direct Attack Munition] where they want it without giving them an airplane.”
As I have said many times, Cyber Attacks – like other forms of electronic warfare, will just be another tool in the toolbox for our military. Military kinetic strikes mixed with cyber attacks have proven to be a very effective combination. And with the Army already including network warfare scenarios into training exercises, including everything from phishing attacks to full on cyber assault, it looks like we are well on our way of integrating these two types of powerful capabilities.
With the increased need for cyber warriors, the military has been focusing on recruiting young people with computer skills. Recently a general stated that they could possibly even create a modified boot camp experience for those young soldiers that may not be able to complete the physical requirements of boot camp, but could hack SCADA networks.
I really don’t think this would be necessary though as I know several people who had no problem with military boot camp and were exceptional cyber warriors.
It is very encouraging to see the steps that the Army is taking to make America’s cyber warfare teams a competent and integrated force.