The new challenge of cyber warfare ‘
Cyber warfare has become not only a buzzword in defense circles, but also a word that underlies much of what modern combat looks like, with or without bombs, bullets and bandages, now and in. the future.
Dr John Arquilla and his colleagues at the Rand Corporation and the US Naval Postgraduate School scrutinized the interconnected planet and in particular its future battlespace in the early 1990s. Despite initiatives such as the creation of new defense jobs, both in uniform and civilians, and the creation of the United States Cyber Command a decade ago, Arquilla considers cyber-thought among political and military leaders to be potentially fractured or sometimes missing.
Arquilla served as an advisor to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, assisted in the information strategy of former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre during the Kosovo War and consulted General Norman Schwarzkopf during Operation Desert storm.
The NPS Professor Emeritus wrote the recently published book, “Bitskrieg: The New Challenge of Cyberwarfare,” which offers breadth and depth in a small volume of just over 200 pages.
Military Times spoke with Arquilla about the book and what it tries to share with everyone, from the grunt to the general officer and civilian leaders, about how the United States needs to change the way it thinks and its ways. operations.
The following Q&A interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: What do you think of Cyber Command, how it was formed, how it is staffed, used, etc. ?
A: In the past, putting cyber behind the green door slowed down the process of disseminating these ideas across all departments. It accelerated so fast. I am concerned about the high number of private entrepreneurs. I think this is a problem. The military should invest more in bringing uniformed personnel to these housing units.
I understand it’s falling apart now. And at the beginning, there was too sharp a division between offensive and defensive operations. Anything you can learn about good defense can be gained by attacking, and vice versa.
Q: What should every novice military leader to head of department understand about cyber warfare at their level?
A: Every E-1 needs to know that these are sensors, not just shooters. Any sensitive site operation can create an information opportunity. In addition, everyone is a transmitter. Your smartphone probably contains 20 apps to tell where you are. Mission Control information is absolutely necessary. Know that everyone is in the information age. Military organizations are sensor organizations, not just gun organizations. The activity of detection is complemented by the realization that every individual at some level is a sender of information.
Mid-career military personnel don’t need to be computer geeks, but they need to understand themselves as information managers. Make sense of all this information. What is relevant for the situation I am facing?
At higher levels, G1 + must ensure that these links of sensors and information are linked to questions of organization and advanced doctrine. And create the next AirLand battle.
Q: There are a lot of references to distributed maritime operations, multi-domain operations, and other new concepts of warfare. How does “Bitskrieg” fit in or contradict these approaches?
A: On MDO, this is important as a step to Bitskrieg. But if you are truly operating like China in the war or the Russian Gerasimov doctrine, then you must determine the implications for doctrine and military organizations for yourself. The optimal “how you fight” doctrine is not going to be mass on mass, not even maneuvers like Blitzkrieg. It is the distribution of forces and shooting capabilities. We called it “swarming”. My belief, to this day, the swarm that gathers the coming swarm is really where we need to move. I see distributed lethality, DMO, all the building blocks of battle.
To optimize the new emerging doctrine, you need to have the right organizational form. A century ago, planners brought together the tank, the plane, radio communications and other technologies. And they realized that it was important to concentrate the tanks in their own organizational unit, as the Germans did with the Panzer division. The Germans were the first to understand, others followed. What is the right form of organization? The biggest and most important challenge is organizational. Instead of an army made up of a few big things like aircraft carriers, bomber fleets, or Navy expeditionary units, we should build an army made up of a lot of small things. It allows us to operate in a distributed fashion, to be more elusive, more precise as shooters. Feed the whole notion of the army as a sensory organization.
Of all the services, I think the Marines are the most advanced to get an overview. They are the closest to Bitskrieg if you ask me. Decoupling of weapon range and accuracy. Work over great distances and with extremely high levels of precision. The many and the small work very efficiently. Especially in coastal operations. Hopefully what the Marines are doing will be a laboratory for other departments.
That night, more than 100 Taliban trucks loaded with troops were destroyed. It was Bitskrieg in action: the skillful blend of quick information and firepower in a quick and deadly way. The Taliban truck convoy was meant to stay on this road for hours, vulnerable for more than enough time for a conscious enemy to strike it.
– -Dr. John Arquilla, “Bitskrieg: The New Challenge of Cyberwarfare”
Q: Is the United States doomed to walk slowly with our cyber warfare concepts as the Chinese and Russian armies advance until there is a calculation?
A: We are far from being in balance here. Our defenses are exceptionally weak, [but] to some extent go ahead. I am proud to say that the NPS is one of the early advocates of data mobility and cloud storage. Keep your data moving and encrypted and it’s better. Strong encryption and data mobility has to happen and it has to happen right away. Anytime you hear a story, be it the colonial pipeline, the title companies, the personnel management office that were hacked, [the] accent [needs to be] in defense. I know everyone loves offense, but we have to balance it out. Russia, China, North Korea and Iran balanced out.
And when it comes to kinetic warfare, bombs and bullets will now be directed by bits and bytes, just as the French and the British took tanks and planes and divided them among the forces. Today, we are grafting new technologies. Be it aircraft carrier operations, land battles or any other area of military activity. We are a little behind the Russians and a lot behind the Chinese. It is less an arms race than an organizational race. We need to rethink and redefine ourselves.
Q: You are referring to the first successful operations in Afghanistan. Regarding similar areas, how could we properly use cyber warfare in our non-peer operations in Libya, Somalia, Mali, etc.
A: I think we need to rekindle the spirit of those 11 Green Berets A-Teams that went to Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. Things like the tactical web page and other tactical systems. They won a campaign in a very short time. The campaign against ISIS under President Donald Trump was very organized in small teams. The Kurds were an extremely reliable indigenous force to be reached in a very short time. Again, this is an example of how the many and small, less permissive in some places, probably don’t send teams to Libya or Yemen, but we have them operating in and around Somalia. Even in times of great competition for power, there are small bushfires. Just like during the cold war and we’ll see it again. But it will be the “little green men”, not the tanks in the Fulda Gap.
As a result, the military is reluctant to abandon the old, generally successful, methods for new, uncertain methods. It is worth keeping the past in mind as we reflect on the cyber future.
– -Dr. John Arquilla, “Bitskrieg: The New Challenge of Cyberwarfare”
Q: Any final thoughts to share with readers on cyber warfare and its future?
A: I am very optimistic and here is why: I think the first experiences of an officer are formative. The three-four stars had their formative experiences in Desert Storm today. The officers who are starting to put on stars now, will all have had their formative experience in the campaigns of the post-September 11 period. All will have these experiences, this understanding and this willingness to use new tools in new ways. I saw it until I recently retired to my classrooms. Agents typically attend NPS at around 10-12 years into their career. I saw it coming in 2008-09.
And artificial intelligence will transform a lot of what we do. I think GI Joe and “AI Jane” are going to come together in the years to come and that AI will have as profound an effect in military affairs in the 21st century as the airplane has in the 20th century. It is something that has enormous potential for military and human affairs. China and Russia are advancing at full speed. An AI arms race, I think, is underway and will have transformational effects. I want to make sure that the US military is at the forefront of development and what it will mean organizationally.
Todd South has written on crime, courts, government and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a veteran of the Iraq War Marines.