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Understanding IO Through Architecture
Enterprise architecture provides an effective set of tools and techniques for understanding customer needs and identifying applicable technologies. Raytheon's Information Operations Reference Architecture (IORA) provides a framework that can be used by business development and engineering organizations to help improve the quality and productivity of strategic analysis and design for programs and pursuits in the information operations (IO) domain. The IORA facilitates internal and external communications by establishing a common language for IO, provides a set of custom artifacts to enable strategic analysis, and enhances operational understanding through scenarios and concepts of operations (CONOPS).

What Is Information Operations?
In general, terms like "IO" or "IA" can be quite ambiguous. While most people will agree that these initials stand for Information Operations and Information Assurance, there are many differing views on the specific capabilities of each. Even customers use different vocabularies when they talk about these domains.

As a step toward enabling better communications, the IORA includes an operational capability taxonomy that establishes a common vocabulary for IO within Raytheon.

The top level of the taxonomy is illustrated in Figure 1. The focus of this edition of "Technology Today" is on the cyberdomain, but IO is even broader: It is the integrated employment of the capabilities of influence operations, electronic warfare and computer network operations.

  • Influence operations (IFO) are focused on affecting the perceptions and behaviors of leaders, groups or entire populations.
  • Electronic warfare (EW) refers to any military action involving the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or to attack the adversary.
  • Computer network operations (CNO) are the cybercomponent of IO and are concerned with the integrated planning, employment and assessment of capabilities to attack, deceive, degrade, disrupt, deny, exploit and defend telectronic information and infrastructure.
So if IO is the entire domain (IFO, EW and CNO), where does IA fit in? IA is a subset of CNO concerned with the defense of computers and networks, and includes computer network defense and portions of network operations support, including capabilities such as assured information-sharing, cyberdomain situational awareness and shared security services.

It is worth noting that establishing a common vocabulary for IO is not just a matter of semantics. Differences in understanding of the basics can become a barrier to communication both internally and when communicating with customers. To address this, the IORA provides a set of translation artifacts in addition to the capability taxonomy to facilitate IO-related communications with different customer communities.

Scenarios and CONOPS
Scenarios describe the activities and events constituting a particular mission or mission segment from an operational perspective. They are useful in architecture because they help to clarify abstract customer requirements. Scenarios are typically collected in a CONOPS document that helps bridge the gap between a customer's operational needs and vision, and a system developer's technical specifications. In developing the IORA, Raytheon conducted a series of scenario workshops that provided insights into developing a CONOPS and helped highlight differences in perspectives between U.S. Department of Defense customers and intelligence community customers regarding IO. Figure 2 summarizes differences in how the DoD and IC approach their operations.

Raytheon's customers have made it clear that they want to integrate IO with other, more traditional, kinetic military capabilities. This is sometimes referred to as full spectrum operations. Recognizing this desire, the IORA CONOPS begins with a broad focus on IO doctrine, organizational relationships and planning processes. Later sections of the CONOPS take a sharper focus on offensive operations and associated scenarios.

Using the Hierarchical Threat Catalog
Raytheon has defined a new artifact, the threat catalog hierarchy, used to derive a specific architecture from a more generic, or reference, architecture. The threat hierarchy objects are mapped to architecture components such as operational activities, system functions, capabilities and services using matrices.

For selecting offensive architecture components, the mappings allow for identification of architecture components or exploits that generate the threat. For selection of defensive architecture components, the mappings allow identification of techniques to mitigate threats. Filtering for the important vulnerabilities or perceived threats quickly yields a targeted set of reference architecture components that form the basis of the implementation architecture, thus ensuring a more efficient and cost-effective solution. As the customer threat landscape evolves, the components for a technology refresh can quickly be identified based on the new filtering criteria.

Architecture as Strategy
The IORA's Strategic Architecture provides a framework for making strategic decisions in the IO domain. As illustrated in Figure 3, it provides a set of interrelated architectural views that address basic strategic questions.

Standard DoD Architecture Framework views did not provide the information needed to answer several strategic questions identified during architecture visioning (e.g., What do our customers need? What are our strengths and gaps?), so Raytheon developed a set of custom extended views for the IORA.

The IORA addresses customer needs in the IO domain using the operational capability taxonomy discussed earlier. It provides a hierarchical representation of the capabilities needed to "do" information operations.

This taxonomy also provides a common organizational structure for many of the other artifacts within the IORA. This structure establishes well-defined relationships between artifacts and provides a more consistent framework for strategic analysis than would be provided by a collection of disconnected views.

The Operational Capability Forecast (XV-4) addresses the evolution of customer needs over time. It intentionally focuses on capabilities needed for IO versus the technologies needed to implement those capabilities.

The Market Characterization Diagram (XV-3) addresses the issue of where our customers are spending. The XV-3 partitions the information operations market (specifically CNO) into high-level categories as defined by the capability taxonomy and forecasts spending trends over time.

The Capability Maturity Matrix (XV-1) documents the capabilities of Raytheon and its competitors in various aspects of information operations. This view can be used to organize technology and identify and analyze strengths and gaps in capability across the Raytheon businesses.

The Capability Investment Diagram (XV-2) summarizes Raytheon's corporate and business investments in information operations and illustrates how those investments are distributed among the capabilities needed to provide IO solutions.

The Skill Set Matrix (XV-5) identifies the skill sets needed to design, develop, implement, and deploy IO solutions. This is useful in identifying the types of people Raytheon needs to hire or develop to provide IO solutions.

Chris Francis
Contributors: Suzanne Hassell, Chris Cole, Jay Wiler