The cyber Cavalry charge

The U.S. Army is blazing the trail towards a cyber domain doctrine

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, monitor the network at Lightning Ops,

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, monitor the network at Lightning Ops, the Theater Network Operations Center for Exercise Saber Guardian 17, June 27, 2017 at at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania. (U.S. Army photo)

There needs to be a doctrine for every domain, whether on the ground, at sea, in the air, or out in space. And that goes for cyberspace as well.

Cyber demands rules of engagement and concepts of operations just like those that exist for the other domains, and the U.S. Army is leading the way to establish the needed doctrine, according to Bill Leigher, retired Raytheon director of Defense Department cyber programs.

“In any warfighting domain, you first need the people and equipment to do the job, then you need the doctrine, and finally, you need training that reinforces the operating rules that have been established,” said Leigher. “The Army is putting those three pieces together to take their Cyber Mission Forces to the next level.”

Leigher said that all of the services should follow suit and work in parallel to fit their specific mission and culture.

“Cyber isn’t an entity in itself,” he said. “It is complementary to the missions of the services; supporting brigades, carrier strike groups and wings that deploying to support combatant commanders worldwide.”

One example Leigher gives of where doctrine is needed is how Cyber Protection Teams respond to an event in cyberspace.

“Operations in the other domains are mature and have evolved with technology. With that, you find military units will have a standard approach to a situation. For example, Navy destroyers will all prosecute an unknown sonar contact the same way,” Leigher said. “I believe, doctrine-wise, cyber should have the same uniformity. For example, CPTs, regardless of the COCOM it supports, should all have the same initial actions to counter a denial or service attack and ensure network resiliency for a commander. Twenty cyber protection teams can’t tackle the same problem 20 different ways. Everybody should start with the same approach, and then adjust as the situation evolves.”

Leigher points to Fort Gordon, Georgia, headquarters for Army Cyber Command and the Army Cyber Center of Excellence, as an example of the progress that's been made.

“When you look at Fort Gordon, you see that the Army is the furthest along with the process of tools acquisition, strategy and requirements,” Leigher said. “They’re standing up a Persistent Cyber Training Environment so their cyber forces anywhere in the world can train together on the same range, preparing for missions.”

Leigher said that Raytheon could help all branches of service across the DoD with their efforts in developing their Cyber Mission Forces and equipment.

“We’ve got decades of experience in cyber, and we’ve made massive investments building our cyber portfolio,” Leigher said. “And we’ve had great success in using Agile software development on major government programs, which will help the services quickly field the tools that they’ll need.”

Leigher said the other services can learn the approach the Army is taking.

“The Army’s model is sustainable, enabling it to mature and grow as the Army’s cyber force grows and matures,” Leigher said. “And while the Army has made a breakthrough and are the furthest along, they are not locking the service into a fixed, long-term system that can’t be updated. The other services can take a page out of their book and get to the same place.”

Leigher said, the United States needs cyber dominance to maintain overall warfighting dominance.

“Building partnerships, across the services, with our allies and with industry is essential to maintaining dominance in cyberspace,” he said.

Last Updated: 05/09/2019