As we conclude Information Warfare Community Week, Station HYPO offers the following five initiatives for the IWC…

 Partner with Naval Surface Forces ISO Distributed Lethality

The U.S. Navy’s Surface Force is undergoing a cultural shift.  Known as “Distributed Lethality,” this strategy calls for our naval combatants to seize the initiative, operate in dispersed formations known as “hunter-killer” surface action groups (SAG), and employ naval combat power in a more offensive manner. After years of enjoying maritime dominance and focusing on power projection ashore, the U.S. Navy is now planning to face a peer competitor in an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) environment. Long overdue, Distributed Lethality shifts the focus to one priority – warfighting.  Far from a surface warfare problem alone, achieving victory against a peer enemy in an A2AD environment will require leveraging all aspects of naval warfare, including Information Warfare (IW).

Today, through a wide array of networked, passive, non-organic sensors, and integration with national intelligence agencies and U.S. Cyber Command, the Information Warfare Community (IWC) is well-positioned to enable distributed lethality by providing battlespace awareness, targeting support, and effects, in and through the electromagnetic spectrum and cyberspace. Yet, similar to the surface force, a cultural shift in the cryptologic community will be required. First, we must optimize national-tactical integration and better leverage and integrate off-board sensors. The uniqueness of the A2AD environment demands the integration and optimization of passive, organic and non-organic sensors in order to prevent counter-targeting. Second, we must prioritize the employment of direction finding and geolocation systems, ensuring they are accurate and sufficiently integrated to provide timely targeting data for weapons systems. This will require a shift in mindset as well, from simple exploitation to a focus on “find, fix.” Third, we must continue to lead in cyberspace, ensuring cyber defense in depth to our ships at sea while developing effects that effectively exploit adversary cyber vulnerabilities.

In order to ensure the Surface Force can seize the initiative, operate in dispersed formations known as “hunter-killer” SAGs, and employ naval combat power in a more offensive manner in an A2AD environment, the IWC must stand ready to provide battlespace awareness, targeting support, and effects, in and through the electromagnetic spectrum and cyberspace.

Accelerate Delivery of Seaborne Electronic Warfare Capabilities

On July 14, 2006, the INS Hanit, a SAAR V class corvette, was struck by a C-802/Noor Anti-ship Cruise Missile (ASCM) while operating off the coast of Lebanon.   During the same engagement, another C-802/Noor ASCM struck and sunk the Cambodia-flagged M/V Moonlight.  Detailed analysis of the attack, assumed to have been launched by the Hizballah, is available here.

In 2016, USS Mason and USS Ponce were engaged by two unidentified ASCMs while operating in the Red Sea.  The attack came on the heels of a successful ASCM engagement against the UAE-leased HSV Swift.  These attacks are assumed to have been launched by Houthi rebels.  In both cases, these attacks were the result of increased proliferation of ASCM technology to proxy elements and insurgents.

While ASCM threats continue to rapidly evolve and proliferate, the Navy’s seaborne Electronic Warfare capabilities are dated and in much need of improvement.  The SLQ-32, the workhorse of seaborne Electronic Warfare capabilities, is based on 1970s technology designed to defend against cold war threats.   As the Navy continues to operate forward, it requires improved Electronic Warfare capabilities now in order to provide effective defense against these rapidly evolving threats.

Establish an IW Rapid Innovation Cell

The CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) was disestablished in 2016 after successfully shifting over $3 billion in investments into the IWC’s programs of interest. Small projects done by junior members of the IWC had significant and long reaching effects in the areas of Cyber Operations; afloat C4ISR, SIGINT, and EW systems; as well as autonomy, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applied to unmanned systems and intelligence processing systems.

The CRIC was sustained with a relatively small budget and consisted of officers and enlisted members who were hand selected to work on their CRIC projects in their spare time. They were supported by a core team at Naval Warfare Development Center that included a contracts officer, a senior mentor and support staff for project and travel support.

An IW Rapid Innovation Cell would consist of enlisted and officer personnel, hand selected based on proposed projects of their choosing. The innovation cell members would be remain at their parent command, but be funded for travel as a group for discovery on a regular basis, as well as funded for a small number of approved projects.

Consolidate the Force

The Information Dominance Corps (IDC) was created in 2009 to more effectively and collaboratively lead and manage Navy professionals who possess extensive skills in information-intensive fields.  The creation of the IDC brought together four information related communities — intelligence, cryptologic warfare, information professionals, and meteorology/oceanography – under the direction of the newly-formed Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (OPNAV N2/N6).  Corresponding officer and enlisted warfare qualifications were added to complete the transformation.

Re-designated the Information Warfare Community in 2016, the transformation of four distinct communities to a unified corps (now community) was seemingly complete.  In reality, not much has changed.  From the bottom up, our four distinct communities remain primarily organized as they were in 2009 – commands aligned by discipline, led and manned by officers, enlisted, and civilians from the supporting community.  This stovepipe structure prevents exposure to other information-related disciplines and limits integration of information-related capabilities.  Case in point, a deploying Carrier Strike Group will receive IW-personnel augmentation by no less than six distinct IWC commands.  Yet, these 20+ individuals will be expected to integrate with assigned IWC personnel and work together as an IW team at the start of workups.

From the top down, the Navy recently established an IWC single competitive category for selection to Rear Admiral (lower half).  At the same time, the IWC will now screen CAPTs from all four disciplines to serve on CSG staffs as the Information Warfare Commander.  This top down approach has created a need for cross-detailing of senior IWC officers in order to ensure significant exposure across all IW disciplines.

Consolidation of IWC commands with inter-dependent missions and functions will enhance our mission effectiveness, create a knowledge base of IW functions, and strengthen our culture as a community.  At the same time, it should obviate the need for cross-detailing by providing a wider opportunity to work as a collective IWC throughout our careers.  While some commands have unique missions that simply won’t benefit from consolidation, those remain the exception in the IWC.

Align with Joint Doctrine

The term Information Warfare is defined by the N2/N6 in the “Tri-Fold” posted on Station Hypo in January 2017 as:   “The integrated employment of Navy’s information-based capabilities (Communications, Networks, Intelligence, Oceanography, Meteorology, Cryptology, Electronic Warfare, Cyberspace Operations, and Space) to degrade, deny, deceive, or destroy an enemy’s information environment or to enhance the effectiveness of friendly operations.”

This definition of “Information Warfare” is, in most respects, the same as the definition of “Information Operations” in Naval Warfare Publication 3-13 Navy Information Operations.”    Both are focused on the integrated employment of capabilities (Reference NWP 3-13 para 1.4).     Both are also focused on actions to deny, degrade, deceive, disrupt, or destroy an enemy’s use of information related to the conduct of military operations and protecting friendly information and information systems.   (Reference NWP 3-13, Para2.4.1).   Finally, both are focused on the employment of Information- based/Information Related Capabilities.

The one significant difference is in the N2/N6 definition of “Information -based capabilities” and the NWP 3-13 definition of “Information Related Capabilities”.  The N2/N-6 definition of Information Warfare “information- based capabilities” limits the definition to only those capabilities “owned by the Navy”.   It further limits Navy information-based capabilities to those owned by or under the aegis of the N2/N6, e.g. Communications, Networks, Intelligence, Oceanography, Meteorology, Cryptology, Electronic Warfare, Cyberspace Operations, and Space.

The OSD, JCS, and Navy in NWP 3-13 define an Information Related Capabilities (IRC) as:  “An information-related capability is a tool, technique, or activity employed within a dimension of the IE”.  (Reference NWP 3-13, Para 1.4).   NWP 3-13 adds that Navy planners should make IRC choices based on their mission, and available capabilities-not on a preconceived checklist. (NWP 3-13 Para 3.2).  Moreover, IRCs by definition are not limited to those owned.  (NWP 3-13, Para 3.1)

The N2/N6 concept starts with only the Navy’s information-based capabilities that are owned or under the aegis of the N2/N6, and decides how that limited set can be applied to obtain the desired effects.  In contrast, the NWP 3-13 concept starts with identification of the target audience, identifies the effect desired, and then selects the appropriate IRCs from the full range of national, theater, and Navy tools, techniques, or activities that are or can be made available.    This would include techniques such as EMCON, deceptive lighting, acoustic and RF signature management, radar tracks from airborne ISR, acoustic source tracks, for example.

In the end, the decision on what tools, techniques, or activities to make available to support an operation will be made by the operators during the IO planning process based on the IRCs that are or can be made available, without regard to ownership.    There appears to be no downside to the N2/N6 adopting the OSD, JCS, and NWP 3-13 definition of IRC.    With this change, Information Warfare and Information Operations are essentially the same. It follows then that the N2/N6 should adopt the accepted term Information Operations and drop the use of the term Information Warfare which has been deleted from Joint Pub 1-02.