The Army is undergoing a change to its cyber and electronic warfare personnel. Announced last year, the service will transition its cadre of electronic warfare soldiers into the service’s cyber branch, effectively making them cyber planners.
The main Army leader heading the effort equated the split in cyber/EW personnel going forward to the division within the special operations forces community.
“Think of it as akin to [how] we have our traditional SOF … and then you have your very, very high-end SOF in [Joint Special Operations Command] — that is sort of the model we’re putting in place,” Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, said during a keynote presentation May 16 at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations symposium in Baltimore, Maryland.
JSOC refers to the elite special operations units such as Naval Special Warfare Development Group — better known as SEAL Team 6 — and Delta Force.
“We’ll have tactical cyber operators … then the very, very, very best will move into the cyber mission force,” Morrison said, referring to the cyber warrior cadre that serves U.S. Cyber Command and conduct strategic level cyber operations.
Effective October 1 of this year, the EW workforce will transition to the cyber branch and will go through a series of mobile training teams that are teaching them how to do planning in the cyber domain, Morrison said.
Anyone new entering the electronic warfare force after that will first go through cyber training at Fort Gordon and then will move to specific training in conducting operations in and through the electromagnetic spectrum.
This is all part of a new construct the Army is instituting to insert cyber and electromagnetic activities cells organically within brigade combat teams to provide commanders with planning in those domains.
Future wars will require these high-end capabilities and commanders must have staff that can understand and help plan schemes of maneuver within them to get at larger objectives.
“The way that we’re transforming our electronic warfare professionals is they will become cyber operators. They will be the face inside our brigade combat teams and our maneuver formations for cyber operational planning,” Morrison said.
“They’re complimentary. You cannot look at electronic warfare professionals and cyber operators in isolation.”
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.