The Army’s top intelligence official signed the service’s new signals intelligence strategy July 16, a move that defense leaders believe leaves the Army better situated to better fight despite electronic warfare and cyber attacks.
The new strategy ensures "our readiness to provide timely and relevant SIGINT-support [and meet] the commander’s information needs in a large scale combat operation against a sophisticated adversary,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, said July 18 during an event on Capitol Hill hosted by the Association of Old Crows.
Officials say the integration of SIGINT, electronic warfare and cyber is critical from a material, organization and doctrinal perspective.
“Not only will our four lines of effort improve our SIGINT corps' capabilities and relevance in the face of rapid changes in the global security environment, it will also enable our electronic warfare and cyberspace effort to meet new challenges,” Berrier said.
The four initiatives in the new strategy include:
- Organizing and building the Army SIGINT force,
- Educating the force,
- Equipping the force, and
- Developing doctrine.
The new strategy increases the Army’s ability to collect intelligence against peer adversaries, such as China and Russia, and provides a firm foundation for successful electronic warfare and cyber operations, Berrier said.
A key component of the convergence includes the new Terrestrial Layer System (TLS), a SIGINT/EW system projected to be fielded on vehicles and used by new military intelligence-electronic warfare (MI-EW) companies the Army is working to stand up.
The Army wants SIGINT, electronic warfare and cyber systems on the same platforms in the air and ground domain, Maj. Gen. Robert Walters, commander of the Intelligence Center of Excellence, said at the event. These systems, Berrier said, should be able to not only sense the environment but employ some type of action such as electronic attack or cyber capability.
Officials have stressed repeatedly in the last year the need for colleagues in similar disciplines throughout the Army to stay in touch and reap the mutually beneficial equities on behalf of commanders in the field.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, the head of Army Cyber Command, said commanders shouldn’t have to have something explained to them by the EW guy, the SIGINT guy and then the cyber guy.
“What we decided is there’s a better way, we have to pull it all together” for the commander, he said at the event. “We’re going to have to work together because we all operate in the same space. And so do we really need three separate tools to plan operations in the spectrum? My argument would be no.”
From an organizational perspective, the 29 series electronic warfare personnel will have deep knowledge in both cyber and electromagnetic spectrum operations. On the materiel side, especially with programs like the Terrestrial Layer System, the cyber and intel community are meeting regularly to integrate their requirements, officials said. In addition, Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, told reporters in June that the Intelligence Center of Excellence is working with the Cyber Center to help ensure integrated formation and integrated capabilities.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.