Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty has been telling audiences for the past year that he will be the last commander of Army Cyber Command. In the future, the organization will carry a name more encompassing of its wide-ranging mission in the information warfare space.
That idea is now becoming a reality.
“The intent is to provide a proposal that will change us from Army Cyber Command to Army Information Warfare Command because we believe that is a more accurate descriptor of what I’m being asked to do on a daily basis,” he said at TechNet Augusta Aug. 20.
Fogarty wants commanders to have the ability "to sense, understand, decide, act and assess faster than the adversary because whoever can do that with more speed or more precision, I believe, enjoys decisive advantage,” he said.
To do that, the Army has to integrate the disparate capabilities that fall beneath what Fogarty described as “the information environment.” This includes the cyber domain – which encompasses electronic warfare, information operations, signal and intelligence – as well as space, psychological operations, public affairs, military deception and operational security.
“Our application of information dominance is too narrow,” Gen. Paul Funk, commander of Training and Doctrine Command, said at TechNet Augusta, Aug. 20. “It is underdeveloped and lacks coordinated direction.”
Fogarty also acknowledged that the Army is not as skilled as it needs to be in these areas.
“There have been times where we have left capabilities on the shelf because we just entangle ourselves in process,” he said. He cited the stories from generals who have returned from Iraq and Syria after fighting ISIS who said the insurgents ran circles around coalition forces in information-related fields because they were not bedeviled by bureaucracy.
Fogarty said the lessons the Army has learned from operations have pushed him to make this change.
“It’s more frequent that we will have task to conduct a cyberspace effects operation to generate an [information operation] effect,” he told C4ISRNET. “Or we’re going to deliver [information operations] content. We’re bowing to the reality that offensively, this is what commanders in many cases want us to do for them.”
At the top of Fogarty’s wish list is the need for U.S. forces to understand the environment, which includes being able to see themselves and the adversary, with the ultimate goal of better understanding what might be occurring.
The pitfalls of not having such a capability culminated on November 8, 2016, election night in the United States.
Fogarty described how he was on the U.S. Cyber Command operations floor that night as the command’s chief of staff, gearing up for what would be the largest cyber operation conducted by the United States, an operation against ISIS that was broadly considered a success within the Pentagon. However, Fogarty juxtaposed that event with another information operation that culminated on election night: the Russian disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
“As we start to really unpeel the environment what we’ve recognized is that we were going to have to change dramatically,” he said.
The Army, therefore, is going to have to be comfortable with using non-traditional means. For example, he described the non-traditional use of commercial providers that have sensors all over the world. This could allow forces to understand problems as they form. It would also allow forces to apply patches before attacks hit.
“What that implies to me is significantly more autonomous capabilities. Many of the operations we do today, I would argue, are too manpower intensive,” he said. “We’re at a point now where we have hundreds, in some cases, almost thousands of reps and we’re still using the same techniques. I think that’s a losing strategy.”
One example is troll farms. While not as sophisticated as traditional military capability, troll farms have been effective at creating chaos.
In terms of work left to do to transition Army Cyber, Fogarty said they’re going to try to fast track the name request through the Army.
Additionally, he mentioned that the cyber and electromagnetic activities sections the Army is creating at each echelon from brigade to corps, will next become information warfare sections. This means they will be able to provide commanders the planning expertise and outreach necessary.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.