The Army continues to shape and evolve its concepts for cyber and electronic warfare operations, and it is using exercises such as Cyber Quest to identify what might be possible soon and what can be improved upon now.

Cyber Quest, which runs June 11 to June 27, seeks to inform operational concepts as the Army continues to build cyber capacity and reestablish electronic warfare capacity and serves to inform operational requirements of new systems to counter threats, Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, which hosted the exercise, said during a media call.

During Cyber Quest this year, 20 members of industry brought and integrated their technologies into simulated combat operations. This allows everyone involved to see what could work and what needs work.

“What’s important about the vendor piece of this is they actually put their system engineers on the ground, so as we’re running an operational unit through maneuvers here at Fort Gordon and the system engineers are actually seeing how these capabilities are being employed,” Morrison said.

Top officials said that Cyber Quest provides a true development operations environment in which vendors and operators can collaborate in a space and make adjustments based on the interactions and feedback therein.

In one specific example, vendors were able to gain a more granular understanding of the Army’s tactical network and how it works.

“If you were to ask the vendors what they got out of it, most of the vendor products … are geared toward large enterprises with large volumes of data,” Col. Steven Rehn, the Army’s officer in charge of setting requirements for cyber capabilities, said.

“Their perspective on the tactical environment has opened eyes because the network itself is relatively small compared to what they’re used to in the commercial space. However, the volume and velocity and variety of data for a similar-sized network in the commercial space is exponentially larger. That produces an interesting challenge for them to attack the problem from a cyber defense standpoint.”

At the conclusion of the exercise, one of the many reports that is produced by the Army includes tailored analysis to each company that participated on how their system performed, helping establish a roadmap for continued development.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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