The Army unveiled details about one of its newest units designed to help the service compete with adversaries below the threshold of war.
The shape of the Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space (I2CEWS) detachment, part of the service’s multidomain task force, has evolved since first conceptualized. This battalion-sized detachment, which encompasses capabilities within its namesake, is envisioned to help commanders on the battlefield with those areas. They will not only possess some capabilities but will also provide planning assistance within these non-kinetic realms.
As part of the multidomain task force, the detachment will support combatant commands.
“The task force is a purpose-built formation, forward postured to synchronize and employ multidomain fires (lethal and non-lethal),” Matt Leonard, an Army spokesman, said in an email to Fifth Domain Sept. 13. “It is more than a typical field artillery organization with organic assets, or the sum of its parts. It is designed to penetrate and dis-integrate threat anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities by delivering effects in all domains.”
Currently, one I2CEWS detachment exists in the Pacific with the multidomain task force pilot, though officials have said they plan to create another in Europe.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of Army Cyber Command, likened the new detachment to the cyber and electromagnetic activities planning cells that the Army is creating. These planning organizations will reside within the operations staff at each echelon and provide commanders with information related to cyber and electronic warfare capabilities within their echelon or will share similar capabilities they can access, possibly via U.S. Cyber Command, that will help with the mission.
Leonard added that as the pilot continues, the Army is experimenting with organic capabilities within the I2CEWS and reach back capabilities to remote assets as well as command relationships.
Col. John Transue, the Army’s capability manager for cyber capabilities at the Cyber Center of Excellence, explained at TechNet how the Army is looking to begin equipping the I2CEWS with capabilities. However, he did not provide specifics on what those capability needs are. Previously, Transue described to reporters that some of capabilities the Army has evaluated during experimentation, while not specifically for the I2CEWS, related to defense cyber teams such as capabilities for the cyber protection teams.
Army leaders are trying to determine if the detachment needs personnel with offensive cyber skills or staffers who could be described as planners who can leverage the capabilities from new tactical cyber units such as the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion or even Cyber Command’s cyber mission force.
Depending on where these forces are operating, they may have to rely on a different service to provide remote cyber capabilities through Cyber Command’s Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber. For example, in the case of the Pacific, that would be 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command. A spokesperson from Fleet Cyber Command told Fifth Domain that they are in the early stages of synchronizing efforts with the Army’s multidomain task force.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.