2 June 2017

*** Profiles in cyber: Understanding the US’s major adversaries in cyberspace

by Brad D. Williams

Since Fifth Domain launched in January, we have brought you stories covering nation-states, associated state proxies and the cyber tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) they employ. Much of our coverage has focused on the U.S.’s major cyber adversaries, which include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

In January, we analyzed the similarities and differences between the cyberattacks on the Ukraine power grid in December 2016 and December 2015. The threat actor(s) in those incidents is not currently known, but cybersecurity experts suspect it could be Russia or a Russian state cyber proxy, such as Sandworm. Sandworm is known to have developed variants of BlackEnergy, the malware used in both Ukraine grid attacks. Sandworm’s involvement in developing the malware does not prove it was involved in the cyberattacks. In fact, Iranian state actors were recently detected using BlackEnergy to attack U.S. defense contractors.

In February, we covered the emergence of Shamoon 2, a cyber proxy with ambiguous ties to Iran. That article highlighted striking similarities in the TTPs used by Shamoon 2 and the original Shamoon attacks, which occurred in 2012. The article also explained how Iran began formulating a national cyber strategy in response to the 2010 Stuxnet cyberattack on its nuclear enrichment program.

*** FY18 budget request: The Army's top 10 modernization priorities

Out of the US Army's top 10 modernization priorities; three are for Electronic Warfare/Signals Intelligence , Offensive and Defensive Cyber and Assured Communications . Compare this with Indian Army anf its recent efforts to downsize the Corps which provides these. Interesting times ahead!

WASHINGTON -- The Army outlined its top 10 modernization priorities in its fiscal year 2018 budget request with air-and-missile defense and long-range fires at the top due to the possibility the force will confront substantial near-peer threats in areas where access by both air and land won’t come easy.

The majority of the priorities in the FY18 budget request are related to regaining capability to conduct large-scale operations against near-peer adversaries, a place where the Army hasn’t had to go for over 15 years as it focused on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While a large portion of the $26.8 billion requested for modernization typically covers aviation and mission command, and still does, the Army is diverting more of its attention toward bolstering ground maneuver capability and air defense -- both capabilities that would be needed if U.S. and NATO forces had to go up against a country like Russia in the European theater.



America’s ground forces are not accustomed to looking at the sky. That’s because the last time the United States sustained a reported casualty from an enemy aircraft was April 15, 1953 — 64 years ago.

For decades, American air dominance has gone almost uncontested, and ground forces have all but forgotten they can be touched from above. But thanks to the proliferation of small, low-cost drones and desktop manufacturing, that paradigm is now changing — and quickly. As T.X. Hammes argued last year, small aerial drones have brought about the “democratization of airpower.” Today, both state and non-state actors are capable of coordinating precision air attacks at remarkably low costs. And the U.S. military is alarmingly unprepared.

It’s not that the government isn’t spending money on the problem. The Department of Defense’s FY2017 budget request called for $226.7 million on counter-drone solutions. The problem is that we have failed to adequately inform our troops about the threat. As a result, the United States has a force that, at the fighting level, remains shockingly and dangerously unaware the threat even exists.

* Army Chief: Battlefield Network May Not Survive Combat

Source Link 

The Army’s chief of staff told lawmakers Thursday he’s not convinced the service’s troubled Warfighter Information Network-Tactical will survive the rigors of combat.

WIN-T was part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems effort in 2003. After FCS was canceled in 2009, the service tried to salvage the program as part of an effort to create secure battlefield communications for mounted forces on the move — an effort led by General Dynamics Corp. and that has cost about $6 billion.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, voiced his concerns about WIN-T to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at a May 25 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“I have seen credible reports that WIN-T has ineffective line-of-sight communications,” Cotton said. “It is too fragile to survive in a contested environment and has an electromagnetic signature so loud that it practically would call for enemy artillery on the top of its user’s heads.

“Have you seen similar reports?” Cotton asked the general.

The enduring relevance of India-Russia relations

The impact of Indo-Russian relations on the domestic and foreign policies of India from the 1960s is difficult to underestimate. The USSR was instrumental in helping independent India industrialise, develop its scientific potential, and defend its territorial integrity. The Indo-Russian relationship developed a level of trust between two independent countries that was unprecedented in international affairs. The collapse of the USSR negatively affected the bilateral relations, though the political leadership in both countries succeeded in containing the impact. Today the two countries need to find new ways to reignite their ties in a rapidly changing international system.


Indo-Russian relations took root shortly before India’s Independence, but began to blossom only in the 1960s and 1970s. Today most analysts agree that the relationship has developed to a degree that it can be characterised as “time tested”. Over the past several decades, and particularly at the time of the Soviet Union, Indo-Russian relations had been marked by a high degree of political and strategic trust.

As the relationship evolved, it gained strength based on five pillars: a) similar political and strategic perceptions of the world; b) intensive military-technical cooperation; c) strong economic bonds; d) deep ties in science and technology; and e) people-to-people and cultural links.

With Nehru writing to its PM, Israel gave arms to India in 1962

Kallol Bhattacherjee

Jerusalem archival record says India wanted weapons brought in ships that did not fly the Israeli flag, but Ben Gurion said, ‘No flag. No weapons’

Despite his strong ties with the Arab world, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru did not hesitate to reach out to Israel when the situation demanded.

According to documents in the Israeli archives in Jerusalem, at the peak of the 1962 India-China hostilities, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion wrote to Nehru expressing Israel’s “fullest sympathy and understanding”, and provided weapons to the Indian forces.

In a November 18, 1962 letter to Ben Gurion, Nehru writes, “We are grateful for your concern for the serious situation that we face today in our border regions. I am sure you will appreciate that while India has never claimed an inch of territory belonging to another country and is traditionally and fundamentally wedded to ideals of peace and friendly settlement of disputes, she cannot but resist aggression on her own soil in the interest of safeguarding national integrity and maintaining respect for standards of international behaviour.”

Did Killing Mullah Mansour Work?

by Micah Zenko and Jennifer Wilson

In May 2016, President Barack Obama authorized a U.S. military drone strike that killed Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. A year later, we can judge whether this leadership “decapitation” strike achieved its intended political objectives.

When governments use military force outside of their sovereign territory, they generally provide some political justification for doing so. In modern times, aggressor states no longer defend their attacks on the grounds of merely punishment or revenge. Rather, they offer a range of justifications and intended political objectives, which are distilled to two: deterrence, with the goal of preventing an adversary from undertaking some behavior; or compellence, to stop an adversary from continuing an ongoing behavior.

One year ago, then-President Barack Obama authorized a U.S. military drone strike that killed Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in a remote area of Pakistan. The strike was unusual both in that it was acknowledged by the Pentagon (and thus not a covert CIA attack), and where it was conducted, Balochistan—where no known previous military or CIA strikes had occurred.

Will Donald Trump Embark on an Endless Crusade in Afghanistan?

Ted Galen Carpenter

The U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan is now well into its sixteenth year, making it America’s longest foreign war. Worse, there is no end in sight. In fact, military leaders are trying to convince President Trump to escalate U.S. involvement once more by sending several thousand additional troops into the fray. Pundits and foreign-policy commentators are engaged in a cottage industry to formulate yet more strategies to make the Afghanistan mission finally succeed.

There has been an American military presence in that unhappy country for so long that it is sometimes difficult to remember that the original purpose was both focused and limited. U.S. leaders justified the initial invasion in October 2001 as a necessary response to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States. Foreign fighters belonging to Al Qaeda had used the country as a safe haven and base of operations to plan and execute their devastating assault. The Taliban government of Mullah Omar had treated Osama bin Laden and his followers as honored guests, enabling them to carry out their plans.

That behavior caused a decisive change in U.S. policy toward Kabul. American officials had always viewed the Taliban regime with understandable distaste, given its treatment of women, the desecration of irreplaceable historical monuments, and the overall brutal, reactionary policies. But Washington did not view the Taliban itself as a security threat that warranted U.S. intervention—until the regime became an enabler to Al Qaeda.

Military Spending In Southeast Asia

 by Dan Steinbock

The conventional military narratives highlight aggregate expenditures and downplay per capita spending. Realities are more nuanced, both globally and in Southeast Asia.

The conventional narrative is that China has become assertive, while the West is ignoring its defense needs. According to SIPRI research, in the past decade military spending in China and Russia increased 118% and 87%, respectively, while US spending plunged almost 5%.

Yet, the list of top-10 military spenders includes the US ($611 billion), China ($215 billion), Russia ($69 billion), followed by Saudi Arabia, India, major EU economies, Japan and South Korea. Together, they account for three-fourths of the total. Washington spends more dollars a year on its military than the next seven biggest spenders combined - which penalizes US living standards and stability abroad.

Moreover, the US is escalating. The Trump administration is planning a huge Reagan-style rearmament and requesting $54 billion; an almost 10% increase in a single year - even as its public debt amounts to $20 trillion (105% of US GDP).

Influence by Default: Europe´s Impact on Military Security in East Asia

By Mathieu Duchâtel and Mark Bromley for European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)


The much-discussed notion of an ‘Asian arms race’ is an exaggeration. Instead, since no country can match Chinese military expenditure, several Asian states are acquiring asymmetric capabilities to try to prevent an excessive unbalance with China. 

Through arms exports, transfers of technology, and arms and dual-use export controls, Europe’s impact on Asian armaments trends and security is larger than is usually acknowledged. 

European states and firms are providing arms to several states as they seek to avoid such excessive unbalance with China. But this action is not guided by clear policy and is often driven by commercial interests and political constraints. 

The EU arms embargo on China has not prevented the Chinese arms industry from making rapid progress: it is now a major export competitor. Europe is contributing to this progress through transfers of dual-use items and intangible technology transfers. 

A more coherent approach will ensure Europe’s impact on Asia’s military balance is not destabilising and that export control gaps are closed. 

Reining in China

G Parthasarathy

NOT ALL ROSY: Only 20 countries attended the OBOR Summit.

CHINA has got accustomed to violating India’s territorial integrity in J&K and Arunachal Pradesh. It transgresses international norms by supplying Pakistan with knowhow and designs of nuclear weapons and missiles. Its provocative behaviour includes protests over visits by Indian dignitaries to Arunachal Pradesh. China, meanwhile, welcomes political figures from POK and Gilgit-Baltistan on official visits. Beijing also seeks to undermine India’s relations with South Asian neighbours like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh, backing politicians and political parties known to be less than friendly to India. New Delhi is, however, now reacting in a more measured manner to China’s policy of “strategic containment”. 

Ignoring warnings from China, India reinforced its claims to Arunachal Pradesh by encouraging a high-profile visit to the state by the Dalai Lama, who acknowledges it is an integral part of India. The Dalai Lama pointedly visited Tawang, which has special spiritual significance for Tibetans. But the proverbial last straw on the Indian camel’s back is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), involving an investment of around $51 billion. CPEC challenges Indian sovereignty by traversing through Gilgit-Baltistan, as part of Beijing’s larger Eurasian OBOR project.

China’s Growing Airborne Forces

In early 2017 the Chinese airborne force, the 35,000 personnel of the 15th Airborne Corps, underwent a major reorganization in which the three airborne divisions and an aviation brigade became a force of nine separate brigades (six airborne, one special operations, one support and one aviation brigade). The airborne divisions no longer existed as the brigades report directly to corps headquarters. The headquarters and support units of the three divisions have been reorganized and assigned to the brigades or Corps headquarters. This makes it easier to rapidly deploy airborne forces and copies a practice that many other nations have adopted over the last few decades.

The Chinese have had some airborne units since the 1950s and these belonged to the air force. The 15th Airborne Corps was created in the 1960s and was always considered a strategic reserve unit. By the late 1980s China had enough air transports to move an entire division (about 10,000 troops) anywhere in China. At the time such a movement took weeks to organize and monopolized most of the air transport aircraft the military had.

Moving a division anywhere by air on short notice was first done in 2008 when one division was sent to Sichuan province to assist in earthquake relief. The early large scale movements by air movements were experimental. A lot of mistakes were made but they were fixed and by 2010 battalions and brigades could be moved reliably by air on a regular basis. Since 2006 as the air force acquired more, and larger, transports so that more troops, as well as vehicles (some armored) could quickly be delivered by air.

Bulldozers have become more crucial — and more vulnerable — in the fight against the Islamic State

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Mustafa Salim  

MOSUL, Iraq — On the front lines, the jagged teeth of a young soldier’s bulldozer mark the beginning of Iraq’s territory and the end of the Islamic State’s. 

Pvt. Mohammed Ali al-Shwele is 19, weathered and lean. He has been shot at, rocketed and mortared while trying to protect the troops behind him. Using his cellphone, he captured one particularly harrowing moment, when a car bomb engulfed his armored behemoth in flames and shrapnel. The video went viral. 

His minor celebrity status aside, Shwele and the cadre of bulldozer drivers like him are responsible for moving the war forward one block at a time. Iraqi officers won’t start an offensive without them, and if a bulldozer is knocked out with no replacement, the day’s operation is over. 

“There can be no liberation without the bulldozer,” Shwele said. 

Bulldozers were essential to Iraqi forces as they pushed through Ramadi, Fallujah and eastern Mosul. Unlike other breaching equipment, such as specialized explosives or specifically outfitted tanks, the bulldozers can clear obstacles while creating ad hoc defenses. 

A continent adrift - Europe is a soft target for jihadis because of a moral collapse

Swapan Dasgupta 

On the afternoon after the horrific explosion in the foyer of the Manchester Arena killed 22 people attending a concert by Ariana Grande, so adored by teenage girls on both sides of the Atlantic, I travelled by the London Underground from Mayfair to Hampstead. It was an uneventful ride. Many passengers were reading the Evening Standard - the free newspaper now edited by a former chancellor of the exchequer - containing exhaustive coverage of the terrorist outrage. I could not detect any obvious nervousness or tension. It was life as usual.

To many, the fact that Britons had taken adversity in their stride and refused to be cowed down by those who fancy the establishment of a global Caliphate is evidence that terrorism won't succeed. Along with the candlelight marches, multi-faith prayer meetings and assertions that 'Islam is a religion of peace', the stiff upper lip can well be construed as evidence of resilience.

In normal circumstances, there would have been some outrage over the sheer ingratitude of the 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi, the suicide bomber. Born in Libya, his parents had fled Muammar Gaddafi's persecution and had been given asylum in Britain. Salman and his younger brother had benefited from a State education and even a generous education loan. The British State had probably contributed more towards the upkeep of the Abedi family than had got back in taxes. Yet, Salman repaid that debt by killing 22 innocent people, including children, in the city he had grown up in. His was an act of perfidy.


Hiranmay Karlekar

After the recent subsequent terrorist attacks in Europe, maybe it is time to introspect if the system there is spawning extremism

According to a report by Aditi Khanna in The Indian Express of May 29, 2017, Britain's intelligence community has estimated that as many as 23,000 persons with extremist tendencies are at large across the country. Of these, 3,000, judged to pose threats of terrorist strikes, are under investigation or are being monitored. Released in the aftermath of the Manchester terror strike, the figures are large but not surprising. John F Burns, in a report published in the New York Times as early as July 5, 2012, cited British officials as warning in preceding years that a wide network of Islamist militants' cells had been established throughout the country. Some of them, John F Burns had stated in his report, were actively planning terrorist attacks, often benefitting from the cultural, political and religious alienation that has become common among Britain's million-and-a-half strong Muslims. The Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been steadily expanding its network in Europe. Terrorists suspected to have AQIM links have been arrested throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Some analysts had pointed to thwarted attacks and arrests of AQIM-linked terrorists as evidence of the group's capability of staging attacks in Western Europe.

At Least Some of America's Nuclear Weapons Will Be Underwater Until 2080

Kris Osborn

The Navy is modernizing its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear missiles in order to ensure their service life can extend for 25 more years aboard the Navy’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet, service leaders said.

The 44-foot long submarine-launched missiles have been serving on Ohio-class submarines for 25 years,service leaders explained.

The missiles are also being planned as the baseline weapon for the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine, a platform slated to serve well into the 2080s, so the Navy wants to extend the service life of the Trident II D5 missiles to ensure mission success in future decades.

Under the U.S.-Russia New START treaty signed in 2010, roughly 70-percent of the U.S.’ nuclear warheads will be deployed on submarines.

The Navy is beginning the process of evaluating additional upgrades and technical adjustments to the sub-launched Trident II D5 nuclear weapon such that it can serve for decades well beyond its current service life extending to 2040.

After Manchester, We Cannot 'Carry On Exactly as Before'

by Raheem Kassam

Originally published under the title "A Very Real War on Women Arrived in Manchester, England, Last Night."

Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness.

If the words above look familiar, it is because they are. They are the same words I wrote on March 23rd, 2016, just over one year ago, after coordinated suicide bombing attacks in the NATO/European Union capital of Brussels, Belgium, which left 32 dead and 340 injured.

Last night, another 22 people died, and at least another 60 have been injured at a former Disney star's concert in Manchester, England.

The targeting of an audience predominantly comprised of young girls should haunt even the most callous of cynics, and the most relativist of liberals. But it won't.

The Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe under Trump

By Rebecca Friedman Lissner

Growing tension on the Korean Peninsula has returned the unimaginable terror of nuclear war to the American public consciousness. The danger is a global one: Nine states possess nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons and the detonation of even one of these weapons could cause humanitarian and economic catastrophe. Although the use of a nuclear weapon by a state or non-state actor is unlikely, it is not impossible, and the risk may be growing. Indeed, such a rare event can be evaluated in terms of a simple risk-assessment formula: probability multiplied by consequences.

Given the enormous consequences of nuclear use, even small fluctuations in probability warrant attention. Some variation will arise from changes in the international environment, such as technological advances that make nuclear command and control systems more or less vulnerable to cyber-attack, or fluctuation in the level of tension between nuclear-armed rivals like India and Pakistan. But as the world’s most powerful state, with its own vast nuclear arsenal as well as a record of leadership in nonproliferation and nuclear security efforts, the United States plays an important role in moderating —– or enhancing —– the likelihood of nuclear use.

How NATO Endures in the Twenty-First Century

Nearly seven decades after its founding, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is far from “obsolete.” This MWI Report examines how global institutions like NATO stay relevant, unified, and effective in the face of new crises. Change is central to the story of how NATO has avoided obsolescence and endured. Nearly every aspect of NATO—from its missions to its membership—is strikingly different than at the Alliance’s founding in 1949. Using a theoretical framework of “critical junctures” to explain variation in NATO’s organizational structure and strategy throughout its sometimes turbulent history, this report argues that the organization’s own bureaucratic actors played pivotal, yet overlooked, roles in NATO’s adaptation. It posits that NATO is remarkably resilient and will adapt to meet new bureaucratic challenges and security threats, from Russian military incursions into its neighbors to the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East.

This Time, the Loser Writes History The Six-Day War

by Gabriel Glickman

May 23, 2017: Fifty years ago today, state-run media in Cairo announced that Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, cutting off the Jewish state's access to the Red Sea. Then-President Lyndon Johnson later said of the Six-Day War, which erupted two weeks later, "If a single act of folly was more responsible for this explosion than any other, it was the arbitrary and dangerous announced decision that the Straits of Tiran would be closed. The right of innocent, maritime passage must be preserved for all nations."

A half-century later, however, a "historiographical rewriting" of the Six-Day War has "effectively become the received dogma, echoed by some of the most widely used college textbooks about the Middle East," as Gabriel Glickman explains in this advance-release article from the Summer 2017 issue of Middle East Quarterly.

A cartoon from 1967 shows Nasser kicking Israel over a cliff. Jerusalem's attempt before the Six-Day War to prevent hostilities is completely ignored or dismissed while the Arab war preparations are framed as a show of force against an alleged, imminent Israeli attack on Syria. 

Army takes strategic cyber capabilities to the tactical edge

Cyber has been thought of as a strategic asset, used as an intelligence-gathering tool and later as a warfighting discipline — following the declaration of cyberspace a domain of warfare and the standup of Cyber Command. Now, the Army is looking to transition that capability to a tactical asset. 

The original thinking behind cyber operations was that everything had to be controlled by the president because operations in cyberspace were all thought to shut down the internet, Brig. Gen. J.P. McGee, deputy commanding general for operations at Army Cyber Command, told reporters Feb. 8 during a media roundtable. “That’s not what we’re finding,” McGee noted. 

What they’re finding is that forces can have a localized effect to accomplish missions, he said, adding that there is undoubtedly a tactical application for cyberspace applications. 

The Army has been taking steps toward this paradigm shift since former chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno directed the start of a pilot program called Cyber Support to Corps and Below, which seeks to integrate cyber effects at the tactical edge by embedding cyber forces with brigade combat teams. These effects have been tested at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California. 

Multi-Domain Confusion: All Domains Are Not Created Equal

Erik Heftye

“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” —Socrates

Words matter. They frame thoughts and influence concepts by shaping perceptions, preferences, and priorities in the form of tacitly embedded assumptions.[1] Unfortunately, military conceptual frameworks are often encapsulated in jargon and buzzwords that periodically dominate the landscape of Pentagon briefing slides. Notable past examples of these operational concept catchphrases include: Active Defense, AirLand Battle, Full-Spectrum Dominance, Network-Centric Warfare, Effects-Based Operations, Anti-Access/Area Denial, and AirSea Battle. The latest conceptual phrase to command the spotlight is Multi-Domain Battle, which was officially unveiled by the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Commander, General David Perkins, at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition on October 4, 2016.[2] This announcement was foreshadowed a month earlier in an article by Albert Palazzo and David P. McClain in which they touted “multi-domain battle will allow the joint force commander to dominate the targeted domains” because it “breaks down the traditional environmental boundaries between domains that have previously limited who does what where.”[3] The advent of multi-domain battle begs a question that remains unanswered: what constitutes a military domain and why make this distinction?

Hackers break Samsung Galaxy S8’s strong iris scanning security with great ease

Iris scanning was expensive and was used in higher security zones such as high profile offices and alike.

The hack was performed using an infrared photo of the eye with a simple contact lens over it.

When fingerprint scanners were launched, they were one of the most secure methods of security since they could not be replicated easily. However, the security was short-lived and fingerprint scanners can now be easily hacked with simply a household stuff — glue. While fingerprint, pattern, passwords and PIN codes are not safe anymore, the next form of biometrics security came in as iris scanning. Similar to fingerprints, iris scanning is completely unique and cannot be replicated. The method also required the iris to be lit up using an infrared light source.

Iris scanning was expensive and was used in higher security zones such as high profile offices and alike. However, since technology gets cheaper over the years, the iris scanning technology has managed to come down to handheld devices and smartphones. Nokia was the first to place an iris scanner on one of their smartphones, and now Samsung has put the same on one of its tablets and now its flagship smartphones Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have them as a norm.

Military branches break down how much they need to secure their systems

by Mark Pomerleau

The military services have taken a keen interest in cyber defense and resiliency of their networks.

The common adage the military has come to adopt is it’s not about if they will be hacked, but when they will be hacked. With that, cyber defense has become a cornerstone of spending dollars – which in many cases is separate, though in partnership with the joint-strategic cyber mission forces the services provide and feed to Cyber Command.

“In terms of capability, the Army does have a cyber strategy for capabilities – capability development. And our emphasis is on defense for the Army. The national part does offense, the Army, as a service, does defense,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, said at the Senate Armed Services Committee May 25. “And what’s important for us is to protect our network, protect our ability in the electromagnetic spectrum from everything from degraded operations or complete shutdown, all the way to spoofing.”

“We have set up the first, as I know of in the world, live cyber range at the National Training Center,” Milley added, noting these tactical forces are “being exposed to an enemy, a free thinking [opposing force] out at the training center that executes high end cyber operations against our own units. And our soldiers are learning to come to grips with that.”

What are services spending on offensive cyber?

The Defense Department continues to spend a great deal of time, attention and funds on cyber.

On the offensive side, Cyber Command is currently engaged in an active campaign against the Islamic State group in support of the global anti-ISIS coalition Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

The cyber front, dubbed Joint Task Force-Ares, seeks to disrupt ISIS’s command and control and communication.

According to budget documents released this week, the Air Force notes that in FY18, $5.4 million of overseas contingency operations funds will be spent toward JTF-Ares. In another Air Force line item, base budget and OCO funds totaling $80 million will be spent on cyber tools.

The OCO dollars will go solely toward JTF-A while base funds will provide a wider array of services. They include: 

Development of deployed exploitation framework for Cyber Command. 

Execution of a spiral development process for cyberspace operations basic tools to provide operational agility during cyber mission force effects operations. 

Continued tool repository and signature management study on each spiral of delivered tools that enables tool measurement and repository as well as a means to manipulate tool code to minimize risk of discovery.