Digitized force to face cyberwar

The Army will allow an opposing force to conduct cyberwarfare against the first digitized division when it demonstrates the combat capabilities of the information technology-dependent force in April.

The Army came under fire from critics within its own ranks, in Congress and elsewhere when it started experimenting with digitized armored forces from the 4th Infantry Division during an Advanced Warfighting Experiment at Fort Irwin, Calif., in 1997

Service leaders said at the time that much of the equipment was prototypical, and the field exercise was an experiment that already had too many variables. Allowing the opposing force to use network attack tools likely would have been too much for the digitized corps' fledgling network. The message at the time was that the service would put the digitized division's network security to the test at a later date.

Now, the service intends to fulfill that promise, according to Maj. Gen. B.B. Bell, commander of the U.S. Army Armor Center, Fort Knox, Ky.

Bell said that both sides—the 4th Infantry Division, or "blue force," and Fort Irwin's world-class opposition "red force"—will be allowed to use network attack tools. In addition, evaluators under Bell's control will have their own information warfare "red team."

Unlike the 1997 experiment, the April exercise will be an official demonstration of the digitized division's combat capabilities. It will be the first phase of a two-phase exercise.

The second phase will be conducted at Fort Hood, Texas, in October and will concentrate on command and control capabilities and will not include the thousands of soldiers to be involved in the April demonstration.

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