Defense

Army readies new cyber directorate

General Frost

Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost (above), former deputy director of Army Cyber Command, will lead a new cyber directorate.

The Army is setting up a new directorate in its G-3/5/7 office to oversee cybersecurity and electronic warfare, a move that officials say signals a renewed seriousness in the service toward those disciplines. Army leadership expects the directorate to have initial operating capability next month and full operational capability later in the summer.

"The Army senior leaders have recognized this is important and we need to put a more focused attention on this field," Col. Jeffrey Church, the Army's senior electronic warfare officer, told FCW.

Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, the former deputy commanding general for operations at Army Cyber Command, will lead the new directorate. That experience could come in handy as the new organization claims its stake in a bureaucracy with multiple organizations covering cybersecurity.

"Bringing in a new directorate under a new two-star position, that brings two-star weight to the table to all of those discussions about doctrine, policy, organization, budget," Church said, referring to the fact that Frost is eligible for promotion to major general.

"Now you have a two-star general officer who is going to focus specifically on cyberspace, electronic warfare," and perhaps other fields, he added. Church spoke with FCW May 26 at a conference hosted by C4ISR & Networks.

Col. Carmine Cicalese, former chief of cyberspace and information operations at Army headquarters, agreed with Church's assessment. "Having a general lead the new directorate will be a boon for the Army's cyber, electronic warfare, and information operations enterprises," Cicalese told FCW.

The new directorate is the latest attempt by the Army to exploit the oft-discussed overlap of cyber and electronic warfare operations. An example of that overlap lies in software-defined radios, which operate on the spectrum and can be hacked.

For Army officials, Russia's war in Ukraine has crystallized the convergence of cyberspace and electronic warfare. There, Russian forces have reportedly used advanced systems to jam Ukrainian battlefield communications. Meanwhile, some media reports have attributed a December cyberattack on parts of the Ukrainian power grid to Russian hackers.

Russia's use of the spectrum in Ukraine has bolstered Church's efforts to gain more support for electronic warfare in the Army, he has said previously.

By co-locating officers dealing with electronic warfare, cyberspace and likely other aspects of information operations in the same organization, the new directorate will break down barriers in those fields "so that as we conduct operations, we all understand how we contribute to achieving the effect that the commander wants," Church told FCW.

"Some days that might be a cyber effect. Some days that might be an electronic warfare effect. Some days that might be a tank round effect," he added.

In addition to the new directorate, the Army is also conducting a series of experiments -- things like simulating network attacks -- to determine how to better fuse electronic warfare, cyber operations, and signals intelligence. 

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.