The U.S. Army this week published an overview of future military cyberspace operations. See The U.S. Army Concept for Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Operations 2025-2040, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-8-6, 9 January 2018.
The new Army publication is intended to promote development of cyber capabilities, to foster integration with other military functions, to shape recruitment, and to guide technology development and acquisition. It addresses defense against cyber threats as well as offensive cyber activities.
Proliferation of cyber threats is eroding the benefits of US superiority in conventional military power, the document said.
“The Army faces a complex and challenging environment where the expanding distribution of cyberspace and EMS [electromagnetic spectrum] technologies will continue to narrow the combat power advantage that the Army has had over potential adversaries.”
“Adversaries will conduct complex cyberspace attacks integrated with military operations or independent of traditional military operations.”
“Since every device presents a potential vulnerability, this trend represents an exponential growth of targets through which an adversary could access Army operational networks, systems, and information.”
“Conversely, it presents opportunities for the enhanced synchronization of Army technologies and information to exploit adversary dependencies on cyberspace.”
“If deterrence fails, Army forces isolate, overwhelm, and defeat adversaries in cyberspace and the EMS to meet the commander’s objectives.”
“These [Army] capabilities exploit adversary systems to facilitate intelligence collection, target adversary cyberspace and EMS functions, and create first order effects. Cyberspace and EW [electronic warfare] operations also create cascading effects across multiple domains to affect weapons systems, command and control processes, critical infrastructure, and key resources to outmaneuver adversaries physically and cognitively, applying combined arms in and across all domains.”
Military action in cyberspace is an evolving field that may have overtaken existing law or convention.
“Many effects of cyberspace operations require considerable legal and policy review,” the Army document said.