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Published:May 4th, 2008 08:20 EST
Improving network warfare training in exercise

Improving network warfare training in exercise

By SOP newswire2

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- For the first time exercise participants were provided a realistic picture of the results of a network attack on an adversary during a Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment in April.

The 453rd Electronic Warfare Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and its Detachment 2 at Nellis AFB, Nev., both apart of the Air Force Information Operations Center, in coordination with the 505th Combat Training Squadron, Joint Information Operations Warfare Command and the Joint Information Operations Range, built an environment to capture network warfare effects on a computer network range and transfer the effects into a model simulating the adversary's communications networks.

"This is the first time effects from a live network attack were transferred without any manual intervention, creating a more realistic environment for the exercise participants," said Scott Tucker, 453rd EWS technical integrator.

The 91st Network Warfare Squadron conducted a live-fire attack against a target computer network provided by the 346th Test Squadron at Lackland AFB that represented an adversary.

The effect of that attack was translated, machine-to-machine, to the simulation environment provided by the 505th CTS at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance sensors modeled in that environment detected the effect and transmitted intelligence messages to the Air and Space Operations Center at Barksdale AFB, La., to show the Joint Forces Air Component commander and his staff the effectiveness of the network attack and allow them to respond accordingly.

Historically, network warfare activities have been exercised on networks with no connectivity to other environments because of classification and security issues.

"We took advantage of the emerging (Joint Information Operations Range) to bring these networks together," said James Hird, Detachment 2 technical advisor. "Detachment 2 and the 453rd EWS were instrumental in coordinating with the participating organizations and models to understand and implement the next step of translating the effects of a micro-level network attack into a macro-level event."

JEFX is a large scale exercise that integrates innovations in organization, tools and processes to improve the warfighting capability which provided an ideal arena to test this new capability.

"As a result of the success we achieved, there is a great deal of optimism that the lessons learned during JEFX can be leveraged for future events," said Mr. Hird. "The key is to have the capability to bring the network warfare training audiences seamlessly into established exercises with the type of integrated training environment demonstrated at JEFX."

Detachment 2 is currently in the process of working with the Distributed Mission Operations Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M. to introduce this type of training into future exercises.