Improving network warfare training in exercise

Improving network warfare training in exercise
Improving network warfare training in exercise 

By 1st Lt Ashley Conner
Air Force Information Operations Center Public Affairs

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFPN) -- 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 earlier this 

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.

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