McArdle’s report explores training for non-cyber warfighters
A recent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report written by assistant professor Jennifer McArdle with assistance from several of her administration of justice students is being shared with top military and defense officials in public and private sectors around the world.
“Victory Over and Across Domains: Training for Tomorrow’s Battlefields” explores how best to train the non-cyber warfighter for a contested and complex battlespace.
“Today’s U.S. military is an information-dependent force, one that is wholly reliant on information communication technology (ICT) for current and future military operations,” McArdle writes. “The adaptation and integration of ICTs into weapons platforms, military systems, and in concepts of operation has put the battle for information control at the heart of great power competition.”
McArdle argues that while the use of ICTs exponentially increases the U.S. military’s lethality, dependence on these technologies, in many ways, is also a vulnerability. “U.S. competitors and adversaries – most notably Russia, China, Iran and North Korea – recognize this reality,” she writes. “Each state plans to employ a range of cyber and informationized capabilities to undermine the confidentiality, integrity and availability of U.S. and allied information in competition and combat.”
“This report benefited from the valuable research assistance of Salve students Alexandra Brodeur, Ryan Ciocco, Eli Dias, Jacob Leahey, Cassidy Lynch, Allyssa Medeiros, Alexis Smith and Nicholas Palumbo,” McArdle said. “Salve graphic design student Veronica Beretta is responsible for the internal graphic and cover design.”
The report analyzes in detail current and future cyber and informationized training for the non-cyber warfighter, addressing two main questions: How should U.S. armed forces train its warfighters tactically and operationally for a battlespace saturated by adversary cyber and informationized attacks on U.S. platforms and systems? And how should U.S. armed forces train its warfighters to exploit the advantages of the cyber domain for multi-domain operations?
“The U.S. military’s goal should be to sustain military operations in spite of a denied, disrupted or subverted information environment,” McArdle writes. “This requires a paradigm shift away from information assurance to mission assurance. This report provides some initial recommendations on how training simulations and scenarios can be updated to better reflect the future operating environment.”
This past spring, McArdle spoke before the Royal Australian Air Force’s Air Power conference on this topic. She currently serves on a NATO technical working group that is working to produce a “top 10” list of cyber effects that should be modeled for campaign and mission simulations.
McArdle is a non-resident fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, which is an independent, nonpartisan policy research institute established to promote innovative thinking and debate about national security strategy and investment options. Her research interests include cyber operations, military synthetic training and military innovation, and her work has been featured in Real Clear World, the Cyber Defense Review, National Defense Magazine and War on the Rocks, among others.