The battlespace for the Navy looks a lot different oday than it did 10 years ago, with technolog- ical advances creating both vulnerabilities and
opportunities. Ushering in a new era of warfare are
“cyber warriors” who are developing ways to take the
fight to the enemy — not just in terms of defending
networks, but attacking things like air defenses.
Expanding cyber capabilities has long been a priority of the Navy, but the rapid evolution of the cyber
domain in recent years promises to put those cyber
warriors on the front lines of any conflict that would
erupt against a major power today. The Navy has the
ability today to use cyber attacks, along with traditional methods like jamming radars and missiles, as a way
to combat enemy air defenses, and this new ability
represents a sea change in Navy tactics.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson,
in “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,”
released in January, stated that cyber was undeniably a
growing part of the Navy’s efforts, and that includes new
ways of using cyber capabilities to
do battle with opposing forces.
As part of his pledge to “strength-
en naval power at and from the
sea,” Richardson said that one of
the initiatives is to “expand the
electromagnetic maneuver warfare
concept to encompass all of infor-
mation warfare, to include space
Peter Singer, a strategist for the
New America Foundation and an
expert on 21st century warfare
who, with August Cole, authored
the futuristic thriller “Ghost Fleet”
in 2015, said that conducting cyber
attacks on enemy air defenses is
not yet common on the operational
side — it is not being done against
Islamic State forces, for example,
“It’s starting to be worked on a great deal within the
training and the experimentation and the war-gaming
side,” Singer said.
He compared the growing influence of cyber warfare
to what the Navy was going through in the 1920s and
1930s with the introduction of the aircraft carrier, a
new asset that required a total overhaul of current naval
strategy, operations and training to accommodate it.
As far as the maturity of this type of warfare, Singer
said the Navy currently is at a point where it might
combine a cyber attack on enemy air defenses with
more traditional forms of attack, such as what Israel
did in Operation Orchard in 2007 in destroying a suspected Syrian nuclear facility.
“The way they previously had done air strikes is exactly what we did against Iraq and Libya — you suppress
Navy looks to develop cyber capabilities as part of its air warfare domain
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson says
in “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” that cyber is
undeniably a growing part of the Navy’s efforts, and that
includes new ways of using cyber capabilities to do battle with
n The Navy’s cyber warriors are developing ways to take the
fight to the enemy, and that includes air warfare.
n The Navy has the ability today to use cyber attacks, along with
traditional methods like jamming radars and missiles, as a way to
combat enemy air defenses.
n The 10th Fleet is focused on countering threats “from every
angle,” including the domain of air warfare, the 10th Fleet commander said.