Nov 26, 2017

The Air Force is speeding up cyber ops

F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft operated by the United States Air Force "Thunderbirds" perform at the Joint Base Andrews Air Show at Joint Base Andrews. Photo: Ron Sachs / CNP / MediaPunch / IPX via AP

The Air Force is about to wrap up its 16-month-long study on coordinating cyber, air and space operations, providing a potential playbook for how the Air Force will edge out adversaries in the future, per C4ISRNET, a publication that tracks military information technology.

Why it matters: The effort is based on the idea that the speed at which information travels — and therefore the speed of war — will dramatically increase by 2030. The Air Force needs to be able to respond more quickly to increasingly complex cyber threats, so it is trying to ramp up its ability to combine different operational systems' data in order to make decisions in real time.

Why it's needed: "If you can get to that data at speed faster than the other guy, you have an edge on the battlefield," Todd Probert, vice president of Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon, tells Axios. "Systems have grown up in silos," Probert said, and that just won't cut it anymore.

Multi-domain warfare: The Air Force has been "wargaming" by coordinating military cyber capabilities and operations to accelerate military air campaigns.

  • Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been involved in the wargaming preparations. Raytheon built a wargame modeling scenario to merge missiles and other kinetic systems with cyber and electronic warfare effects into one simulation, "and we can use that to run literally thousands of different scenarios," Probert told Axios.
  • Machine learning could help identify targets on a radar map that would normally take a well-trained operator minutes to find, freeing them up for other duties, a capability LockHeed Martin is developing.
  • The Air Force is working to build out multi-domain command and control (MDC2) to get Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College personnel to work out kinks. The force is also establishing a DevOps center to keep up with all the latest in software and technology acquisition.
  • Eventually the Air Force hopes to build out a workforce of officers to solidify this level of knowledge of coordinated C2 at a career level.
  • "The pace in change is literally faster than anything I've seen in my career," Probert said.

Moving forward: Multi-domain operations will need to decide which command takes charge in certain operations, so that air, cyber, and space officers won't slow each other down. It's likely going to take several years for the transition to take place.

What's next: The Air Force will present its findings to senior leaders on Monday, according to Brig. Gen. Chance Saltzman, who is leading the project.

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In photos: Life in the era of coronavirus across the U.S.

Lauryn Morley, a lower school substitute teacher for the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, Maryland, works from her home in Arlington, Virginia. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. has grown from one on Jan. 21 to over 312,000 by early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins.

The big picture: Roughly 3/4 of the American population is on lockdown. From practicing social distancing to the shutdown of non-essential businesses, here's how Americans are coping with the massive upheaval the outbreak has brought, in photos.

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,202,827 — Total deaths: 64,771 — Total recoveries: 246,886Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 312,076 — Total deaths: 8,496 — Total recoveries: 14,997Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
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  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
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  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S. The global death toll has surpassed 64,700, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: The United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II will speak in a televised address on the coronavirus Sunday of the "disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all," per the BBC. The U.K. death toll rose 708 to 4,313 on Saturday — the fourth highest in the world.

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