C4ISR Challenges: Converging Cyber and Data

blog-cybersecStephanie Meloniby Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Air Force, Navy and Army leaders shared their upcoming IT priorities for tactical operations at last week’s AFCEA C4ISR breakfast in Arlington, VA. There’s quite a bit of overlap in the challenges they face, but they really  boil down to cybersecurity operations and data management. Both will help military leaders develop a better and more complete Common Operating Picture (COP), which the panelists pointed out is “neither common, nor operational” at the moment.

Analysts and operators working in contested environments need this information to understand their limitations. Better synchronization between air, space and cyberspace has been the main issue for the military, as all of these domains are operating at a different pace – cyber activities and threats are evolving at a much faster pace and more difficult to monitor since cyber threats are man-made.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, Director of Cyberspace Operations and Warfighting Integration with the Air Force A-6/Office of Information Dominance, says his organization’s wish list includes a cyber warning system that would allow the Air Force to detect and predict evolving network threats. For instance, getting a day’s notice that the network is going down would be vital. Getting a better idea of network performance and threats would contribute to improved tactical operations via a multi-domain COP.

Network convergence and configuration are also central to improving cyber and Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) within the military. With many siloed systems and networks in play, too much time is spent managing between various architectures, which hampers PED and cybersecurity. The military will continue to need industry’s help as it builds out common computing environments, which will bring consistency to network infrastructures and allow better data dissemination.

In terms of technology companies helping improve the PED process, the DOD wants solutions that can handle processing at data collection. Operators need to understand their environment and accomplish their mission, so the ‘D’ in dissemination could stand for “decision-making.” Analytics and data management vendors need to communicate how they’re going to enable decision-making at DOD since that’s at the forefront of any activity.

As far as improving cyber integration in tactical operations, technology companies should provide tools that allow them to view, categorize and defend against threats. Battlespace awareness is an overarching DOD priority; so regardless of the types of solutions industry proposes, that needs to be at the forefront of messaging – frame your solution in terms of how it will help them achieve that goal.

Need help identifying top IT decision makers and opportunities in DOD? Market Intelligence team today to learn about specific programs and contacts that have a pressing need for your IT solution.

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