One of the Army's biggest goals in the near future concerns network convergence. As evidence, look no further than the decision to disband its electronic warfare division, which will fold into a newly established cyber directorate at the Pentagon within the Army.

Why converge?

"We need to be aware that we are very likely going to fight an adversary that is converging using [cyber and electromagnetic activity] integration, ISR and fires across full spectrum conflict," said Col Timothy Presby, Training and Doctrine Command capabilities manager of cyber, at TechNet Augusta earlier in August. "So unless we actually work together and converge our capabilities, we will be left short."

Many current and former Army officials believe the convergence and new cyber directorate are a good step. Creating the new cyber directorate and keeping it within the G-3 is "absolutely" a good idea, Gen. Jennifer Napper (ret.) told C4ISRNET in an interview at TechNet.

"The fact of the matter is, it all works together or contests each other and interferes with each other so you have to have it all in one area," said Napper, who formerly served as the director of policy, plans and partnerships for the Cyber Command and commander of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command. "I think it has to be folded into [cyber] because if you look at what we're really talking about, [it's] moving information of some sort or moving data of some sort and the electromagnetic spectrum just happens to exist. It is the physics behind what we're doing, but I don't think it's a separate domain."

"If you look at how you allocate the spectrum for either friendly use or using as unfriendly use against our adversaries, when you're looking at the cyber itself and the connectivity of all those electronic networks, there's just a natural nexus between them," she continued, adding that keeping the directorate within the G-3 will help inform and integrate operations as cyberspace operations are not performed in a vacuum, but as part of a larger plan. "You can have effects through cyber with an electronic warfare delivery system."

Along those lines, integrating cyber forces within traditional combat brigade teams involves a wide range of capabilities commanders can choose from to best service their objectives. "We need to bring capabilities into something that…has multiple options on the battlefield – and that's one of the key things," Chief Warrant Officer Abel Chavez, technical adviser for the Army Cyber Protection Brigade, said at TechNet. "When you start looking at the way we distribute our [defensive cyber operations] planners out there, we integrate them in the CEMA cell and actually exercise how the signal community and the electronic warfare community all converge into one environment and produce a good course of action for that commander to be able to execute his mission."

In the research and development community, TRADOC is working on delivering an electromagnetic command and control tool to provide greater planning and situational awareness in this space. The electronic warfare planning and management tool, which will be released in two to three months, will "help us to operate better in an increasingly congested and contested spectrum," Col. Mark Dotson, TRADOC capabilities manager of electronic warfare, said at TechNet.

As the tool evolves it will interact with other network systems inside the operations centers to allow for a holistic view and a user defined operational picture, he said, defining aspects of all the command and control tools needed to analyze and perform in the spectrum. As the EW PMT progresses through increments, "it will have real time capability to show what's happening in the electromagnetic spectrum on the battlefield from both an enemy and friendly perspective," Dotson said.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

More In Pentagon