Fort Gordon event focuses on improving cyberwarfare
By JOE HOTCHKISS | The Augusta Chronicle, Ga. | Published: June 29, 2017
FORT GORDON, Ga. (Tribune News Service) — Fort Gordon is wrapping up an experiment that pairs soldiers and new technology in an effort to make the military more agile in the ever-changing world of cyberwarfare.
Cyber Quest 2017 ends Friday. On average, 165 soldiers participated each day over the 26-day event hosted by the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at venues throughout the fort.
During Cyber Quest, the Army assesses its cyberwarfare needs and shares them with industry and academic partners. Those partners then share their knowledge and technology with soldiers who train with it. The Army then examines if or how those new cyberwarfare approaches improve its capabilities.
“It never stops,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., commanding general of Fort Gordon and the Cyber Center. “Cyberspace today is not going to be what cyberspace is tomorrow. So by teaming with industry and academia, one of the things that we really get is: What’s in the art of the possible?”
In this environment, not only do soldiers get to train with some of the latest technology, but the creators of that technology also can troubleshoot their products as they see them being used in practical applications.
“This kind of rapid prototyping, by having capabilities in the hands of soldiers, is great not only for the U.S. Army and a joint force, it’s also great for our industry partners because it allows them to sit there and take immediate soldier feedback and improve their capabilities, which is what we need and what industry needs,” Morrison said.
Twenty-seven vendors participated, offering expertise in 40 “capabilities,” Morrison said. The many areas addressed included signal detection, geolocation, network operations, malware analysis, data processing and tactical systems.
This year – the fort’s second Cyber Quest event – marked the first time the fort has assessed its electronic warfare capabilities.
“That is absolutely critical, because I would submit to you that the United States Army is behind many of our near-peer or even peer competitors in that critical field,” Morrison said.
Electronic warfare differs from cyberspace operations. Electronic warfare encompasses how electromagnetic signals are manipulated in areas such as radio, radar, sonar and infrared technology.
Morrison said Cyber Quest left him amazed with the ingenuity of soldiers when trained with new equipment or concepts.
“It is amazing what happens when you give our young troops a capability – how they will take it and make the absolute best use of it,” he said.
Visiting U.S. military participants in Cyber Quest included members of the 10th Mountain Division, the 25th Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 335th Signal Command and the 2-9 Infantry Regiment.
Soldiers from other countries also participated. Some already are training at or attached to Fort Gordon, while others visited specifically for Cyber Quest. Nations represented at Cyber Quest included the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan.
Reach Joe Hotchkiss at firstname.lastname@example.org.