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A Perspective

Could there be two types of battlefield wars?  One is the traditional battlefield with sovereign state armies engaging in land, sea, air, and space battles; and the other is the non-conventional battlefields, which are guerrilla in nature using small arms, IEDs, and suicide bombers. 

These guerilla wars are referred to as national liberation wars based on territory, religion, tribal, ethnic, and philosophical rigidity.  If cyber-attacks do not directly target lives, then are they that serious?  Do these activities count as triggers for war or are they just conventional crimes, which do not fall under the laws of war?  What are the weapons used in net centric warfare?  Can the Geneva Conventions put sanctions or a value system into the use of Net Centric Warfare (NCW)?

Net Centric Warfare (NCW) means many things to many people.  If you are sitting in the Pentagon, protecting top-secret information in a net enabled Department of Defense (DoD) communication structure, it is all about protecting against breeches in the security firewalls.  If you are a warfighter in the battle space, Net Centric Warfare (NCW) means the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)’s sensors at the ends of the node of a hybrid terrestrial and space-based IP networks that have the capacity to use deadly power to eliminate the enemy.  The issue for the Law of War and the Geneva Conventions is the difficulty in distinguishing civilians from combatants in modern urban warfare.  Disruption of the Net Centric Warfare capabilities of the DoD and NATO is viewed as an act of terrorism.  Is the action that Edward Snowden took steal top secret documents and spread them through WikiLeaks and The Guardian an act of terrorism?

Since its founding, America has stood on the principles of democratic lawmaking and national sovereignty.  Understanding the Geneva Conventions or any other international legal obligation can quickly become a political issue of democratic sovereignty versus the sovereignty of the “coalition of the willing”.  Should the U.S. military face accountability by U.S. laws or by unaccountable officials in multinational organizations and foreign governments empowered by international treaties or laws?  If a treaty has a practical effect, it will be due in large part to interpretations made by foreign government officials and judges and by nongovernmental organizations (NGO)s, but not answerable to American or EU individual State voters.  This dilemma is what the U.S. Government and its global military forces have wrestled with since the war on terror began after 9/11.  Can cyber weapons be used and be consistent with the laws of war? 



From Network Centric Warfare Concept to Reality

Since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, video communications was integrated into robots, soldiers, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAS)s, and network-centric warfare is now the present and future organizing principle of American warfighting.  According to Silicon Valley’s David Payne, a former Lockheed Martin Space System Architect, “crucial to a network centrically based style of warfighting are as follows: (1) a globally meshed infrastructure of protected cross-linked platforms and (2) an increased number of connections with higher data rates to create the access system required to connect network centric warfare field units to database, analysis, distribution and command centers.  Relying on AEHF to do the protected communication job will relegate Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) benefits to boutique special operations missions and forego the greater vision of shared information, situational awareness, cross branch collaboration, and the resulting game changing increased mission effectiveness.  The greater benefit of switching to an IP like system is the gain in total usable bandwidth for a set of frequencies with users sharing the same ‘pipe’, not to mention the revolutionary dynamic bandwidth resource allocation that allows the system to surge and focus communications on regions as required.”

In January 2006, TMOS, the ground portion of the Transformational Communications Satellite System (TSAT) was announced with glowing Industry and DOD fanfare.  Primarily, it would provide a high secure IP broadband ground based segment that would be the beginning of satellite C3ISR network for the military’s Network Centric Warfare capabilities.  In a short three years, then Secretary Robert Gates rendered (TSAT) “too exotic” and the $2billion dollar DoD program was discarded. 

In 2009, the official vision of the (DoD) was Network Centric Warfare (NCW), which would lower the cost and improve the efficiency of winning the battle space of the today and tomorrow.  The military would have internet-like capability that would extend high-bandwidth satellite capabilities, which could be deployed to U.S. and NATO troops worldwide, and deliver an order of magnitude increase in available military bandwidth.  A planned program sponsored by the (DoD) and Lockheed Martin was to use laser communications inter-satellite links to create a high data-rate backbone in space.  The technology for a Network Centric Warfare battle model would provide the required bandwidth along with full satellite and waveform protection.  The satellite systems would be capable of extending the Global Information Grid (GIG).  The (DoD) and the U.S. Air Force stated that they were both committed to developing and fielding the vision of a Network Centric Warfare capability model.  The (DOD) moved towards a more advanced contingency based strategy that would attempt to make SATCOM/MILCOM as Network-Centric as possible for the warfighter.  Since that time, the U.S. Military has tried to fill the communication gaps by launching additional satellite networks that would continue to provide the capability of the earlier satellite network, (TSAT).  However, the bandwidth capabilities remained minimal compared to the high bandwidth of the 2006 (TSAT) program. Defense Budgets are the fuel for political battles and media attention. U.S. President Barak Obama perfected the political art of National Security versus a socialist welfare budgeting agenda.

In 2010, for example, according to Bruce Bennett, a retired DISA's program executive for satcom, teleport, and services spoke, “(TSAT) was designed to be a Broadband Protected SATCOM system.  AEHF are not Broadband systems.  (TSAT) was based on "Internet-like" capabilities for the GIG (Global Information Grid) that would allow global operations in a secure and survivable communication bubble.  Each of the six-satellite constellation of Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) has the capability to provide 20% of the bandwidth as a single (TSAT) satellite.  According to the USAF, “the on-orbit WGS constellation is comprised of six satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The first WGS satellite was launched in October 2007.  There are three Block I satellites (launched in October 2007, April 2009, December 2009) and three WGS Block II satellites (launched in January 2012, May 2013, and August 2013.” (WGS) was not designed to be anti-jam, or hardened, as was (TSAT).  (WGS) can perform the Intelligence Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Communications-on-the Move (COTM), multiband, and multi-mode terminals but with only 20% of the bandwidth that a (TSAT) was designed to handle and none of the protection for the waveform or the satellite.  MUOS, UFO, DCSC, WGS, SHF, EHF, AEHF, DoD Teleports, STEPS, Fixed Regional Nodes, and Navy NCTMS working together to leverage their joint capabilities would off-set some of the (TSAT) requirements.  Follow-on to (TSAT) will be required by 2020.  Alternatives such as Hughes Spaceway, ViaSat1, IRIS, and their potential military adaptation of those commercial products may assist in filling the shortfall of (TSAT).”

The (DoD) and the intelligence community (NRO, CIA, NSA, etc.) use the same network architecture for compatible communications.  However, the U.S. Military, Intelligence Community, and the NASA satellite communications operate independently.  The U.S. intelligence communication works with high-speed optical relay communication architecture.  NASA manages the tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRS-C).  Satellites are configured as narrowband, wideband, and protected satellites that are protected from jamming and nuclear effects.


Battlefield Superiority of the Internet

Sun Tzu, Chinese military strategist, in 500 B.C. wrote, “In war, do not launch an ascending attack head-on against the enemy who holds the high ground.  Do not engage the enemy when he makes a descending attack from high ground.  Lure him to level ground to do battle.”

In 2015, the number one and two threats to the U.S. Homeland and National Security are (1) Cybersecurity and (2) Net Centric Warfare.  The scope of the intelligence agencies in the US is 0.7% of total government spending around only 5% of the U.S. Defense budget.  The technology enabler that has transformed intelligence gathering and analysis has been the global IP networks, which are all interconnected to the United States fiber, satellite, and terrestrial backbone.  Further, the global IP networks are exclusively used by the U.S. and NATO militaries as well.  The U.S. government works to protect networks so that they are kept away from terrorist, foreign agents, and proliferators who pose a threat to the National Security of the United States, and to a less extent the EU’s military arm, NATO.  The threats to public networks are also real.  For example, criminals have used the Zero- Access “botnet” which combined the power of two million hijacked computers or bots around the world.  Traditional security technologies and methods such as firewalls and antivirus systems are too static, timely to configure, and difficult to upgrade when new creative threats to digital assets emerge.  Even RSA, the security division of EMC, suffered a major breech in its network.

In the commercial everyday world of using a computer, we all know about worms, viruses, and identity theft.  This becomes important to most people if they are affected by any of these attacks, which are a form of “soft warfare”.  Threats of cyber warfare and state-sponsored hacking activities are a clear reality in California’s Silicon Valley.  According to the U.S. Congress, the threats come principally from Chinese Software and Communication companies such as ZTE and Huawei, which have been alleged by the U.S. Government as sponsoring cyber-attacks against defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, some of its subcontractors and potentially other defense contractors as well.  According to a story by the Wall Street Journal, China was linked to a previous attack on Lockheed Martin to steal plans for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and numerous documents leaked over the last few years from the (DoD) have reported that the agency has numerous examples of Chinese-sponsored probing attacks levied against critical infrastructure targets within the U.S.  In 2011, a hack against Google’s Gmail was aimed at gaining White House secrets.  In the same year, “Lockheed Martin confirmed to the New York Times that the breach was linked to the RSA SecurID breach.  It was just a matter of time, industry experts spoke.  Experts with security testing and analysis firm NSS Labs had predicted that high-profile attacks against government-related targets utilizing SecurID would be hackers’ next chess move following the RSA breach.”  Rick Moy, president of NSS Labs, following the Lockheed Martin news wrote, "Given the military targets, and that millions of compromised keys are in circulation, this is not over." None of these realities should be a surprise as the US State Department promoted and urged US and EU firms to train their CCP students in IT and the architectural security weaknesses of US software and hardware firms.  It was only a short time that these students would be hired by RSA, Google, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Microsoft, and other IT tech firms to further perfect their cyber warfare skills before returning to China.

The 2013 actions of the NSA employee, Edward Snowden, neutralized the condemnation of the Chinese Government engaging in network centric warfare when he stole 1.5 million documents and handed them over to Glenn Greenwald of the British Guardian Newspaper.  The U.S. NSA operates under the 50 USC Ch.36:  Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Since 1952, the NSA has used signals intelligence to monitor communications via phones (collection of telephone metadata), wire, radio, satellites and in the 1980s, the internet.  Unfortunately, NSA did not adhere to its own standards that would have prevented a criminal plotter like Edward Snowden.  The 2006 NSA Net-Centric Enterprise Information Assurance (IA) Strategy guideline  was quite clear, that “to support the ability to audit, monitor, search for, track, and contain adversary or insider activity and misuse, current perimeter monitoring (e.g., Internet, sovereign network, and tactical system boundaries) must transform into a distributed sensor grid.  The distributed sensor grid, coupled with the enhanced transactional Information Assurance (IA) access control mechanisms, will enable the ability to track user actions within the net-centric environment to detect misuse and insider activities.  Within the net-centric environment, specialized computer network defense sensors and (IA) devices (e.g., firewalls, intrusion detection systems, cross domain solutions, and transactional IA access control mechanisms) as well as Information Technology (IT) components (e.g., clients, servers, and routers) collectively form the distributed sensor grid.”  Further, the NSA guidelines were quite clear in 2006; namely, “Misuse detection provides a counterbalance to the increased risk brought about by increased accessibility to information under the ‘need to share’ model.  Insider misuse detection is the detection of anomalies, defined as inappropriate access to information or inappropriate use of computing or communications resources and services with or without malicious intent.  Insider misuse is detected using distributed enterprise sensors and audit information.  Inappropriate accesses and changes to critical system files and changes in user privilege are detected not only by looking at the communications traffic in and out of a single computer, but also by checking the integrity of system files and watching for suspicious processes.  Misuse detection also includes behavior profiling and analysis to detect a typical user behavior.”

Eventually these acts of commercial cyber warfare led the Aerospace and Defense Industry and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to declare publically that cyber-attacks were now officially classified as an act of war against the United States.  Dr. Eugene Schultz, CTO at Emagined Security wrote, “given that malicious code can be used as a weapon and that attackers are capable of breaking into and controlling systems that are part of the national infrastructure, the Pentagon's strategy makes perfect sense.”  In a prior update from the SANS Institute, Brent Remai, vice president of marketing for security firm FireEye, wrote, “It’s amazing how many of these attacks have happened in just the last three months.  The whole industry's moved from just worms and viruses causing disruption of companies to spyware and bots that were really more for cybercrime and financial gain to now evolving even broader into state-sponsored attacks and cyber espionage, going after (intellectual property)."

According to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), “Net-centric enterprise IA must be agile and adaptable when responding to cyber-attacks.  The increased cyber and insider threat requires the ability to monitor, track, search for, and respond to attacks by adversaries within the net-centric environment…the net-centric environment will be a high priority target constantly under attack by adversaries with a wide range of skill levels and motivations, and the impact of system outages, degradations, cyber-attacks, and contention for limited resources within dynamic tactical environments is expected to expand significantly.  Increased interdependence and interconnection of systems will affect our ability to contain these impacts and increase the attack avenues available to our adversaries.”


Antisatellite Systems Threats

In the January 29, 2014, Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community under the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence labeled the top five threats facing the U.S. as; (1) Cyber-attacks, Cyber-espionage; (2) Counterintelligence; (3) Terrorism; (4) WMD Proliferation; and (5) Counterspace (attacks on satellites, communications).  Mr. Clapper wrote, “Chinese military writings highlight the need to interfere with, damage, and destroy reconnaissance, navigation, and communication satellites.  China has satellite-jamming capabilities and pursuing anti-satellite systems.  In 2007, China conducted a destructive antisatellite test against its own satellite.  Russia’s 2010 military doctrine emphasizes space defense as a vital component of its national defense.  Russian leaders openly maintain that the Russian armed forces have antisatellite weapons and conduct antisatellite research.  Russia has satellite jammers and is also pursuing antisatellite systems.”

In a March 2008  Scientific American article, “ With the rapid rise of the China’s satellite weapon capabilities, many voices are emerging that the USA’s national security would be enhanced by developing the means to wage war in space.  After all, satellites and even orbiting weapons, by their very nature, are relatively easy to spot and easy to track, and they are likely to remain highly vulnerable to attack no matter what defense measures are taken.  Further, developing antisatellite systems would almost surely lead to a hugely expensive and potentially runaway arms race, as other countries would conclude that they, too, must compete.  Moreover, even tests of the technology needed to conduct space battles--not to mention a real battle--could generate enormous amounts of wreckage that would continue to orbit Earth.  Converging on satellites and crewed space vehicles at speeds approaching several miles a second; such space debris would threaten satellite-based telecommunications, weather forecasting, precision navigation, even military command and control, potentially sending the world's economy back to the 1950s.  Most of the major military powers have probably experimented with ground-based radio-frequency systems that could disable the communications systems of satellites.  Moreover, any country with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles could explode an atomic weapon in orbit, which would wreak havoc on most of the satellites and spacecraft there.”


Future Air and Space Wars?

In a 2014 interview, Gen Mark A. Welsh III, the twentieth USAF Chief of Staff spoke, “Today’s adversaries have been deterred from meeting us in the air largely due to our technological, operational, tactical, and training dominance.  We must not sacrifice this advantage.  If we cannot provide the air superiority that guarantees American ground forces both freedom to attack and freedom from attack, then the way the U.S. military currently fights on the ground will have to change.  Air superiority is fundamental to the American way of war.”  General Welsh further spoke that “Although the US military must prepare to operate in every domain on, under, or above our planet, I believe the air, space, and cyber domains are likely to be those most contested in the future.  Everything we do in our Air Force is enabled in some way, shape, or form by capabilities and command and control processes that incorporate assets in the space and cyber domains.  From GPS positioning to weather forecasting and ISR collection and dissemination, the Air Force space mission transcends service and departmental boundaries.”  The DoD has looked at a $4billion dollar space bomber called the Common Aero Vehicle/Hypersonic Technology Vehicle; however it is not by definition a space weapon, but it would travel through space to strike terrestrial targets within an hour or two of being deployed.  It could be released in orbit from a hypersonic space plane, then glide unpowered into the atmosphere before delivering conventional munitions onto surface targets.  The prospects for development funding is extremely low but may be needed in the future by 2020.


Does the U.S. (DoD) have a Net-Centric Enterprise IA Strategy?

Peter Singer's book, “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know”, wrote that “98 percent of all U.S. military communications go over the civilian-owned and -operated Internet; you need to understand it and fold it into your expectations just like any other battlefield context. According to the National Security Agency (NSA) Information Assurance Directorate Report, “The DoD is committed to a net-centric environment (NCE) as the operational construct to achieve information superiority and enable Net-Centric Warfare (NCW).  NCW is a set of war-fighting concepts and capabilities that provide for worldwide access to information and services—any time, any place—allowing the warfighter to take full advantage of all available information and bring all available assets to bear on the mission in a rapid and flexible manner.  To achieve these strategic goals, the (DoD) is developing an assured global information technology (IT) enterprise known as the (GIG).  The (NCE) is supported and enabled by the (GIG) through its globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes, and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating, and managing information on demand to warfighters, policy makers, and support personnel.  The (GIG) is evolving from a series of loosely connected, independent, autonomous systems into a seamless integrated information environment that provides access to warfighting, intelligence, and business-related processes and information in ways that are assured, available, and securely managed.”

There has been considerable review of Defense related SATCOM and MILCOM architectural design and the threats to the networks.  The IP architectures were developed with the (DoD) C4ISR Architecture Framework in mind based on earlier studies.  USA’s National Security operations and the national economy increasingly rely on space and ground systems that are susceptible to failure or degraded performance due to extreme Space Weather (SWx) conditions.  According to a later unclassified Space Weather Architecture Study  “ SWx can adversely affect satellite operations, communications, space-based and ground-based radar, navigation, high altitude manned flight, and electrical power distribution grids.  Such conditions can disrupt National Security operations and cause economic losses in both systems and services.  Future National Security operations will require improved capability to accurately locate targets, provide precision navigation, and provide reliable mobile communications in a more time-constrained environment.  To support these capabilities, immediate emphasis must be given to the accurate specification and forecasting of ionospheric total electron content (TEC) and scintillation parameters.  It is essential that ground-based and space-based ionospheric observing systems and ionospheric models be developed and employed expeditiously.  Also, significant to National Security is the capability to determine rapidly whether (SWx) or an adversary is degrading critical satellites.  In addition, it is important to design robust satellites and rapidly recover damaged satellites.  To support these needs, it is necessary to develop and employ systems and models to provide an essential capability to specify the radiation environment at satellite altitudes.  The desired capability also includes forecasting of the radiation environment at satellite altitudes.”

The report further revealed, “National Security dependence on space support is increasing dramatically, but the number of National Security satellites is expected to remain relatively constant with less backup and residual capability.  Civil and commercial dependence on space systems is also increasing.  Under these circumstances, each satellite is more critical and satellite outages will have greater impacts.  The National Security demand for commercial SATCOM (e.g., hand-held terminals) will increase; creating new unpredictable vulnerabilities…ionospheric scintillation can disrupt access to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and to radar signals with uncertainty in the ionospheric electron density degrading geolocation accuracy.”


Battle Survivability Depends on Data Links

The two main airspace sensor platforms for the US Air Force will be the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and the F-35.  If there is no means of linking up these platforms to one another in meshed networks, their strategic and tactical capabilities will be diminished.  There is so much more that can be done with remotely piloted aircraft RPAs. Colonel Sean Harrington, an ISR command-and-control requirements chief, said in a release announcing the April 2014 RPA Vector report, “Their (UAS) roles within the Air Force are evolving.  We have been able to modify RPAs as a plug-and-play capability while looking to expand those opportunities.”  According to the report, sixty-five total patrols will be split between the USAF’s two main drones — 33 flown by the MQ-1B Predator and 32 by the MQ-9 Reaper.

The key aspect for operating in contested airspace is the ability to transfer information between planes so that their ability to remain stealthy becomes an advantage.  The F-35 is a “flying computer” platform and can be configured to become nodes in a “sky network”.  The September 2014 retired General William L. Shelton of Space Command in a June 2013 document expressed hopes that, “in the future, aircraft such as the F-35 are IP-addressable and serve as nodes on a network.  The data they collect from their extensive sensor suites then can be available to others via a seamless environment comprising terrestrial, airborne and space layers.  That goal lies some distance away, he admits, and the Air Force is actively studying how to attain it.  As I look at the future for all these platforms, I think that’s where we need to be headed.”


Linking High Technology between Platforms

An advance example of high technology links between platforms is Northrop Grumman’s Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which is a digital waveform (up to 27 waveforms) that is designed for secure transmission of voice and data between F-35s, with the potential of linking F-35s to ground stations or other aircraft.  “MADL is a digital waveform that is designed for secure transmission of voice and data between F-35s, with the potential of linking F-35s to ground stations or other aircraft according to Northrop Grumman.  Think of the system as a computer.  The communications, navigation, and identification (CNI) system on an F-35 can manage 27 different waveforms, including MADL.  The data comes through the antenna, is turned into digitized bits, and is crunched by the on-board systems to get the relevant information to the pilots.  All planes are part of the “edge” of a network that are dynamically linked with a communication link.  (MADL) more than just a communications tool, but has the ability to connect with other planes and automatically share situational awareness data between fighters.  The more planes in the network the greater the data shared and the more comprehensive a picture is formed.  Prior to takeoff, the planes are paired as to linkage and when they enter the network they are automatically part of the “dynamic network”. 

“Like on your computer, your network into the local area, we’re building that network in the sky and it’s keeping up with all the dynamics and spatial changes. (MADL) has the smarts to keep up with all of that and keep the network in place so they can share the same data,” said Bob Gough, director of CNI technology and programs at Northrop Grumman.


NCW Space Threats

The Main Network threat remains (1) kinetic weapons, (2) laser interference, (3) signal jamming, (4) nuclear detonations, and (5) cyber-attacks, as well as the persistent danger from space debris.  The entire U.S. defense structure would go “dark” even if just one of the satellites were lost.

The next network layer above the sky layer is the Space Network.  Part of the aviation network is the uplink and downlinks linkage to satellites.  According to an Air Force released white paper, a new architecture is in the works for the military space programs, which Lockheed Martin’s (AEHF) satellite is currently a main element, but small satellites are being released under the (STP-S26) program.  The 2013 Air Force Space Command Report announced a new strategy of disaggregation, which is “the dispersion of space-based missions, functions, or sensors across multiple systems spanning one or more orbital plane, platform, host, or domain”.  In simpler terms, the idea behind disaggregation is to take the capability that has been crammed into a small number of highly capable satellites and spread them across a much wider number of platforms.  This program would result in more satellites in the network and hence greater redundancy of space system platforms.  However, the price will rise as well as the logistical challenges and the need for smaller, less expensive retrievable launchers such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences.

USAF Space Command (AFSPC) responsibilities include both space and cyberspace.  In a June 2013 document the recently a retired General Shelton, USAF, former commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command speculated that ,   “It comes down to how does the Air Force want to see itself in the future in cyber? Do we want to have a full-spectrum capability—have offense, defense, and exploitation capability—or do we want to secure just our portion of the overall Joint Information Environment [JIE] and [remove] the higher-end capabilities to the U.S. Cyber Command?  Those are questions that we all are going to wrestle with for the next couple years.”  Within the Air Force, the working group is involved actively with the A-2, the A-3/5, the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Agency, the Air Force Network Integration Center (AFNIC), the 24th Air Force and the Space Command.  In the June 2013 document, General Shelton further commented that “We are having some healthy disagreements, but at the end of all this we are going to be much stronger in the cyber domain because we will have worked through some really challenging questions…With the Air Force having converted away from communications and information toward cyberspace operations, the roles of the -3s—operations—and the -6s—communications and networking—will continue to challenge the service, the general offers…When it comes to operating in the cyber domain, it seems to make sense to shift that activity to the -3 and away from the -6.” 

In a February 2014 interview with Military Times, Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, Air Force Deputy Chief Of Staff for ISR said, “You have the platforms and analysis…There’s the data path — do we have the data paths that will be required in contested and highly contested situations?  What are we doing to work on assured communications?  There is the sensor that rides on the platform; I think there are certainly areas there where we can improve.  If you look at standoff ranges, then you need much greater, more powerful sensors than what we have today.  Then the fifth one is data storage and retrieval.  Think about the price of sending megabytes of data downrange.  We can’t ignore how we access that data, how we meta-tag that data, how we make sense of that data.”


NCW under the Geneva Conventions Protocols?

In 215, the questions still remain.  Would Net Centric Warfare (NCW) fall under the provisions of the Geneva Conventions?  Because of the reality of the internet technology is a new avenue to wage war, some are proposing a fifth Geneva Convention.  The world’s powers believed that the matters of war and peace should be subjected to universal legal principles of International Law.  However, does it have a provision regarding Net Centric Warfare (NCW) or better referred to as Cyber warfare provision?  Has the US ratified Protocols 1& 2?  If not then when?  U.S. views them as customary international law and not binding under Article 3, 1977 Protocol 2 and 3.  However, to what extent can war be limited and civilized?  How are the rules to be elaborated?  In addition, who is authorized to be the final judge in controversies over whether the laws of war have been honored?

Historically, in 1864 representatives of 15 governments — including those of Europe and the Ottoman Empire, the United States, Brazil, and Mexico — met in Geneva to draft the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field.  All 15 nations eventually signed the first, brief, two-page Geneva Convention.  Later, an additional 57 Nations signed the convention giving a total of 72 Nations.  In 1868, 23 articles were added to the 1864 Convention, and the 1906 meeting in Geneva produced substantial revisions.  In July 1929, a second Geneva Convention was adopted formalizing protections for POWS.  After WW1 and WW2 and with 55 million killed, the 1949 Convention was ratified and the four conventions were merged into one.  The most important addition was Article 3 of the 1949 Convention.  All Nations accepted the key principles of the Geneva Convention, which was international conflict.

The Geneva Convention consist of four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II.  There are 429 Articles of the four 1949 conventions.  The Geneva Convention outlines the fundamentals of the law of armed conflict.  All nations in the world have signed the Geneva Convention and they are the cornerstone of the law of war.  The broader picture is to understand how international law evolves within the context of the Geneva Convention and how it might affect the operational battle space or the acts to destroy the military’s abilities to execute a Net Centric Warfare (NCW) campaign or to render communication null and void.  Traditionally, a rule qualifies as customary international law if it meets two standards; namely, first, numerous nations have adhered to it in practice over a long period of time, and second, the nations adhered to it not for reasons of convenience or mere policy but out of a sense of legal obligation.  Under that guideline, the Geneva Convention is an international law.  Further, legal scholars Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith stated that these two requirements mean, “international law was grounded in State consent.”  As U.S. law is based on legal precedents, they cited a 1927 decision by the Permanent Court of International Justice that declared, “International law governs relations between independent states.  The rules of law binding upon states therefore emanate from their own free will.”


U.S. Legal Precedents

Since the early 1800 Civil War Lieber Code, there have been a number of international law conferences. In The Hague in 1899 and 1907, one of the most important treaties to come out of the latter conference was the 1907 Hague Convention number IV for the Conduct of Military Operations on Land.  There has been any number of Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims over the years.  Today there are four 1949 Geneva Conventions.  The first deals with military wounded and sick on the battlefield.  The second deals with military wounded, sick, and shipwrecked.  The third refers to prisoners of war and their protection, and the fourth deals with enemy civilians or civilians in enemy hands.

According to Peter Berkowitz and Dianne Taube Senior Fellows at the Stanford University Hoover Institution who recently researched the Geneva Conventions, “The 1949 conventions have stood the test of more than 60 years of armed conflicts, revolutions, civil wars, rebellions, and insurgencies.  Yes, there are some odd provisions contained in the 429 Articles of the four 1949 conventions.  The Conventions nevertheless remain the most significant brake on the horrors of warfare, and the most significant protection of victims of war that a compassionate world can devise. The 1977 additional Protocols I and supplement Geneva Convention restrictions and protections.  Controversially, additional Protocol I stretched the definition of international armed conflict to include groups fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation, and against racist regimes in the exercise of their rights of self-determination. More controversial still, it grants to combatants who conceal their weapons and do not wear uniforms prisoner-of-war protections.  Additional Protocol II applies to no international conflicts, elaborating common Article 3 protections.  While the U.S. has declined to ratify either Protocol, finding in them unwarranted restrictions on its ability to defend its rights and interests, and perverse incentives legitimating asymmetric warfare, it has come to accept large parts of them as customary international law.  Moreover, the rest of the world has increasingly come to accept them in their entirety as binding parts of the Geneva Conventions.”

What has happened with the growth of transnational legal theory to lecture sovereign countries on the appropriateness of their behavior and to use foreign courts to target prominent military and civilian leaders?  As reported in the Foreign Affairs’ article The Law of War, “In contemporary Europe, sovereignty is pooled, and a great deal of practical lawmaking has moved from democratically elected national legislatures to supranational judicial and administrative bodies.  Indeed, today, the unelected European Commission in Brussels -- not by National Parliaments, initiates more than half of all legislation in Europe. This is also the trend in the U.S. as witnessed by two terms of U.S. President Barak Obama creating legislation using regulations of his various departments (EPA, Department of Labor, etc.) and his Executive Orders that by-pass the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the 2013 book, Taming Globalization, law professors John Yoo and Julian Ku argued that the 2005 Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfield, “…concluded that the sources of international rules, such as the Geneva Conventions and the customary laws of war, limited executive policy only because Congress had specifically incorporated them by domestic statute…the important point is that the Court did not attempt to apply international law directly, but instead based its decision on the enactments of the elected branches…it maintained the basic line that preserves American sovereignty.” (The ruling was overturned in the Military Commission Act of 2006.)

A Sovereign State conducting military operations against transnational terrorists halfway around the world is involved in a conflict that is of neither an international nor a non-international character; therefore it appears that the Geneva Convention would not apply to the U.S. Military’s use of net centric warfare to remove combatants from the battlefield who were a threat to the national security of the United States. Might it be logical to conclude that the use of Russian or Chinese State net centric warfare? The US believes that the 9/11 terrorist act was simply a “criminal event” and thus under the U.S. criminal laws and not international law embodied in the Geneva Conventions. 


Conflicting Legal Opinions

According to former Senator John Kyl in his August 2013 article, The War of Law, “Transnationalism legal scholars effectively want to elevate global norms above the U.S. Constitution”.  With the U.S. embracing globalization, U.S. politicians have reached out to solve problems not in the arena of domestic policy, but in the arena of international bodies to solve problems that normally would have been solved domestically.  The use of the Geneva Convention to frame and to limit the use of Net Centric Warfare by the United States Military is an issue that is being heatedly debated. The academics all have a quick answer to any complicated question.  Carla Anne Robbins, and adjunct Senior Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, was asked on May 2, 2014, the question; what International Law that she kept referring to in regards to the use of sanctions by the global community?  Ms. Robbins replied, “Do not change borders by the use of force”.  If the Law of War were that clear, then the issue of Net Centric Warfare under the legal umbrella of the Geneva Conventions would be quite simple.  Clearly the use of Net Centric Warfare does not change borders by force, therefore any nation can use this means to meet foreign as well as military policy objectives.  In the brave new world of globalization, would require the United States to set aside foundational concepts -- the separation of powers, federalism, and representative democracy- in favor of new, ostensibly more European Progressive socialist notions of how to legislate with a one-world centralized state?

Harold Koh, the former Dean of Yale Law School wrote in a 2006 Penn State International Law Review article.  “In this story, one of these agents triggers an interaction at the international level, works together with other agents of internalization to force an interpretation of the international legal norm in an interpretive forum, and then continues to work with those agents to persuade a resisting nation-state to internalize that interpretation into domestic law.” The idea of this legal professor is to download International Law into the U.S. Domestic law.  This would apply to the Law of War as well, which has already affected the use of drones to keep the terrorist at bay.  Unlike the 1949 Geneva conventions, Protocol I would grant prisoner-of-war privileges to terrorists, even if they hid among civilian populations and waited until after an (UAS) attack to reveal themselves.  The provision would give terrorists a more favored status than conventional forces, and it would put civilians at greater risk, thus undermining a major purpose of the laws of war.  The U.S. has not ratified Protocol 1as it contradicts the humane provisions of traditional international law. As demonstrated in the 2014 emergence of the Sunni ISIS/ISIL, the warriors of Islam readily hide among the civilian population to protect their lives.


International Law Voices

Stephen Rockel and Rick Halpern argue in “Inventing Collateral Damage” that the current international regulations are too weak, permitting and even enabling states to harm civilians during combat.  Will Marshall, the 2010 president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, wrote that under President George Bush the 9/11 terrorist act which killed 3,000 Americans, created no written rules of war for combatting terrorism.  “The Geneva Convention should be written a fifth time to provide a common legal framework for combating terrorism.  This would help the world resolve the ‘neither soldier nor criminal’ quandary… A tough new anti-terrorism convention would give the international community new weapons in the struggle to discredit violent extremism.  By designating mass casualty and suicide terrorism as crimes against humanity, it would take some of the glamour out of violence.  It would also provide the legal basis for international tribunals to indict those who recruit the killers and plan the attacks…Because terrorism is a global scourge; it makes no sense for every country to write its own rules for combating and punishing terrorists.  It's time to arm the civilized world with the legal tools it needs to fight and defeat terrorists -- in a civilized way.” In March 2011, the Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would adhere to Article 75 of Additional Protocol I, the part that deals with “fundamental guarantees” for unlawful combatants.  According to former U.S. Senator John Kyl in his article, “In effect, (Hillary) Clinton asserted that the State Department can deem parts of a treaty binding on the United States, presumably as customary international law, even if that treaty has never been ratified according to the U.S. Constitution.”


America’s Cyber Security and the Geneva Conventions

With operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) phase for Block 40, it is clear that the DoD will rely on sensors on UAS and the F-35 versus a Satellite based C4ISR methodology.  The U.S. Strategic Command and the U.S. Cyber Command are going to have challenges as adversaries become technologically sophisticated in nullifying U.S and its ally’s battle space networks.  Before retiring in March 2013, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Keith Alexander, commander of CYBERCOM and NSA Director, said, “Those attacks are coming.  I think those are near term and we are not ready for them.  We have some key capability gaps in dealing with these increasingly capable threats.”

According to the DoD’s March 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a Cyber Mission Force will be created to operate and defend the DoD’s networks and support military operations.  QDR has three focus areas; namely, protecting the homeland, building security globally, and projecting power and winning decisively.  State of the art tools and infrastructure to conduct military operations will be funded and with trained personnel by 2016.  General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a recent document, “Nearly any future conflict will occur on a much faster pace and on a more technically challenging battlefield.”  Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, Air Force Deputy Chief Of Staff for ISR further stated, “the Air Force is investing quite heavily in cyber, in support of these national mission forces that we are standing up for US Cyber Command.  There are assets and capabilities in space that we have been either underutilizing or that we have not integrated as well as we could into this holistic [ISR] picture.”


Bello ac Pace Paratus

Are we in a dark age of security driven by endless amounts of data and the high demand trends in cloud computing, mobility systems, and consumerism?  As long as security breaches yield financial or political gain for attackers, cyber-attacks will continue to expand.  Information security has always required an artful balancing act between use, cost, and strength.  Knowledge learned in breeching the security of large corporate networks could be easily transferred to breech Defense networks during a time of war. The answer can be found within a DISA commitment to open enterprise architecture and the use of commercial non-proprietary software systems, which means future cyber security intrusion, is a high probability. Steve Kreider, Program Executive Officer, U.S. Army Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (IEW&S), admitted at the 13th Annual C4ISR and Networks Conference admitted “we are penetrated daily.” Once sensors send the daily terabyte of data collected each day and transferred to a “big data” database, how do you secure the data when it is sent to be used for battle field analytics and rapid decision making?

It is clear that Net Centric Warfare (NCW) can be a force multiplier as well as being attacked to render the network impotent to deliver battlefield domination.  The Geneva Conventions stand as a reasonable set of guidelines, but only if Nations give up their sovereignty rights and allow a centralized politically based solution to perceived Net Centric Warfare infringements.  Civilian networks that deliver communications in the form of voice, video, and data are vulnerable as they are continuously attacked for financial and destructive hacking gain.  The solution appears to be 24x7-network vigilance and monitoring which can be costly without 100% predictable of cybersecurity.  The USAF Defense Cyber Crime Center is based in Linthicum, MD.  The center supports the DoD’s laws enforcement agencies, counterintelligence, and cyber communities with digital forensics, training, and response to threats.  In August 2013, Michael E. Krieger, the Army’s acting CIO said that the “security stacks are designed to improve command and control and situational awareness and are essential to enabling single security architecture in the joint information environment.” The DoD is moving towards a joint information environment.  The USAF is working with (DISA) and the U.S. Army to consolidate its network security stacks into “joint regional security stacks” by 2015. 

Four years after the death of Osama bin Laden by a team of U.S. Navy Seals, it is clear that technology and human terrorism continues to be a threat for the United States and its allies.  International Law and Conventions do not stop attacks put upon the IP networks or impede the operational necessity to use deadly force.  On May 1, 2014, Leon Panetta who served as CIA director, White House chief of staff, OMB director and chairman of the House Budget Committee, and before retiring in 2013, the 23rd secretary of defense wrote “For diplomacy to succeed, it must be supported by a strong and credible defense.  Now is not the time to weaken our military, but that is exactly what is happening.  That is not to say the defense budget cannot be reduced responsibly…”  At the 2014 13th Annual C4ISR & Networks Conference, Dough Wiltsie, Program Executive Officer, U.S. Army Enterprise Information Systems (EIS), outlined a bold plan to increase Cyber capabilities, enterprise network architecture, capacity, Security and NetOps, and Signal requirements.  However, he admitted that the US Army is radically being downsized and cost will increase in an era of budget cuts. At the 2014 RSA Conference in San Francisco, Richard Alan Clarke former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States, spoke that “the U.S. is better at offensive versus defensive when it comes to cybersecurity.  Al-Qaeda has not gone away and they still want to make big attacks.  However, we still need strong Intel while still being transparent and protecting against collateral damage.  There has been dismal internal security of the NSA network.  There is a disconnect between makers and intelligence gatherers.”

On May 3, 2014, John Yoo, the distinguished professor of Law at UC Berkeley wrote, “Cyber weapons are not specifically addressed in wars of law treaties, nor are they prohibited.  Compliance with the Geneva Conventions will depend on how the weapons are used.  It also depends on whether we are talking about the 1949 Conventions or the Additional Protocols, which the U.S. has not ratified.”  The key priority of the DoD and DISA is to control and manage the cyber electromagnetic spectrum and less on the legal ramifications of (NCW) upon the international community. U.S. “attack zone” dominance is a key joint services’ strategy, therefore Cyberspace, Electronic Warfare, and Spectrum operations will remain the priority. As Seneca the Younger wrote, “He is best secured from dangers who is on his guard even when he seems safe.”

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GMCStream, a Delaware LLC -is an American Veteran Owned print and digital publication that tracks the trends, drivers, and technologies that fuel the Aerospace and Defense communication sectors. Established in 2013 as a technology driven digital on-line publishing organization - We research, analyze, and highlight MILCOM problems and solutions that may affect Global National Security.

GMCStream based in Raleigh NC High-tech Triangle with Management and Support staff in Silicon Valley California. GMCStream was founded by Richard Theodor Kusiolek, an expert in Satellite Communications, Cyber Security, Defense, and Aerospace platforms with private sector experience and expertise in international business development and strategy, particularly in America, China, Japan, Ukraine, and Russia. The company is growing organically into a specialized niche media and technology company providing real-time streaming face-to-face video interviews and coverage on a variety of topics including Government Policy, Space and Missile systems, cyber-warfare, Defense Networks. Artificial Intelligence, STEM career webinars, and Moon-Mars explorations.