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Taking a page from home remodeling, ARCYBER to break down walls with ‘global synchronizer’

Close up of a man looking at a large computer monitor which is displaying a map of the world along with numerical data lines linking locations on the Earth. (Getty Images)

TECHNET AUGUSTA 2022 — Over the next year and a half, Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) plans to transform one of its regional cyber centers into a “global synchronizer” between the other regional centers, in a bid to coordinate international operations, according to its commander. 

Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, who took command of ARCYBER just 90 days ago, said today at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference that the Army will still run its five current regional centers — in Arizona, Hawaii, Germany, Korea and Kuwait — but the “CONUS” one, presumably Arizona, will take on new roles and be led by an O-6.

“But, you know, operations from a theater level immediately won’t change,” Barrett said. “We still operate five regional [cyber centers], of which CONUS is one. But we’ll bring Army 365 and running it centrally out of RCC CONUS and looking at more things like that… as we start to take down some of the barriers between the theaters that we have.” Army 365 is the service’s cloud-based initiative to help improve information sharing with added cybersecurity measures.

“This is the house we inherited, right?” she continued. “We walked into a 1910 house with a lot of walls and small doorways. I watch a lot of HGTV. It’s time for open concept.”

The goal is to have the RCCs synchronized across the globe and “talking” to each other, she added.

Related: Army Cyber, Space And Special Operations Commands Integrating Under New ‘Triad’ Concept

During her keynote, Barrett said ARCYBER also has to start thinking broader than just defending Defense Department networks, which is her current responsibility, as it becomes the premier data-centric force for the Army it envisions itself to be.

“It’s fair to say that our networks and cyber systems are no longer additive to our ability to wage war with our partners and allies,” Barrett said. “The network is the weapon system of the 21st century Army and data is the precision ammunition for that weapons system.”

Barrett emphasized information advantage, a concept with which the service and joint force has historically struggled, as being central to ARCYBER’s activities going forward. In 2019, former ARCYBER Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty proposed evolving the command into an Information Warfare Command and expanding its scope from cyber and electronic warfare to information operations, psychological operations and more, which was publicly backed by top Army officials, before pivoting to the information advantage concept.

The core of the idea is to “integrate influence” in cyberspace operations, electronic warfare information operations and cyber effects operations “to create substantially amplified effects,” Barrett said.

“But bottom line, behind people and readiness, the priority will be over the next two years is to pilot an experiment how we currently deliver information advantage activities to the operational commander,” Barrett said. “There is obviously plenty of work left.”

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