Assessing the Operational Environment: What We Learned Over the Past Year

Assessing the Operational Environment: What We Learned Over the Past Year

TRADOC G2 Operational Environment Assessment

This paper argues that fast-moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are rapidly changing all aspects of society and human life, including the very character of warfare as TRADOC described in “The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare,” published in 2017. The convergence of these trends also reveals an erosion of U.S. military overmatch in several areas and set the stage for more aggressive challenges for the U.S.

This Operational Environment (OE) is dynamic and capable of changing when new drivers, new developments, and/or new trend lines are discerned, but changes to the whole OE construct will be rare. This does not mean that learning about the OE is a static process. TRADOC’s OE Enterprise is a learning enterprise that seeks to answer key questions and close critical OE knowledge gaps so that the Army can make the best decisions it can. Over the past year, TRADOC has learned a great deal more about the OE, but we have not changed our underlying assessment of the OE’s trajectory. There are critical lessons and insights that will influence the Army’s training and leader development, concept and doctrine development, and materiel acquisition efforts. We can categorize these critical lessons, or assessments, into four categories: general, tactical, operational, and strategic.

The general lessons we have learned over the past year confirm our OE analysis of trends and factors that intensify and accelerate the transformation of the future OE. The first trend is instability caused by demographics, identity issues, economic imbalances, competition for resources, climate change, and other issues that create fault lines within nations, regions, and broader international relations. The second trend is the rapid innovation, development, and fielding of new technologies that promise to radically enhance our abilities to live, create, think, and prosper. The factors that cut across these trends and bring them together are the accelerated pace of human interaction and widespread connectivity through the Internet of Things, and the concept of convergence. Convergence of societal trends and technologies will create new capabilities or societal implications that are greater than the sum of their individual parts, and at times are unexpected.

A consequence of convergence is a willingness by global actors to challenge U.S. interests. The perceived waning of U.S. military power in conjunction with the increase in capabilities resulting from our adversaries’ rapid proliferation of technology and increased investment in research and development has set the stage for challengers to pursue interests contrary to America’s.

  • We have seen adversaries directly attack our national will with cyber and sophisticated information operations while bypassing or metering any military attacks.
  • We will face peer, near-peer, and regional hegemons as adversaries, as well as non-state actors motivated by identity, ideology, or interest, and individuals super-empowered by technologies and capabilities once found only among nations.
  • Any area into which the Army will deploy between now and 2050 is expected to have instability that can be exploited either by U.S. Joint Forces or our adversaries. Fault lines in these areas generally include political disenfranchisement, economic disparity, and issues relating to identity.
  • Technologies in the future OE will be disruptive, smart, connected, and self-organizing.
  • Major cultural divides and gulfs in understanding will exist between individuals, interest groups, nations, and regions, which will create disparities and increase instability.
  • Key technologies once thought to be science fiction are here today, and are improving daily. They present new opportunities for military operations ranging from human operated / machine-assisted, to human-machine hybrid operations, to human-directed / machine- conducted operations; all facilitated by autonomy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, enhanced human performance, and advanced computing.

The tactical lessons we have learned reveal tangible realities found on battlefields around the globe today and our assessments about the future rooted in our understanding of the current OE.

  • Our adversaries already are using weapons and systems that in some cases are superior to our own, providing selective overmatch of some U.S. capabilities, such as long-range fires, air-defense, and electronic warfare.
  • We also have witnessed the use of commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) technologies to create new and novel methods of warfare.
  • Convergence, in particular, plays a role here as our adversaries often combine technologies or operating principles to create novel, and at times unique, methods of attack.
  • Our adversaries continue to make strides in developing chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) capabilities. We must, at a tactical level, be prepared to operate in a CBRN environment.
  • Our potential adversaries are deploying complex combinations of capabilities that create unique challenges to the Army and Joint Forces. Adversaries, regardless of their resources, are finding ways to present us with multiple tactical dilemmas. Our adversaries are combining capabilities with new concepts and doctrine, as evidenced by:
    • Russia’s New Generation Warfare.
    • China’s active defensive and local wars under “informationized” conditions.
    • Iran’s focus on information operations, asymmetric warfare and anti-access/area denial.
    • North Korea’s combination of conventional, information operations, asymmetric, and strategic capabilities.
    • ISIS’s often improvised yet complex capabilities employed during the Battle of Mosul, in Syria, and elsewhere.
    • The proliferation of anti-armor capabilities seen in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, as well as the use of ballistic missiles by state and non-state actors.
  • Over the past year we have seen our adversaries field a number of new systems and technologies that have increased their capabilities. The most ubiquitous are drones and robotics that have been particularly successful in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.
  • Our adversaries have excelled at Prototype Warfare, using new improvised capabilities that converge technologies and COTS systems—in some cases for specific attacks—to great effect. ISIS, for example, has used commercial drones fitted with 40mm grenades to attack U.S. and allied forces near Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria. While these attacks caused little damage, a Russian drone dropping a thermite grenade caused the destruction of a Ukrainian arms depot at Balakleya, which resulted in massive explosions and fires, the evacuation of 23,000 citizens, and $1 billion worth of damage and lost ordnance.

The operational level lessons we have learned are teaching us that our traditional, and heretofore very successful, ways of waging warfare will not be enough to ensure victory on future battlefields. Commanders must now sequence battles and engagements beyond the traditional land, sea, and air domains, and seamlessly, and often simultaneously, orchestrate combat effects across multi-domains, to include space and cyberspace. The multiple tactical dilemmas that our adversaries present us with create operational level challenges. Adversaries:

  • Build increasingly sophisticated Anti-access/area denial “bubbles” we have to break.
  • Extend the scope of operations through the use of cyber, space, and asymmetric activities.
  • Simultaneously target individuals and segments of populations.
  • Complicate our operational deployment of forces.
  • Utilize sophisticated, and often deniable, methods of using information operations, often enabled by cyber capabilities, to directly target the Homeland and impact our individual and national will to fight.
  • Create the imperative to develop multi-domain capabilities.

We will have to operationalize Multi-Domain Battle to achieve victory over peer or near-peer competitors. Additionally, we must plan and be prepared to integrate other government entities and allies into our operations.

  • The dynamism of the future OE is driven by the ever increasing volumes of information. The importance of information operations will continue, and may become the primary focus of warfare/competition in the future.
  • When adversaries have a centralized leadership that can send a unified message and more readily adopt a whole-of-government approach, the U.S. needs mechanisms to more effectively coordinate and collaborate among whole-of-government partners.
  • Operations short of war may require the Department of Defense to subordinate itself to other Agencies, depending on the objective.
  • When coupled with sophisticated whole-of-government approaches, information operations, backed by new capabilities with increasing ranges, challenge our national approach to warfare.
  • Our adversaries’ asymmetric strategies blur the lines between war and competition, and operate in a gray zone between war and peace below the perceived threshold of U.S. military reaction.

The strategic lessons we have learned demonstrate the OE will be more challenging and dynamic then in the past.

  • A robust Homeland defense strategy will be imperative for competition from now to 2050.
  • North Korea’s strategic nuclear capability, if able to range beyond the Pacific theater to CONUS, places a renewed focus on weapons of mass destruction and missile defense.
  • A broader array of nuclear and weapons of mass destruction-armed adversaries will compel us to re-imagine operations in a CBRN environment, and to devise and consider new approaches to deterrence and collective security.
  • Our understanding of deterrence and coercion theory will be different from the lessons of the Cold War.
  • The Homeland will be an active theater in any future conflict and adversaries will have a host of kinetic and non-kinetic attack options from our home stations all the way to the combat zone.
  • The battlefield of the future will become far more lethal and destructive, and be contested from home station to the Joint Operational Area, requiring ways to sustain operations, and also to rapidly reconstitute combat losses of personnel and equipment.
  • The Army requires resilient smart installations capable of not only training, equipping, preparing, and caring for Soldiers, civilians, and families, but also efficiently and capably serving as the first point of power projection and to provide reach back capabilities.
  • Trends in demographics and climate change mean we will have to operate in areas we might have avoided in the past. These areas include cities and megacities, or whole new theaters, such as the Arctic.
  • Personalized warfare will increase over time, specifically targeting the brain, genomes, cultural and societal groups, individuals’ personal interests/lives, and familial ties.
  • Future conflicts will be characterized by AI vs AI (i.e., algorithm vs algorithm).
  • How AI is structured and integrated will be the strategic advantage, with the decisive edge accruing to the side with more autonomous decision-action concurrency on the “Hyperactive Battlefield.”
  • Due to the increasingly interconnected Internet of Everything and the proliferation of weapons with highly destructive capabilities to lower echelons, tactical actions will have strategic implications, putting even more strain and time-truncation on decision-making at all levels.
  • Cognitive biases can shape our actions despite unprecedented access to information.

Understanding the OE is perhaps more important now than ever. The future OE presents us with a combination of new technologies and societal changes that will intensify long-standing international rivalries, create new security dynamics, and foster instability as well as opportunities.

The Army recognizes the importance of this moment and is engaged in a modernization effort that rivals the intellectual momentum following the 1973 Starry Report. The Army’s intellectual momentum recognizes that the “big five” (i.e., M1 Abrams Tank, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter, UH-60 Black Hawk Utility Helicopter, and Patriot Air Defense System) had accompanying changes across leadership development and education, concept, and doctrine development that provided the U.S. Army overmatch into the new millennium.

Based on the future OE, the Army’s leadership is asking the important questions of what type of force do we need? What capabilities will it require? How will we prepare our Soldiers, civilians, and leaders to operate within this future? Clearly the OE is the starting point for this entire process.

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Tools to test new electronic weapons propel growth for Santa Rosa’s Keysight Technologies

About half of Keysight’s aerospace-defense market is overseas, such as India and Japan. Keysight sells some products to Russia and China despite their position as U.S. adversaries in some respects. The DOD restricts delivery of certain Keysight products to these countries, Peters said.

“We absolutely cannot sell to a certain small set of countries — North Korea and Iran,” Peters said. “We can sell commercial products to places like Russia and China that are appropriate under export control. There’s also a restricted party list,” such as people listed by the Obama administration when sanctions were imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and actions in Ukraine. “We wouldn’t have sold anything to them anyway,” Peters said. “We comply with all that.”

Selling a voltmeter, for instance, would not likely be controlled. “It’s not a threat to national security,” Peters said. “We are considered a defense company by the U.S. government because of some things we do.” The Department of Defense accounts for about 30 percent of Keysight’s aerospace-defense sales, with additional sales to domestic defense contractors.

Keysight’s aerospace-defense sales to other countries include allies. “New Zealand has a navy, and would need our equipment,” Peters said.

Electronic warfare has surged to the forefront in recent years. “There are domains of warfare,” Peters said. “Land, sea, air, space, cyber. Cyber is in or about the network — from the moment a radio wave touches your laptop and the laptop is connected to the Internet — that’s cyber. Electromagnetic-spectrum warfare is the sixth dimension of war.”

“It’s a cheap way to disrupt an enemy’s command-and-control. If you have a missile to take action against an adversary, the missile itself is a piece of hardware you have to protect. It has to have EW (electronic warfare) sensors on it to know that somebody is aiming for it to take evasive action.”

Using an electronic weapon is much less expensive than firing a missile, such as a ship-fired Rolling Airframe Missile or Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, to intercept an incoming missile.

A military airplane needs “sensors to give it 360 (degree) ability to see what’s going on, to protect plane and pilot,” Peters said. “The electromagnetic spectrum is something you want to control,” he said. “It’s critical to today’s connected battlefield. We’re not running cables. It needs to be protected and controlled.”

Identifying a threat quickly and accurately is vital. Gallium nitride, a compound of the soft silver-blue metal gallium, in radar substantially improves its range and sensitivity. Because gallium is used in smartphone technology, the material has become cheaper and more available.

In electronic warfare, “anywhere, anytime, any adversary can have access to that (gallium-nitride technology),” he said. “It makes defending really difficult. You are trying to disrupt the enemy, and they’re trying to disrupt you. It’s not a pleasant experience. It makes the test problem much harder than doing a cell phone.”

One Keysight simulator depicts a mock threat environment where a plane is flying using an electronic-warfare receiver to pick up radar from an airport, a destroyer and a helicopter. “It shows emissions from all those,” he said. “We emulate those emissions in real life. We send an RF signal out. That is used to test the EW receiver on an airplane. You bombard it with signals and figure out if it’s responding appropriately,” he said.


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NetScaler SD-WAN Virtual Path Unstable

Metering on the 4G link paths is turned on if there is at least 1 non-metered path that is in GOOD state. When this happens, metering is enabled on all paths on the 4G link and these paths are not used for control info. In other words, when at least 1 ADSL link path is in GOOD state, metering is enabled on the 4G link paths

while metering is enabled on the 4G link paths. If the quality of the ADSL link paths deteriorates to the point that the bandwidth on these paths is not sufficient for control info, the VP goes DEAD. Ss soon as the VP goes DEAD, the control plane disables metering, the 4G link paths are then used to send control info the VP goes back up.


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US security concerns could stall Huawei’s and ZTE’s 5G expansions

Will U.S. citizens get their first 5G phones from Huawei or ZTE? Not if Congress has its way.

Over the past week, members of Congress have been getting tough on the two Chinese companies, formally identifying both as threats to national security following years of investigations. Today, Reuters reported that unidentified U.S. lawmakers asked AT&T to stop collaborating with Huawei on standards for its next-generation 5G network, and cut ties to Huawei altogether.

The report follows U.S. Representatives Michael Conaway’s and Liz Cheney’s introduction of the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, a bill to bar the U.S. government from using or contracting with Huawei and ZTE, after a House intelligence committee report concluded that their products were insecure for government and military use.

In the works since well before a September House hearing on Huawei and ZTE, the Congressional actions appeared to coincide with ZTE’s claim at CES that it would launch its first 5G phone in the United States by early 2019 and AT&T’s unexpected decision to kill plans to start selling Huawei phones in this country.

Today’s report suggests that AT&T walked away from Huawei under pressure from government regulators, who were most likely lobbied by the same members of Congress involved in the investigation. It’s unclear whether or how much AT&T was collaborating with Huawei on 5G; the company was reportedly working with Qualcomm and Ericsson prior to announcing its end of 2018 5G network plans, but could easily have had other partners.

There is good reason to be concerned about the security of cellular networks. As VentureBeat reported last week, the upcoming U.S. launches of two 5G networks will mark the beginning of a long-planned drive to put 5G cellular radios everywhere, and within everything.

Designed to add connectivity to billions of devices — securely — 5G is also expected to serve as the networking technology inside next-generation cities and car traffic infrastructures. Consequently, if a foreign government had a secret back door to infiltrate 5G networks, it could take control of entire cities, including all of their 5G-connected devices and vehicles.

That nightmare scenario is the flip side of the “ubiquitous 5G” dream, and the precise reason 5G was built with new security protocols. As Ericsson noted in a 5G security white paper, the ubiquity of 5G will turn virtual vulnerabilities into tangible public safety threats, so 5G networks demand extra protections: integrated attack resistance, multiple layers of encryption, integrity protection against injection or modification of traffic, and authentication superior to username/password combinations, just to name a few. Today, LTE networks running compromised equipment or software can be susceptible to intrusions, and even networks with solid hardware can be taken down by one or more inexpensive devices.

While Trump administration protectionism might otherwise be blamed for the recent Congressional actions, investigations into Huawei’s and ZTE’s potential threats to critical U.S. infrastructure date back to at least 2012, when 60 Minutes and the aforementioned House report spotlighted the concerns. Although ZTE and Huawei are supposedly private companies, ZTE is state-owned and was founded by investors associated with China’s aerospace ministry; Huawei was started by an ex-Chinese military engineer, and has what has been described as an “opaque” corporate structure. Both are suspected of covert ties to the Chinese government, and neither would explain why Chinese Communist Party committees had been set up within their business structures.

In recent years, both companies have been investigated for breaking U.S. laws: Huawei has been accused of assisting an alleged elite cyberwarfare unit of China’s army, as well as bribery, corruption, and immigration violations, while ZTE pled guilty to selling sanctioned computer equipment to Iran, and allegedly obstructed an investigation into the sales.

At the same time, both companies are in the top five for global telecom equipment sales, with significant supply contracts for overseas governments. Their continued growth depends in part upon the United States market, but given the directions Congress is taking, the likelihood of seeing either company making major inroads here has just dropped significantly.


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Why internet is under big threat from terrorists?

There’s a looming concern over a possible terror attack on the world’s undersea cables that could take down the Internet.

Most of us probably don’t realise this, but much of the infrastructure that makes the seamless working of the Internet possible lies at the bottom of the world’s oceans in the form of vast networks of fibre-optic cables that transmit data between countries. In the modern day, the Internet is our lifeline. Now, consider a scenario, which is nothing less than a nightmare. A terrorist organisation or some nefarious nation-state decides to derail the global Internet by faulting the undersea fibre-optic cables that connect the world. These cables, which run along the ocean floor, carry almost all transoceanic digital communication, allowing you to send a WhatsApp message to a friend in Australia or receive an email from your cousin in Colarado. Despite the significant role that these cables play in global communications, they are largely unguarded because of their location underwater. That vulnerability is in the headlines lately due to the recent warnings that Russia could sabotage the cables and disrupt connections between the US and Europe.

A cyber warfare between nations carries potentially devastating consequences. At a time when more than 95% of everything that moves on the global Internet passes through just 200 undersea fibre-optic cables, potential adversaries such as the US, Russia, China and Iran are focusing on these deep-sea information pipes as rich sources of intelligence, as well as targets in war. The weapons earmarked for the struggle include submarines, underwater drones, robots and specialised ships and divers. The new battlefield is also a gray legal zone: Current Law of the Sea conventions cover some aspects of undersea cables, but not hostile acts.

According to reports, Russian submarine activity around undersea cables that provide the Internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe has raised concerns among NATO officials. They believe that an unprecedented amount of Russian deep-sea activity, especially around undersea Internet lines, constitutes a newfound “vulnerability” for NATO nations. Russian submarine activity has increased to levels unseen since the Cold War, sparking hunts in recent months for the elusive watercraft. US Navy officials have warned for years that it would be devastating if Russia, which has been repeatedly caught snooping near the cables, were to attack them. NATO is now planning to resurrect a Cold War-era command post in part to monitor Russian cable activity in the North Atlantic.

It is almost impossible to think of a world where there is no Internet. The idea of the global Internet going dark because some cables were damaged is frightening. But if Russia or anyone else were to snip a handful of the garden hose-sized lines, then the consequences would likely be less severe than the picture the military paints. The world’s Internet infrastructure is vulnerable, but Russia doesn’t present the greatest threat. Before you get too caught up in a nightmare scenario of the Internet suddenly going dark due to sabotage, reports say the system—despite its lack of defenses—is resilient and would be difficult for an enemy nation or terrorist group to disable. The fibre cables that transmit the world’s data are surprisingly slim. There are plenty more complicated problems that start with understanding how the cable system actually works. One of the estimated 428 undersea cables worldwide is damaged every couple of days. Nearly all faults aren’t intentional. They’re caused by underwater earthquakes, rock slides, anchors and boats. That’s not to say that humans are incapable of purposefully messing with the cables. The optical strands inside the cables have extraordinary capacity to transmit data, millions of phone calls per fibre. The cables that house bundled fibre optics are no thicker than a human wrist. The fibre is encased in a hermetically-sealed tube, which is, in turn, surrounded by layers of high-tensile steel wires, copper and polyethylene. For sections in shallower water, where cables are more likely to encounter ship anchors and other manmade hazards, additional layers of armour are sometimes added, or else cables are buried under the seabed. As a result, cables are damaged worldwide only about 200 times a year.

Since the first submarine telegraphic cable was laid across the Atlantic in 1858, undersea cables have mostly been in private hands left alone by governments and global bodies. In some areas, ocean cables must travel through narrow bodies of water that border several countries like in the Strait of Malacca and the Red Sea. In these tight spots, there’s a greater risk of threats like dropped anchors. They’re also potentially subject to geopolitical disputes since a larger number of countries and companies have an interest in the lines that run through those waters. Several locales also serve as hubs for a large number of cables and thus are sites of consolidated risk. If Egypt’s undersea cables ruptured, for instance, at least one-third of the global Internet could go down. There are calls for undersea sensors for cables: creation of backup or “dark” cables that would not be publicly identified.


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Diesel On Smartwatch highlights !!

Diesel On Smartwatch sports a 1.4-inch AMOLED display,Crisp display and Bold design.


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Help creating a filter with model and bios version

I need a solution

I have this filter built that pulls based on model name, works fine.

   [vRM_Computer_Item] AS [vri1_Computer]
      LEFT OUTER JOIN [Inv_HW_Logical_Device] AS [dca2_HW Logical Device]
         ON ([vri1_Computer].[Guid] = [dca2_HW Logical Device].[_ResourceGuid])
         ([dca2_HW Logical Device].[Model] LIKE N'Latitude 5480')

Can someone help me expand it to be something like “model like Latitude 5480” and BIOS Not like 1.8.1?  I’m trying to plan mitigation for Spectre/Meltdown as discussed here.




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Choosing the best hardware for your next IoT project

This article provides a balanced overview of different types of hardware
that are commonly adopted for IoT, including micro controllers (for example,
Arduino), single board computers (for example, Raspberry Pi), and embedded
devices. The article describes the high-level building blocks and key
characteristics of hardware, including an overview of needed security features
and firmware capabilities, in the context of IoT. The article also provides
guidance for when, where and why a developer might choose one type of hardware
over another for an IoT project, and examples of use across a range of