Turning Data Into Action
Today, the military gathers data through sensors on a range of platforms, including aircraft, weapon systems, ground vehicles and even troops in the field.
The data gathered is fed through Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems that process and disseminate the most mission-critical information, such as the position of an inbound threat.
To interpret the incoming data in real-time, companies, like Lockheed Martin, are using their knowledge in machine learning to increase automation when it comes to decision-making. This in turn leads to faster intelligence collection and swifter identification of threats.
Machine Learning Scenario
This is where machine learning comes into play. Instead, machine-learning programs can filter through conversations, find suspicious ones, and identify threats in real time for commanders to make strategic decisions on the ground.
Creating A Warfighting Network
The military is moving toward an integrated warfare approach.
Using 48,000 miles of classified communication network lines, the Missile Defense Agency’s Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications System, known as C2BMC, is one example of an IoT-enabled warfighting network.
This C4ISR system connects the different elements of the U.S. military’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) into a single system-of-systems to counteract threats across the globe.
“C2BMC is the translator for the BMDS,” explained JD Hammond, director of Command & Control. “It takes data from hundreds of sensors, radars and satellites and translates that data into a common language for the missile defense systems to interact and engage the threat.”
While a commander ultimately decides whether to engage, C2BMC provide the information required to intercept and destroy the threat.
Securing The Network
IoT-connected sensors and radars collect and transmit data on the position and movements of U.S. troops and adversaries, supplies, and inadequately secured networks can provide the enemy with this intelligence.
“The benefits of IoT that make it attractive to the military also make the framework vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks,” said Hammond. “Our challenge is ensuring that the adoption of IoT does not create an opportunity to manipulate a device or network, steal secure information or disrupt the flow of data.”
Hammond cited regular “audits” of the system, which includes a team of internal hackers infiltrating the system to assess how the current tools and capabilities would respond to an attack, and adjust as needed to strengthen the defense.
To mitigate threats, the defense industry is “cyber hardening” its networks, systems and sensors from attacks. Hardening involves increasing the difficulty of accessing or exploiting a system by layering multiple cyber techniques—such as adding detection systems, training personnel and collecting data on adversaries.
Cyber Attack Scenario
By fully understanding an intrusion, the military can predict the characteristics of future intrusions with greater confidence and evolve its techniques and cyber infrastructures for future attacks.