Simon Croall reflects on the challenges of coordinating Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) in the battlespace; why that necessitates a CEMA Integrator, and reminisces on a lost summer of cricket
The Cyber (and Electromagnetic) domain includes a multitude of sensors and systems jostling to use both wired networks and the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) with military, civil, industrial and other users. Understanding this domain, operating successfully in it, and leveraging it to gain an information advantage, is a complex challenge – and one that is best addressed by careful integration, synchronisation and coordination.
To help visualise the complexity that drives the need for a CEMA Integrator, let me try the following analogy.
As I write this we would have expected the West Indies to be arriving in England to play the first test series of the English summer. Of course, things this year are very different. However, if we think of the cricket pitch as the battlespace and, as in Figure 1, a high hit ball as a threat that the fielders try to catch, then we can consider the changes and challenges that are motivating the need for a CEMA Integrator.
Figure 1: The CEMA Battlespace – how it used to be, relatively easy to coordinate a response to a low number of threats in an uncluttered environment
In this first scene, the two fielders see the ball, invoke their temporal and spatial situational awareness skills, and coordinate the catch of this single ball by shouting “mine” and “yours” (and hopefully with no interference, or need for both fielders to say “sorry”!). Things work well with a low number of threats, or pieces of useful information, and a clear means of coordination (shouting) between a small numbers of sensors and responders (fielders).
Consider the next congested and confusing scene of Figure 2, which is analogous to the CEMA battlespace of today. There are multiple simultaneous balls in the air that need to be considered and responded to with coordination between lots of fielders. There are more fielders to be coordinated, akin to the military’s multiple platforms with multiple sensors capable of responding – not all of which may be military owned or operated. It is further complicated as not all of these fielders will be speaking a common language or understanding each other’s capabilities, analogous in the battlespace to working with legacy capability, in coalitions and with third parties. Automation is key to addressing the threat as humans by themselves will not be able to cope.
The battlespace of today, as shown in Figure 2, is further complicated by the likes of disruption and deception. For example, not all of the “balls” (i.e. threats) will be real (they could be just a ball chucked in from the stands!). However, these apparent “threats” still need to be detected and appropriately triaged, and this takes time and effort. Therefore, integration, synchronisation and the coordination of data, platforms, CEMA systems and people in this environment all present a challenge.
Figure 2: The CEMA Battlespace today – cluttered, contested and deceptive with multiple simultaneous threats and information and responses available from a large number of distributed platforms
To be effective in the integrated battlespace, militaries need to ensure CEMA is fundamental to most new platforms (real or virtual) and appropriately refreshed on legacy platforms, coordinated between platforms and have people who are suitably qualified and experienced to deliver. A CEMA Integrator addresses these challenges.
Baked in not bolted on - the CEMA Integrator coordinates capabilities in Electronic Warfare, Cyber and Security together as shown on Figure 3; and not in their traditional stovepipes or as an afterthought bolted onto a platform. BAE Systems helps our clients achieve this by integrating a portfolio of capabilities, all underpinned by secure information sharing.
Figure 3: A Lead CEMA Integrator, brings together elements of Cyber, EW and Security along with Platforms and People in order to understand, deliver effects and achieve information advantage
Over the coming months, we will publish a series of blogs from our experts in CEMA Integration, covering the aspects shown in Figure 3. We’ll discuss some of the enablers such as common standards, architectures, software defined radios (SDR) and analytics, as well as some of the latest military techniques and threats, through to the integration of CEMA into training and war simulation.
If you have any questions in the meantime, or you’d like to find out more about BAE Systems’ CEMA Integration, please get in touch: CEMA@baesystems.com
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