Vadym Ledney is a cyber warfare specialist of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Cyber military” is a young phenomenon in the field of military affairs and in the world as a whole. Can you share the vision in Ukraine regarding the organization of cyber defence and the way cyber warfare is conducted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
I agree with your statement that cyber forces (cyber military) is a young phenomenon in the army, but I believe that it is highly effective and promising.
Historically, the Armed Forces of Ukraine began to deal with the issue of activities in cyberspace since 2010. At that time, the US had already created a cyber command as a separate type of its armed forces. And in Ukraine, the “Convention on Cybercrime” was ratified (Law of Ukraine dated September 7, 2005, No. 2824-IV.
Since 2010, the specialists of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the field of cyber have been studying the experience of the armed forces of other countries in the creation of cyber forces (cyber troops).
The Law of Ukraine “About the Basic Principles of Providing Cyber Security of Ukraine” contains a definition of cyber defence.
Cyber defense – a set of political, economic, social, military, scientific, technical, informational, legal, organizational and other measures that are carried out in cyberspace and are aimed at providing the protection of the sovereignty and defense capability of the state, preventing the occurrence of armed conflict and repelling armed aggression;
Military aggression in cyberspace – implementation of systematic and large-scale actions against Ukraine in cyberspace by foreign states (groups of states), in particular with the involvement of cyber units of military formations, intelligence and special services, including the use of cyberweapons and other special means of influence in cyberspace (in particular, indirectly by concealing sources and their origin).
We consider the implementation of military cyber defence measures as the conduct of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the components of cyber defence forces.
Cyber warfare – a set of mutually coordinated actions by designated troops (forces) in terms of purpose, tasks, place, and time, aimed at obtaining information about the enemy’s cyber infrastructure, destroying it with all types of weapons or capturing it (disabling it, gaining control), causing damage to it through cyber actions, conducting cyber operations and radio-electronic suppression, protectingone’s cyber infrastructure from cyber intelligence and cyber actions of the enemy.
As part of conducting cyber warfare, we consider the possibility of managing three separate areas: cyber intelligence (cyber reconnaissance), cyber influence, and cyber defence. The specified directions have different tasks, which are dictated by the national security needs of Ukraine.
Cyber intelligence should be engaged in:
At the same time, the forward-looking Command of Cyber Forces (troops) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine carries out a constant exchange of information with subjects of the intelligence community dealing with cyber intelligence issues.
The sphere of attention of cyber influence is suitable for:
Cyber defence takes care of:
The Cyber Forces Command, in turn, is engaged in the search for vulnerabilities of the ICN of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the development of security policies and recommendations for the Command of the Communications and Cyber Security Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The command of cyber forces is also responsible for the distribution of tasks in the three branches of cyber warfare.
In addition, the Cyber Forces Command of the Armed Forces provides technological support to the Special Operations Forces. In turn, the Special Operations Forces are responsible for information and psychological operations in cyberspace, namely:
Tell us about the purpose and main functions of the cyber forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The purpose of the cyber forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is to protect the sovereignty of the state and repel armed aggression in cyberspace, to conduct defensive and offensive operations in cyberspace.
The main functions of cyber troops should be:
Additional functions should be:
What units can the structure of cyber forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine consist of, and what is the prospective structure of the cyber command of cyber forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
We have a clear vision for the Cyber Command structure with five main offices and headquarters:
In accordance with the necessary set of military units for effective cyber warfare (Cyber Intelligence Centre, Cyber Warfare Centres, Information Protection and Cyber Security Centres in ICN, Logistics Centre, Cyber Laboratories).
The perspective of cyber forces is visualized, as a separate element of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the command can be represented by the following diagram:
Each department in the middle of the cyber command must interact with each other in the performance of common tasks, also each of the departments organizes (manages, controls) the execution of tasks according to the direction in the corresponding component (highlighted in different colours).
It is also necessary to organize interaction in the areas of cyber intelligence and cyber defence with the other main subjects of the national cyber security system (the National Cyber Security Coordination Centre as a working body of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, intelligence agencies, the National Bank of Ukraine) and others that are part of the defense forces (State Special Transport Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, National Guard of Ukraine, State Border Service of Ukraine, State Migration Service of Ukraine, State Service of Ukraine with emergency situations.
security forces – law enforcement and intelligence agencies, state bodies of special purpose with law enforcement functions, civil defence forces and other bodies entrusted with the functions of ensuring the national security of Ukraine by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine;
defense forces – the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as other military formations formed in accordance with the laws of Ukraine, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, special purpose bodies with law enforcement functions, which are assigned the functions of ensuring the defense of the state by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine
And if we approach this from a visionary perspective, then the personnel of the cyber forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine should be formed from:
– Cyber warfare professionals in the relevant field (cyber intelligence, cyber influence, cyber defence) who have undergone training at a specialized military higher institution.
– Alternative service, service in the reserve of citizens of Ukraine (recruited through territorial recruitment and social support centres), after passing the appropriate course training according to the field of activity.
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