JED - May 2013 - 48

commentary
by John K nowle s

WHY TWO DOMAINS ARE
BETTER THAN ONE

I
 
The Journal of Electronic Defense | May 2013

48

n recent weeks, the long-running
discussion regarding exactly how
the electromagnetic (EM) and
cyber environments relate to each
other has come back to the forefront with several voices calling
for what appears to be the establishment of a single Cyber-EM environment.
The most prominent of these was
Chief of Naval Operations ADM Jonathan
Greenert. Building on his earlier articles
about the Cyber and EM environments
published in Naval Institute’s Proceedings
magazine, Admiral Greenert contributed
an op-ed piece for AOL Defense titled,
“Wireless Cyberwar, the EM Spectrum,
and the Changing Navy.” He followed up
what has been an exceptional effort to
raise awareness of the EM environment
by citing some excellent examples of the
Navy’s growing dependence on the EMS,
the need to “improve our awareness of
the EM and cyber environments,” and the
Navy’s desire to “employ agility in the EM
spectrum and cyberspace.”
However, the concept at play seemed
to be one of EM and cyber as a single
environment. “With wireless routers or
satellites part of almost every computer
network, cyberspace and the EM spectrum now form one continuous environment,” Greenert wrote.
As current events further push EM
and cyber concerns forward, the number
of voices calling for their consideration
as one environment has grown. Though
it appears to make sense on the surface,
deeper consideration of the DOD’s broad
operational responsibilities in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) make a
combined Cyber-EM domain something
that should be reconsidered before the
Navy or any Service goes too far down
that path.

UNDERSTANDING THE
EM-CYBER RELATIONSHIP

CONVERGENCE – A POWERFUL BUT
MISAPPLIED TERM

Recent discussion has focused on an
important concept – the evolving relationship between the cyber environment
and the EM environment. (If you want,
you can substitute the word “domain” for
“environment,” as JED often does.) But
what is frequently described as a single
Cyber-EM environment is really two
separate environments – the cyber environment and the EM environment. To
understand why this is true, it is worth
taking a closer look at the characteristics
of the cyber and EM environments.
Cyberspace, according to the DOD’s
Joint Publication 3-12, is “A global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent
network of information technology
infrastructures and resident data, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems and
embedded processors and controllers.”
This means that cyberspace is not a natural physical environment. Cyberspace
comprises man-made technologies and
forms a portion of the information environment. This makes cyberspace very
different from the EM environment.
The EM environment is a natural physical maneuver space that we visualize
through the concept of the EM Spectrum
(EMS). In this sense, the EM environment
is like the Air, Land, Sea and Space domains. As a natural physical maneuver
space, the EM environment (or operationally speaking, the EM Domain) cannot
“merge” with another environment any
more than the Air and Sea domains can
converge to form a single Air-Sea environment or the Space and Cyber domains
can converge to form a Space-Cyber environment. It just doesn’t work that way.

In technology-heavy disciplines
like electronic warfare (EW) and cyber operations, it is tempting to cite
technology-related examples as evidence of a continuous Cyber-EM environment. There are numerous EM
systems (jammers, radars and communications systems) that are networked
via cyberspace. Cyber systems are also
increasingly using the EMS via wireless networks. This trend is a type of
technological convergence. (Many argue
that “technological convergence” isn’t
even the correct term for this trend and
that “technology sharing” is a more accurate description.) The problem arises
when we try to extend the significance
of this trend beyond technology and argue that the cyber and EM environments
are converging.
First of all, technology does not determine or define a natural physical
maneuver space like the EM environment. The EM environment has existed
from the moment of the Big Bang which
is certainly long before humans began
exploiting it for radio communications,
radar, GPS, etc. Whatever tools the DOD
uses to maneuver within the EM environment, those technologies do not define the environment. The same rule is
true for the information environment,
of which cyberspace forms a part. More
importantly, there is no relationship
between EM and cyber technological
convergence and convergence between
the EM and cyber environments. Just
as technology cannot define a domain,
technological convergence cannot drive
domain convergence.
When technological convergence
has occurred in the past, it has not


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JED - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - May 2013

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
Letters
The Monitor
The Monitor
The Long Hard Road – EW’s Future in Europe
Technology Survey: Signal Generators
Two Domains Are Better Than One
Preview: AOC 50th Anniversary
EW 101
Book Review
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - May 2013 - cover1
JED - May 2013 - cover2
JED - May 2013 - 3
JED - May 2013 - 4
JED - May 2013 - 5
JED - May 2013 - The View From Here
JED - May 2013 - 7
JED - May 2013 - Conferences Calendar
JED - May 2013 - 9
JED - May 2013 - Courses Calendar
JED - May 2013 - 11
JED - May 2013 - From the President
JED - May 2013 - 13
JED - May 2013 - Letters
JED - May 2013 - The Monitor
JED - May 2013 - 16
JED - May 2013 - 17
JED - May 2013 - 18
JED - May 2013 - 19
JED - May 2013 - 20
JED - May 2013 - 21
JED - May 2013 - 22
JED - May 2013 - 23
JED - May 2013 - 24
JED - May 2013 - 25
JED - May 2013 - The Monitor
JED - May 2013 - 27
JED - May 2013 - The Long Hard Road – EW’s Future in Europe
JED - May 2013 - 29
JED - May 2013 - 30
JED - May 2013 - 31
JED - May 2013 - 32
JED - May 2013 - 33
JED - May 2013 - 34
JED - May 2013 - 35
JED - May 2013 - 36
JED - May 2013 - 37
JED - May 2013 - 38
JED - May 2013 - 39
JED - May 2013 - 40
JED - May 2013 - Technology Survey: Signal Generators
JED - May 2013 - 42
JED - May 2013 - 43
JED - May 2013 - 44
JED - May 2013 - 45
JED - May 2013 - 46
JED - May 2013 - 47
JED - May 2013 - Two Domains Are Better Than One
JED - May 2013 - 49
JED - May 2013 - 50
JED - May 2013 - 51
JED - May 2013 - Preview: AOC 50th Anniversary
JED - May 2013 - 53
JED - May 2013 - 54
JED - May 2013 - EW 101
JED - May 2013 - 56
JED - May 2013 - 57
JED - May 2013 - 58
JED - May 2013 - Book Review
JED - May 2013 - 60
JED - May 2013 - AOC News
JED - May 2013 - 62
JED - May 2013 - 63
JED - May 2013 - 64
JED - May 2013 - Index of Advertisers
JED - May 2013 - JED Quick Look
JED - May 2013 - cover3
JED - May 2013 - cover4
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