Paper – Cyber Fundamentals for SOF

SOF and cyberspace activities

A ‘Quick Look’ report by the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) provides information that will help the special operations community understand the cyberspace domain and friendly and adversary cyberspace activities.

This report presents information about the formation and mission of CYBERCOM. It defines the cyberspace domain as the physical network layer, logical network layer, and cyber-persona layer. The activities of friendly and adversary actors in cyberspace are detailed as cyberspace security, cyberspace exploitation, and cyberspace attack.

The short pub also provides information about Joint Task Force (JTF)-ARES Operation Glowing Symphony (OGS) formed in May 2016 to counter ISIS in cyberspace by planning and executing cyberspace operations in the Operation Iraqi Resolve area of operations. OGS “started a continuous set of actions to counter ISIS in cyberspace by taking down accounts, websites, and infrastructure used to create and distribute propaganda. It also disrupted internal communication across ISIS leaders and followers, and gravely disrupted an ISIS publication which never resumed operations.”

The report goes on to explain why cyberspace operations matter to SOF, how cyber operations (CO) can support or enhance SOF missions on the ground, and how the shift to Great Power Competition highlights the usefulness of cyber operations. “Ultimately, SOF can use a foundational understanding of CO as both a planning consideration for force protection and operational enhancement to present opportunities to execute core mission areas.”

Cyber Fundamentals for SOF, JSOU Quick Look, Joint Special Operations University, March 2021, PDF, 4 pages.

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