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Secure Tactical Communications for Inter-Organizational Collaboration: The Role of Emerging Information and Communications Technology, Privacy Issues, and Cyber Threats on the Digital Battlefield
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Military Studies, Military-Technology Division. School of Informatics, University of Skövde.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4376-9800
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The development within the area of information and communications technology (ICT) has been rapid during the last couple of decades. Advancements in mobile technology, such as smartphones and other portable devices with embedded sensors, rapid expansion of communications infrastructure, and increased spectrum utilization, has had a major impact on civilian society, but increasingly also on professional organizations such as the Swedish Armed Forces. While this technology allows for enhanced capabilities in the areas of command and control, situational awareness, and information management, it also leads to new challenges in such areas as cyber security and privacy. For armed forces in many parts of the world, being able to deploy in new types of missions, such as humanitarian assistance and response operations due to natural or man-made disasters, is an increasingly sought-after capability. Such operations commonly require collaboration amongst several heterogeneous organizations, which in turn requires technical as well as organizational interoperability. While the actors must be able to share certain information efficiently, with regards to integrity and availability, sensitive or classified information must be safeguarded in terms of confidentiality.

This thesis is concerned with studying emerging ICT for use on the battlefield of tomorrow, investigating how it can lead to more effective operations, and what preconditions that must be met in order for the technology to be of utility for inter-organizational collaboration. In particular, the thesis studies how an acceptable level of information security can be upheld in interconnected tactical communications networks. It is found that Mobile Ad-hoc Networks, Software-Defined Radio and Cognitive Radio are emerging technologies that, while still immature, can contribute to improved capabilities for communications, command and control, and information collection. Furthermore, Hastily Formed Networks is found to be an effective framework for collaboration between heterogeneous actors. However, in order for emerging ICTs to provide military utility, several non-technical requirements must be met. These include usability, trust, legality, cost, and verifying that the technology is in accordance with current military doctrine. Antagonistic as well as unintentional threats must also be mitigated, including information leaks caused by cyberattacks or insiders, and possible consequences of reduced user privacy.

Besides to the Swedish Armed Forces, this thesis should be of interest to armed forces of comparable countries, and for professional organizations faced with similar challenges. Among the drawn conclusions, the thesis recommends continuously evaluating emerging ICT in support of new capabilities, through academic research as well as internal concept development. Adopting an incremental and modular process is also recommended when developing or procuring new ICT systems, instead of making long-term investments in proprietary technology. Furthermore, a focus should be put on promoting military requirements in future civilian ICT standards. In this way development costs can be reduced, while facilitating tactical use of commercial off-the-shelf products. Regarding information security in tactical networks for inter-organizational collaboration the thesis concludes that employing best-effort methods could allow for efficient information exchange between actors, while upholding acceptable risk levels regarding data leakage.

Abstract [sv]

Informations- och kommunikationsteknik (IKT) har under de senaste årtiondena varit under stark utveckling. Ökad tillgänglighet av mobil teknik, såsom smarta mobiltelefoner och andra bärbara enheter med inbyggda sensorer, kraftig utbyggnad av kommunikationsinfrastruktur samt framsteg inom spektrumeffektivitet, har haft en stor betydelse för civilsamhället samt i ökande grad även för insatsorganisationer såsom Försvarsmakten. Tekniken bidrar till ökad förmåga till ledning, situationsuppfattning och informationshantering, men medför samtidigt flera utmaningar inom områden som cybersäkerhet och personlig integritet. Nya uppgifter som parallellt kommit i fokus för försvarsmakter i många länder inkluderar förmågan att kunna delta i stödjande insatser i samband med naturkatastrofer, terrorattacker, eller att kunna erbjuda humanitärt bistånd i internationella miljöer. Sådana insatser kräver vanligtvis samverkan mellan många olika heterogena organisationer, vilket medför ett behov av såväl teknisk som organisatorisk interoperabilitet. Viss information måste kunna delas effektivt mellan de ingående aktörerna med avseende på riktighet och tillgänglighet, samtidigt som känsliga uppgifter måste skyddas avseende sekretess.

I denna avhandling studeras taktiskt användande av framväxande IKT på morgondagens slagfält, hur tekniken kan bidra till mer effektiva operationer, samt vilka förutsättningar och krav som måste uppfyllas för att tekniken ska kunna vara till nytta vid interorganisatorisk samverkan. Särskilt undersöks möjligheten att upprätthålla en acceptabel nivå av informationssäkerhet i gemensamma taktiska sambandssystem, samtidigt som dessa kan användas effektivt under påfrestande förhållanden. Avhandlingen finner att tekniker som mobila ad hoc-nätverk, mjukvarudefinierad radio och kognitiv radio, trots att de ännu är omogna, kan komma att bidra till förbättrade eller helt nya förmågor inom bland annat samband, ledning och informationsinhämtning. Vidare dras slutsatsen att ramverket Hastily Formed Networks är effektivt för samverkan mellan heterogena aktörer. För att framväxande IKT ska kunna vara av militär nytta krävs dock att flera icke-tekniska krav kan mötas. Dessa inkluderar användbarhet, tillit, legalitet, kostnad, samt att tekniken ligger i linje med rådande militär doktrin. Såväl antagonistiska som oavsiktliga hot måste samtidigt hanteras, såsom informationsläckor orsakade av cyberattacker eller insiders, samt konsekvensen av en minskad personlig integritet för användarna.

Avhandlingen förväntas vara av intresse för såväl Försvarsmakten som organisationer med liknande förutsättningar i Sverige och jämförbara länder. Som slutsats rekommenderas i avhandlingen att framväxande IKT till stöd för nya förmågor kontinuerligt utvärderas genom såväl akademisk forskning som intern konceptutveckling, samt att en inkrementell och modulär modell bör väljas vid utveckling och anskaffning, snarare än att göra omfattande investeringar i proprietär teknik. Fokus bör även vara på att tidigt få med militära krav i civila IKT-standarder. På så vis kan utvecklingskostnader reduceras, samtidigt som militär användning av kommersiellt tillgängliga produkter förenklas. En slutsats gällande informationssäkerhet är att man med metoder som baseras på så kallad ”best-effort” kan effektivisera utbytet i ett gemensamt informationssystem, samtidigt som risken för dataläckage kan behållas på en acceptabel nivå.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Skövde: Högskolan i Skövde (University of Skövde) , 2016. , 74 p.
Series
, Dissertation Series, 13
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6326ISBN: 978-91-982690-3-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-6326DiVA: diva2:1038714
Public defence
2016-11-11, Sverigesalen, Drottning Kristinas väg 37, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-10-19 Created: 2016-10-19 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Emerging Information Infrastructures: Cooperation in Disasters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emerging Information Infrastructures: Cooperation in Disasters
2009 (English)In: Critical Information Infrastructure Security: Third International Workshop, CRITIS 2008 Rome, Italy, October 13-15, 2008 Revised Papers / [ed] Setola, Roberto & Geretshuber, Stefan, Berlin: Springer , 2009, 258-270 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Disasters are characterised by their devastating effect on human lives and the society’s ability to function. Unfortunately, rescue operations and the possibility to re-establish a working society after such events is often hampered by the lack of functioning communication infrastructures. This paper describes the challenges ahead in creating new communication networks to support post-disaster operations, and sets them in the context of the current issues in protection of critical infrastructures. The analysis reveals that while there are some common concerns there are also fundamental differences. The paper serves as an overview of some promising research directions and pointers to existing works in these areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Springer, 2009
Series
, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 5508
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-489 (URN)978-3-642-03551-7 (ISBN)
Available from: 2010-03-10 Created: 2010-03-10 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved
2. Hastily Formed Networks for Disaster Response: Technical Heterogeneity and Virtual Pockets of Local Order
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hastily Formed Networks for Disaster Response: Technical Heterogeneity and Virtual Pockets of Local Order
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management: Boundry Spanning Initiatives and New Perspectives / [ed] Jonas Landgren och Susanne Jul, 2009Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As natural and man-made disasters become increasingly common, ensuring effective disaster response, mitigation and recovery is growing into a high-priority task for governments and administrations globally. This paper describes the challenges of collaboration within multi-organisational hastily formed networks for post-disaster response, which are increasingly relying on emerging ICT infrastructures for communication and cooperation. We present an interdisciplinary analysis of the conditions for establishing an effective mutual conversation space for involved stakeholders, and how the development of socio-technological systems affects cognitive and behavioural aspects such as established communities of practice and virtual pockets of local order.

Our observations thus far suggest that some of the key issues are overcoming organisational and cultural heterogeneity, and finding solutions for technical interoperability, to ensure effective, pervasive and sustainable information exchange within and between organisations participating in hastily formed networks.

Keyword
hastily formed networks, disaster response, mobile ad-hoc networks, virtual pockets of local order
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-937 (URN)978-91-633-4715-3 (ISBN)
Conference
the 6th International ISCRAM Conference (ISCRAM 2009), Gothenburg, Sweden, May 2009
Projects
Hastily Formed Networks with Heterogeneous Users
Available from: 2010-12-10 Created: 2010-12-10 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved
3. Reconfigurable Radio Systems: Towards Secure Collaboration for Peace Support and Public Safety
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconfigurable Radio Systems: Towards Secure Collaboration for Peace Support and Public Safety
2010 (English)In: Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security / [ed] Josef Demergis, Reading, UK: Academic Conferences Publishing, 2010, 268-274 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As military priorities are shifting from invasion defense to crisis management and peace support operations, the capability to partake in efficient inter-organizational collaboration is becoming increasingly important for armed forces across Europe. The “solidarity clause” of the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on December 1st 2009, dictates that all EU member states shall act jointly if another member state is the target of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. Sweden has gone even further, stating that it will not remain passive if a member state or another Nordic country is attacked, and expects these countries to act in the same manner if Sweden is attacked. This declaration obligates Sweden to be able to collaborate successfully with allied partners, both within own territories and abroad. Application-based collaboration tools for use in unpredictable settings, requiring high user mobility and network survivability, put high demands on the underlying ICT systems in order to function correctly. Networks employing the TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA) standard are becoming pervasive as platforms for interagency collaboration in crisis response. Although these networks provide many benefits compared to legacy technology they lack the possibility to offer secure, infrastructure-less and disruption-tolerant communication in challenging environments. Emerging ICT such as MANET-based Reconfigurable Radio Systems (RRS) shows potential for overcoming these problems, in addition to resolving issues of technical heterogeneity. The Common Tactical Radio System (GTRS) is an RRS being developed by the Swedish Armed Forces, intended to be the future ICT system for all parts of the forces, used both in national and international mission settings. However, remaining challenges include threats of node compromisation and adversary network infiltration, as well as the safeguarding of confidential information shared by collaborating parties and preventing information leakage. This paper contributes by (i) giving a summary of recent work in mechanisms for achieving information security in tactical MANETs and Hastily Formed Networks for disaster response. The paper also (ii) presents in-progress work towards the design of a gossip-based cross-layer Distributed Intrusion Detection System (DIDS) for the GTRS system, which takes resource constraints of portable devices into account, and offloads traffic analysis and anomaly detection to more powerful “Big Brother” nodes. An outline of the proposed DIDS architecture is presented, and the paper (iii) suggests future work towards offering a dependable and trustworthy communications platform for efficient and secure inter-organizational collaboration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reading, UK: Academic Conferences Publishing, 2010
Keyword
reconfigurable radio systems, MANET, distributed intrusion detection, hastily formed networks, disaster response collaboration, emergency management communication
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-939 (URN)978-1-906638-67-2 (ISBN)
Conference
The 9th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security (ECIW 2010)
Available from: 2010-12-10 Created: 2010-12-10 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved
4. Privacy on the Battlefield?: Ethical Issues of Emerging Military ICTs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Privacy on the Battlefield?: Ethical Issues of Emerging Military ICTs
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry: Crossing Boundaries: Ethics in Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Relations / [ed] Jeremy Mauger, Milwaukee: INSEIT , 2011, 256-268 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Privacy on the battlefield? A bizarre thought at first glance – but is it really that far-fetched? In this study we look at modern conflicts, such as the war on terror, and dig deeper into what privacy means to a soldier engaged in such a campaign. With the ever-increasing amount of technology used for troop command and control, there is less room for an individual soldier to act without being watched. An open question is how the soldiers will react to all this surveillance. It is a long established fact that excessive workplace surveillance may result in negative performance consequences for the affected employees. We believe it is fair to raise the same question about emerging technology for the modern battlefield, and to critically assess this technology from a privacy perspective. Our study does not reveal any hard evidence of ongoing privacy violations, nor of the actual significance of privacy in modern warfare. We do however provide a model for studying how soldier performance relates to the fulfillment of various needs, and examine where attributes such as privacy fit in to the equation. We also call for the research community to pick up the thread and conduct empirical studies on the matter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Milwaukee: INSEIT, 2011
Series
, CEPE., ISSN 0261-9557
Keyword
battlefield, privacy, military, ICT, C2, PET, surveillance, performance
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-1191 (URN)
Conference
9th International Conference of Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry (CEPE 2011), May 31st-June 3rd, 2011, Milwaukee, USA
Available from: 2011-06-12 Created: 2011-06-12 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved
5. Best-Effort Data Leakage Prevention in Inter-Organizational Tactical MANETs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Best-Effort Data Leakage Prevention in Inter-Organizational Tactical MANETs
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Military Communications Conference, IEEE Communications Society, 2012, 1143-1149 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Reconfigurable Radio Systems (RRS), based on technologies such as Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (MANETs) offer considerable advantages for military operations, such as increased network survivability and interoperability. The RRS-based Common Tactical Radio System (GTRS), currently in development by the Swedish Armed Forces, is designed for use in diverse geographical settings and for purposes varying from international combat missions to national contingency operations. However, protecting these networks from attacks and safeguarding the carried information against leaks is an ongoing research challenge, especially in combined scenarios where tactical data may flow across organizational boundaries. This paper presents a best-effort approach to Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) for inter-organizational RRS-based networks. The proposed architecture makes use of data mining techniques and an efficient n-dimensional clustering algorithm which has previously been successfully used for real-time anomaly detection in critical infrastructure protection. The DLP architecture is developed as an extension to the GTRS system, modeled and simulated in OPNET™ Modeler. Our results show that common data leaks can be efficiently identified by the proposed scheme, while keeping the important false positive rate at a very low level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Communications Society, 2012
Series
, IEEE Military Communications Conference proceedings, ISSN 2155-7578
Keyword
mobile ad-hoc networks, data leakage prevention, information security, interoperability, military communications, M&S, OPNET
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-2906 (URN)10.1109/MILCOM.2012.6415755 (DOI)978-1-4673-1730-6 (ISBN)978-1-4673-1729-0 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE Military Communications Conference (MILCOM 2012), 29 Oktober 2012 - 1 November 2012, Orlando, Florida, USA
Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-27 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved
6. Non-State Actors in Cyberspace Operations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Non-State Actors in Cyberspace Operations
2013 (English)In: Journal of Military Studies, ISSN 2242-3524, E-ISSN 1799-3350, Vol. 4, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The growing importance of cyberspace to modern society, and its increasing use as an arena for dispute, is becoming a national security concern for governments and armed forces globally. The special characteristics of cyberspace, such as its asymmetric nature, the lack of attribution, the low cost of entry, the legal ambiguity, and its role as an efficient medium for protest, crime, espionage and military aggression, makes it an attractive domain for nation-states as well as non-state actors in cyber conflict.

This paper studies the various non-state actors who coexist in cyberspace, examines their motives and incitements, and analyzes how and when their objectives coincide with those of nation-states. Literature suggests that many nations are currently pursuing cyberwarfare capabilities, oftentimes by leveraging criminal organizations and irregular forces. Employment of such non-state actors as hacktivists, patriot hackers, and cybermilitia in state-on-state cyberspace operations has also proved to be a usable model for conducting cyberattacks. The paper concludes that cyberspace is emerging as a new tool for state power that will likely reshape future warfare. However, due to the lack of concrete cyberwarfare experience, and the limited encounters of legitimate cyberattacks, it is hard to precisely assess future effects, risks and potentials.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: National Defence University, Finland and Finnish Society of Military Sciences, 2013
Keyword
non-state actors, cyber, cyberspace, cyberwar, cyberactions, cyberattack
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Militärteknik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3528 (URN)
Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2013-03-18 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved

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