Candidate Principle #4: A Network’s Operational Geometry Impacts its Defensibility
While this area may extend from the seabed to earth orbit, and could easily have a surface footprint measuring in the hundreds of thousands of square miles, it would nonetheless be relatively localized within the scheme of the overall combat zone. If the force employs robustly-layered physical defenses, and especially if its networking lines through the air or water feature highly-directional line-of-sight communications systems where possible or LPI transmission techniques where appropriate, the adversary’s task of positioning assets such that they can reliably discover let alone exploit the force’s electromagnetic or acoustic communications pathways becomes quite difficult. The ideal force operating on interior lines of networking avoids use of space-based data relay assets with predictable orbits and instead relies primarily upon agile, unpredictably-located airborne relays.[ii] CEC and tactical C2 systems whose participants exclusively lie within a maneuvering force’s immediate operating area are examples of tools that enable interior lines of networking.
This can vastly simplify an adversary’s task of positioning cyber-electromagnetic exploitation assets. For example, the lines of communication linking a field-deployed force with distant entities often rely upon fixed or predictably-positioned relay assets with extremely wide surface footprints. Similarly, those that connect the force with rear-echelon entities generally require connections to fixed-location networking infrastructure on land or under the sea. Theater-level C2 systems, national or theater-level sensor systems, intelligence ‘reachback’ support systems, remotely-located data fusion systems, and rear echelon logistical services that directly tap into field-deployed assets’ systems in order to provide remote-monitoring/troubleshooting support are examples of resources available to a force operating on exterior lines of networking.