USMA Athena

USMA Athena is a secure digital service managed by the United States Military Academy Library to make the work of USMA scholars freely available, while also ensuring these resources are organized to preserve the legacy of USMA scholarship. The mission of USMA Athena is to showcase the academic impact and intellectual capital that has become synonymous with the celebrated heritage of educational prowess attributed to the Long Gray Line. Scholarship submitted to USMA Athena benefits from added visibility and discoverability via Google Scholar in addition to the use of persistent URLs that will provide enduring access to the work over time.


Recent Submissions

Strategic Cyber Maneuver
(Small Wars Journal, 2015) Brantly, Aaron F.
Maneuver warfare is an integral part of the strategy, tactics and operations of the United States military, but what does it mean to maneuver in cyberspace? Maneuver warfare dates back millennia and yet the fundamental goal of maneuver, to provide military advantage in tactical situations, has not changed. There are concrete and identifiable military tactics associated with maneuver each refined through conflict and war and each tailored to the needs of the situation faced by commanders on the frontline. The modern era has seen joint forces maneuvers in which Air, Land, Sea work in tandem to accomplish a mission. The state of maneuver warfare changes as weapons and technology evolve. No longer is it reasonable to maneuver in column in two opposing battle lines as in the Napoleonic Wars, modern weapons have changed the concepts of maneuver and made them increasingly more complex, nuanced and challenging. Five years after the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command the United States is confronted with yet another advance in technology that requires a re-evaluation of the concepts of maneuver in a cyberized world with smart bombs, laser guided field munitions, blue force trackers, digital logistic networks, and network command and control centers. The department of defense has a new domain that must be examined, poked and prodded to ascertain the means and mechanisms to achieve advantage. This paper examines the concept of maneuver within cyberspace and attempts to develop an initial framework for maneuver operations to achieve both within and cross-domain effects.
Strategic Amnesia and Isis
(The National Interest, 2016) Gioe, David V.
MARK TWAIN observed, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The study of military history teaches us valuable lessons that are applicable to today’s most intractable strategic problems; yet, these lessons are underappreciated in current American strategy formulation. Throughout the history of American armed conflict, the United States has discerned, at great cost, four critical lessons applicable to containing and combating the Islamic State. First, as war theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted, war is a continuation of politics by other means; but resorting to war rarely yields the ideal political solution envisioned at the start of hostilities. Second, the use of proxy forces to pursue American geopolitical goals is rarely an investment worth making because proxies tend to have goals misaligned with those of their American sponsors. True control is an illusion. The corollary to this axiom is that supporting inept and corrupt leaders with American power only invites further dependency, does not solve political problems and usually prolongs an inevitable defeat. Third, conflating the security of a foreign power with that of America leads to disproportionate resource allocation and an apparent inability at the political level to pursue policies of peace and successful war termination. Fourth, alliance formation through lofty rhetorical positions imperils rational analysis of geopolitical and military realities. Publicly staking out inviable political end states invites a strategic mismatch between military capabilities and political wishes, endangering the current enterprise as well as future national credibility. America has paid for these lessons in blood; our leaders ought to heed them.
Information Warfare isn’t Russian – It’s American as Apple Pie
(The Strategy Bridge, 2017) Waage, Erick; Gioe, David V.
Both pundits and the American public are still seeking to understand the information-related events that occurred during 2016 Presidential Election and probably will be for some time. However, the US Intelligence Community and many other expert organizations such as the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike have indicted Information Warfare elements subordinate to Russian President Vladimir Putin as working to both undermine American confidence in its democratic institutions and tilt the scales in favor of one candidate. Though the impact of an effective information warfare campaign may be visible more rapidly in the information age, the principles of information warfare and the political psychology and weaponized narratives that underpin it are timeless. Information warfare is not new, but developments in information technology have enabled it to deliver its payloads vaster and over a much wider network. Looking to Putin’s intelligence apparatus is not to witness the genesis of political information warfare. In fact, the United States was birthed in a stew of information, misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda projected by competing entities both internally and externally. Thus, instead of looking at the apparent success of Russian intelligence in the recent election as the perfected form of information warfare, it is worth considering colonial and revolutionary America to appreciate the historical precedent and perspective. Indeed, at one point in its history, Americans were actually quite effective at information warfare, and we can look to one artisan in particular to understand this lost art.
Information Warfare and Its 18th and 19th Century Roots
(Cyber Defense Review, 2019) Bastian, Nathaniel D.
For Joint Force leaders to visualize and describe how the operational environment shapes the range of military operations, they must have a deep understanding of the capabilities comprising the multi-domain battlefield. The information environment, which Joint Publication (JP) 3-13 defines as the “aggregate of individuals, organizations, and systems that collect, process, disseminate, or act on information,” is intrinsically linked to the traditional land, air, maritime and space domains. Moreover, the rapid advancement and application of technologies has directly facilitated the use of information-related capabilities in Joint Force operations. The orchestrated use of these information activities, commonly known as “information operations”, aims to gain strategic and operational advantages in the information environment. These advantages are often gained through the manipulation of the information environment using information operations (IO), which, according to JP 3-13, are the “integrated employment, during military operations, of information-related capabilities in concert with other lines of operation to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own.”
Indiana Exercising Plans to Combat Cyber Threats: Preparing for CRIT-EX 2016
(Cyber Defense Review, 2016) McDonald, Mike; Rapp, Doug; Wong, Ernest
On the 21st and 22nd of March, 2016, Indiana hosted its inaugural Defense Cyber Summit (DCS), which aimed to advance the state’s cyber readiness and preparations against a cyberwarfare attack. Spurred on by Admiral Michael Rogers, the Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, who in 2014 called cybersecurity “the ultimate team sport,” Indiana has purposefully adopted a culture of collaboration between government organizations, private firms, non-profits, and academia to improve the state’s response and resiliency to a significant cyber incident. This team approach will counter cyberattacks intent on degrading Indiana’s economic capacity and threating the critical services of its citizens. Under the umbrella of the Applied Research Institute (ARI), organizations such as Purdue University, Indiana University, Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Cyber Leadership Alliance, the Indiana National Guard, and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security have partnered together to address and propose solutions to Indiana’s cyber security challenges. This effort is boosted by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment support of nearly $16.3 million that is funded through a grant from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation. The ARI is working to foster collaboration, research, and problem solving on cyber threats to Indiana’s critical infrastructure.