Information operations in the Army Reserve:

USAR needs soldiers with high-tech skills to fill units and positions nationwide

by MAJ Greg Williams

Army Reservists who work in the information-technology industry with their civilian employers are being sought to become the nation’s new 21st-century information warriors.

The Department of Defense and Department of the Army are asking the Army Reserve to support information operations at all levels on an ever-increasing basis. USAR soldiers possessing many of the high-tech skills associated with IO are being actively recruited to fill newly formed units and positions.

Getting into USAR IO units

Soldiers – whether currently in the USAR or a prior active-duty soldier – who would like to become a member of the USAR’s new IO units may enter their data into this website:

Or fax a biographical summary and/or resume to the Reserve IO coordination center’s director at (301) 394-1118 and to LIWEC at (703) 806-1158.

These new units – based in multiple locations throughout the United States – will draw from the entire IT-skilled USAR population, regardless of a soldier’s current military-occupation specialty.

To identify Reservists with IT experience, the civilian-acquired-skills database is used. Any soldier can access the database at First, Reservists complete a resume and assess their individual skills. Second, the record the Reservist creates is added to a searchable database that will be used to identify soldiers with needed skills.

IO defined

IO is used to defend our computer systems and to affect an adversary’s information systems. The overall objective is to gain information superiority. A primary function of USAR IO units is to protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, authenticity, confidentiality and nonrepudiation.

IO isn’t limited to automated systems. IO includes specialties such as psychological operations, military intelligence, Signal, civil affairs and public affairs. Functions include all forms of operational security, electronic warfare and computer-network defense.

With effective IO, our leaders have the information they need, when they need it, in a form they can use to win the fight. This allows commanders to understand complex battlefields, and control communications and computers, as well as influence people’s attitudes.

IO can also interrupt, limit or confuse the enemy leader’s information, affecting the enemy’s ability to make smart decisions.

The U.S. Army has long understood IO’s importance. Units with the ability to collect and analyze information about the battlefield and the ability to influence the attitudes and will of the opposition have been in the Army and Army Reserve structures for a long time. The USAR provides many of the units and soldiers that accomplish these missions for the Army: civil affairs, psychological operations, public affairs, military intelligence and Signal. In fact, almost half the Army’s public-affairs units are in the USAR, and the bulk of the Army’s civil affairs and psychological operations are USAR units.

Recognition of USAR capabilities

This recognition and new usage of Army Reserve capabilities has brought an ever-increasing number of new requests, requirements and customers. The list of these customers is growing and includes the Army’s Land Information Warfare Activity; office of the director of information systems for command, control, communications and computers; Army Space Command; Army Research Laboratory; Communications-Electronics Command; National Ground Intelligence Center; National Security Agency; Defense Information Systems Agency; Defense Intelligence Agency; U.S. Space Command; and the Joint Reserve Intelligence Program. These commands and agencies are now using USAR units, facilities and personnel for IO.

The Army has recognized these new requirements and established new organizations to exploit or counter an opponent’s ability to use this new technology. The focal point for the Army’s IO effort is LIWA, whose mission is to provide IO and information-warfare support to land-component and separate Army commands, both active and Reserve, and to facilitate IO planning and execution.

USAR Signal snapshot

USAR Signal forces have the capability to provide strategic and tactical support to information operations and information superiority, the ultimate goal.

USAR IO- and IS-supporting Signal force structure consists of:

Two Signal commands;
Three echelons-above-corps area Signal battalions;
Four cable-and-wire companies;
Two heavy troposcatter companies; and
One light troposcatter company.

All current USAR Signal units number two commands, one brigade, 12 battalions, eight companies, nine detachments and two data-processing units. The force-structure picture is changing over the next few years, as some units will inactivate, while new IO centers activate.

(Information provided courtesy of the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve.)

The USAR is building more capability to reinforce Army IO and LIWA operations. When complete, USAR soldiers will play an important role supporting LIWA’s critical mission. USAR’s Land Information-Warfare Enhancement Center has been established to directly support and expand LIWA capabilities. LIWEC’s main elements include two computer emergency-response teams, two IO vulnerability assessment-and-detection teams, two field-support teams and two operations-support sections to LIWA.

The Army Reserve has also created the Reserve IO structure. Activated to provide support to the Army’s computer-network defense and information-assurance efforts, the USAR’s IO coordination center will have five IO centers containing computer-emergency-response-team support groups that will identify and respond to viruses and intruders in Army computer networks. Information-infrastructure-defense assistance teams will aid in correcting weaknesses in our networks and ensure execution of corrective actions. The IOCs will also have technical-research teams to assist in infrastructure research.

USAR IOCs are forming in the national Capitol region, Massachusetts, Texas, California and Pennsylvania.

Recruiting for new IO units and positions

Recruiting for the new IO units is challenging. USAR soldiers who hold civilian-acquired skills in IT will play a leading role in establishing this new capability. Regardless of what MOS a soldier has, that soldier can fill one of the growing number of technologically based IO positions in the USAR. Commuting distance to an IO unit also isn’t a limitation, as virtual-training relationships will allow any qualified soldier to conduct drills and annual training at USAR intelligence-support centers or any other suitable facility.

One of the greatest resources in the USAR is the skills soldiers have developed in their civilian training and occupations. The IO units hope to tap into these skills and continue to meet the challenges of warfare in the 21st century.

MAJ Paul Alberti and CPT Darryl Taylor MAJ Paul Alberti (foreground) and CPT Darryl Taylor check a circuitboard at the Army Research Laboratory.
MAJ Paul Alberti, CPT Darryl Taylor and SGT Israel Terrazas MAJ Paul Alberti (standing), CPT Darryl Taylor (background) and SGT Israel Terrazas review information from a "hub" computer at the Defense Research and Engineering Network, part of the High-Performance Computer Monitoring Project at Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The national Capitol region's USAR IOC supports ARL in its HPCMP/DREN security mission.
MAJ Paul Alberti MAJ Paul Alberti, a U.S. Army Reserve officer, monitors computer systems at ARL's DREN.

MAJ Williams is assigned to the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve.

Acronym QuickScan
ARL – Army Research Laboratory
DREN – Defense Research and Engineering Network
HPCMP – High-Performance Computer Monitoring Project
IO – information operations
IOC – information-operations center
IT – information technology
LIWA – Land Information Warfare Activity
LIWEC – Land Information-Warfare Enhancement Center
MOS – military-occupation specialty
USAR – U.S. Army Reserve

dividing rule

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