Air Force Information Warfare Center
The Air Force Information Warfare Center, collocated with Air
Intelligence Agency, was created to be an information superiority center of
excellence, dedicated to offensive and defensive counter information and
AFIWC was originally activated as the 6901st Special Communication Center in
July 1953. The following month the 6901st was redesignated as the Air Force
Special Communications Center. It was then redesignated as the Air Force
Electronic Warfare Center in 1975.
Air Force successes in exploiting the enemy information systems during Desert
Storm led to the realization that the strategies and tactics of command and
control warfare could be expanded to the entire information spectrum and be
implemented as information warfare. In response, the AFIWC was activated Sept.
10, 1993, combining technical skills from the former AFEWC, the Air Force
Cryptologic Support Center's Securities Directorate and intelligence skills from
the former Air Force Intelligence Command. AFIWC's team of 1,000 military and
civilian personnel are skilled in the areas of operations, engineering,
operations research, intelligence, radar technology, communications and
The members are dedicated to providing improved C2W/ IW capabilities to the
warfighting U. S. Air Force major commands.
The mission of AFIWC is to explore, apply and migrate offensive and defensive
information warfare capabilities for operations, acquisition and testing; and
provide advanced IW training for the Air Force.
The AFIWC provides IW services to the warfighter in contingencies and
exercises through quantitative analysis, modeling and simulation, data-base and
technical expertise in communication and computer security. The AFIWC is
divided into eight directorates:
Advanced Programs Communications- Computer Systems C2W Information
Engineering Analysis Mission Support Systems Analysis Operations Support
Information Warfare Battlelab
The newest directorate, the Information Warfare Battlelab, supports
the full spectrum of Air Force operations by rapidly identifying innovative and
superior ways to plan and employ IW capabilities; organize, train, and equip Air
Force IW forces; and influence development of IW doc-trine and tactics. Advanced
Programs foster the development and employment of advanced IW capabilities
using a multi-disciplined approach. They explore and advance technologies,
techniques, talents and tactics for IW applications. Developing multi-
disciplined (scientific, technical, intelligence and operation) solutions, they
provide support for emerging warfare techniques.
Communications- Computer Systems provides the command, control,
communication, computer and information systems infrastructure to support all
AFIWC mission areas. SC develops C4I systems architecture and initiates programs
for their implementation or acquisition.
Using all- source data, C2W Information develops, builds, extracts and
integrates standardized C2W data into the Air Force Extended Integrated Data
Base architecture. DB addresses the issues of control, quality assurance
planning, training, development, deployment, technical support and
implementation of new databases.
Engineering Analysis provides technical guidance in the areas of
computer security during the development of information, sensor and weapon
systems including in- depth analysis and electromagnetic measurements of
The Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team is the Air Force's global
command center for handling worldwide networked com-puter system security
issues. The AFCERT is the single point in the Air Force for reporting networked
com-puter intrusions and problems. AFCERT responded to 47 computer security
incidents in 1996 and expanded its internal security database connectivity and
capabilities. They educated worldwide Air Force and Department of Defense
customers on computer security topics and provided assistance to other computer
Mission Support maintains the research library that provides
engineers and scientists with vital information for projects and studies. They
also promote aware-ness of AFIWC capabilities through marketing and business
development and provide a centralized education and training activity for the
center. Additionally, they manage AFIWC safety, security, facilities and
The scientists and engineers of Systems Analysis provide quantitative
analysis through modeling and simulation of offensive and defensive IW systems
capabilities and vulnerabilities. SA develops and operates engineering,
platform, mission, and campaign models for analysis of information, sensor and
weapon systems. Evaluating vulnerabilities of US Air Force radar,
communications, navigation, and IW systems; SA helps the warfighter to
understand the potential vulnerabilities of friendly weapon systems, C2W
systems and space systems. This understanding allows the warfighter to develop
tactics and procedures to counter current, future and reactive threats.
Operations Support trains, equips and deploys personnel to provide IW
and intelligence to the warfighter during contingencies, special operations and
exercises. Deployable information warfare support teams provide planning support
for operations security, military deception, command and other operations to Air
Operations Centers and Joint Force Air Component Commanders.
In addition to these directorates are staff support. Intelligence
Requirements, Management Support and Technology Management Support complete the
infrastructure, allowing AFIWC to strive for information dominance and supply
the warfighter with the services needed in contingencies and exercises.
AIR FORCE COMPUTER EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
The Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team is the Air Force's
global command center for handling worldwide networked computer system security
issues. The AFCERT is the single point in the Air Force for reporting networked
computer intrusions and problems.
It performs three broad missions; remote security assessments, auto-mated
intrusion detection and security incident response.
The AFCERT's accomplishments in 1996 include:
improved worldwide Air Force automated intrusion detection cover-age and
remote security assessments
responding to 47 computer security incidents
expanding its internal security database connectivity and capabilities
educating worldwide Air Force and Department of Defense customers on
computer security topics and providing assistance to other computer security
The AFCERT uses an automated computer intrusion detection system called
the Automated Security Incident Measurement.
The ASIM is a hardware and software system that sits on Air Force
networks "listening" for "suspicious activity" that is
characteristic of intruder techniques. It processes what it deems suspicious
and reports once every 24 hours to the AFCERT. The ASIM is the workhorse of
the AFCERT and is extremely effective at detecting and reporting intruder
activity, the first two steps necessary to mount an effective response. At
the beginning of 1996, the Air Force had only 26 bases covered by an ASIM.
By the end of 1996, the ASIM covered 52 bases and three joint sites. Now the
AFCERT monitors 107 Air Force and three joint ASIM sites. The AFCERT
estimates the ASIM now detects over 100 million suspicious Internet
connections a month.
Plans were in the works at the end of 1996 to enhance ASIM soft-ware to
provide the AFCERT with near real- time intrusion detection alerts and a
"connection denial" capability.
NRT alerts give the AFCERT timely notification of an attempted or actual
intrusion so it can work with the affected base's computer security
personnel to reduce or prevent damage to Air Force computer systems. The
AFCERT established formal ASIM training and conducted courses toward
certification for computer security personnel in 1996. The AFCERT teamed up
with the Air Force Communications Agency to quickly provide this training to
Air Force and Department of Defense personnel through contract courses.
The AFCERT wrote "rules of engagement" for the use of ASIMs. They
were accepted by Air Staff who applied them Air Force wide. These rules were
also added to the draft Air Force Instruction 33- 208, Information
Protection Operations. The AFCERT performs remote security assessments on
worldwide networked Air Force computer systems through its On- Line Survey
program. Through the OLS, the AFCERT employs intruder techniques, tools and
capabilities to "attack" unsuspecting Air Force com-puter systems.
The OLS's goals are to measure the Air Force's networked computer
security posture (by seeing if systems can be penetrated using well- known,
simple vulnerabilities and checking to see if anyone noticed and reported
the attack on their system), to show the Air Force what an attack looks like
and to operationally exercise the Air Force's ability to protect its
The AFCERT conducted 62 OLSs at 52 different bases in 1996, surveying 4,309
systems. Of these, only 433 (10 percent) resulted in successful limited
intrusions and 48 (one percent) resulted in full access intrusions, or root
access. These values showed continued improvement from 1995, when the AFCERT
penetrated 15 percent of the tested systems at the user level and three
percent at root. The continued downward trend in the AFCERT's ability to
penetrate systems shows a satisfactory improvement on the part of Air Force
computer systems to repel unauthorized intruders and demonstrates the worth
of the Computer Security Assistance Program, the AFIWC's program to help the
Air Force defend its computer resources.
The AFCERT would like to see detecting and reporting at 95 percent or
higher, however, only 14 percent of the attacked systems detected and
reported the OLS activity to the AFCERT, down from 16 percent in 1995.
The Air Force's poor performance in adequately reporting attacks is thought
to be the result of inadequate training and the high workload of system
administrators. Despite the AFCERT's many at-tempts to raise human detection
and reporting levels, it continues to languish in the sub- 20 percent level,
add-ing increased credence for investing in more ASIMs, other intrusion
detection tools, and continued research and development to help balance the
odds against intruders.
The remote computer assessments capability was expanded in 1996 by the
AFCERT training and certifying some major commands' computer security
personnel and providing them with the OLS tools and "rules of
engagement" for their use.
The AFCERT opened 47 intrusion detection incidents in 1996. The AFCERT
worked with base personnel, major commands, the Air Force Office of Special
Investigations and Air Force leadership to resolve each of those incidents.
When needed, AFCERT personnel deployed along with CSAP deployable personnel
to assist bases in recovering and reconfiguring computer systems in a secure
Out of the 47 incidents, the AFOSI launched 21 substantive investigations
during 1996. The investigations identified 10 suspects, including three
foreign individuals. Five cases were considered serious enough to pursue
prosecution and three are pending. Prosecutions usually take a long time to
bring to trial and the punishments are usually light because the laws in
this area are nonexistent or have not adequately kept up with technological
The AFCERT plans to continue working with law enforcement and the legal
community to bring about changes in the law that adequately address computer
intrusions. The AFCERT uses the CSAP Database System to track and correlate
Air Force vulnerability and intrusion data. In 1996, the CDS was improved to
incorporate historical OLS and ASIM data.
This action provided a more comprehensive database to search for related
intrusion detection activities and base vulnerabilities, resulting in
dramatic support information improvements for OLSs, hacker incidents,
vulnerabilities, malicious logic, and other AFCERT activities. The AFCERT
continues to educate the world on Air Force computer security operations,
techniques, tools and procedures.
The AFCERT plans to grow from an 8- hour, five- day a week function to a
24- hour, seven- day a week function. The plan was to go from approximately
25 personnel at the be-ginning of 1996 to approximately 65 personnel,
starting 24- hour operations on Oct. 1, 1997. This required new billets,
personnel and the training program to ready them for duty.
The AFCERT also provides com-puter security education and awareness
through AFCERT advisories. AFCERT advisories are issued any-time the AFCERT
recognizes a security situation that could apply to users across the Air
Force and provides a convenient way to easily disseminate the word. In 1996,
the AFCERT published 15 advisories. They ranged from making IP personnel
aware of common poor security practices to providing information on known
vulnerabilities and recommended preventive measures.
The AFCERT's home page was created in 1996 to provide Air Force and other
customers with voluminous information on computer security. From the AFCERT
web page, Air Force organizations can download a computer security tool kit
or gain information on a wide variety of IP topics (e. g. viruses, hoaxes,
anti- viral software, etc.) There is a security solutions section which
organizes links to other web sites by operating systems, network types,
tools, checklists, encryptions and many other IP related topics.
The AFCERT Daily Operations Report, the AFCERT's defensive picture of Air
Force network activity requested by the Air Staff, was created in 1996 and
made available on the Intelink, a classified intelligence network. The
AFCERT has worked with other organizations to assist them in establishing
computer security operations of the same high caliber. The AFCERT assisted
the AIA Information Operations Center with defining risk conditions and
They assisted the Air Mobility Command and AETC in beginning to set up
Regional Information Protection Centers. The AFCERT worked with the Pacific
Air Forces in 1995 to establish the prototype for the regional centers and
has extended that in 1996. AFCERT personnel also assisted the 609th
Information Warfare Squadron in defining, and implementing deployable
computer security operations.
The AFCERT has assumed a major leadership role within the Department of
Defense and federal government in helping other organizations stand up CERT
operations; determining community computer security standards, terms,
definitions, tools and operational procedures; bringing in legal authorities
to deal with antiquated laws governing computer security; and providing
technology insertions and concepts to quickly advance capabilities and
The U. S. Army hired consultants to build its Army CERT and define its
operational procedures. These consultants were tasked to build a facility
modeled after the AFCERT, and the AFCERT was tasked to provide the
consultants with advice, copies of its concepts of operation, and to host
numerous visits, with which they gladly complied.
The key to the future of Department of Defense CERT operations is to
fight jointly, share the same standards and cooperate. The AFCERT supports
this notion and is a full partner with its sister service and Department of
Defense CERTs, hosting the first Joint Information Assurance Operations
Working Group meeting and keeping it going through leadership and support.
The AFCERT plans to improve Air Force computer security operations by
expanding the RIPC concept of moving more responsibilities and capabilities
to the major command and base levels; and improving the ASIM's near- real-
time capabilities; and later implementing a connection denial capability.
The ability to electronically inventory Air Force networked computer assets
and tie them to a database filled with critical information about them, a
concept known as virtual battlespace, is a priority for 1997 as well.
Having this information when Air Force systems are attacked is vital to
decision makers, allowing them to make the correct decisions in times of
crisis. The AFCERT could advise a commander on what warfighting capabilities
are lost if certain attacked systems cease functioning.
The AFCERT will continue to support AFIWC efforts to build a conceptual
system known as "CSAP21." The CSAP21 concept embodies the AFCERT
of the future by automating its functions and displaying worldwide computer
security information on large wall screen displays for decision makers. The
CSAP21 system would feature command center hardware and courses-of- action-
determining software powered by modules incorporating risk management,
intelligence, and modeling.
Air Force computer security is global in nature, yet defies geographical
limitations. Implementation of computer security tools crosses traditional
organizational boundaries. Policies and procedures are needed to define
roles and responsibilities between AFCERT, major commands, bases and the
information warfare squadrons.
The ASIM works. Hackers have been caught and prosecuted. ASIM continues
to identify poor security practices, as well as real intrusions. Research
must continue to identify ways for eradicating both, with the result being
fewer or no intrusions. With each report or advisory issued, someone in the
Air Force community is educated on how to implement better computer security
Although analyzing ASIM data daily reveals possible intrusion activity,
fielding a reliable NRT ASIM is critical to providing alert notifications in
a timely manner. Improvements to the NRT ASIM, in particular the connection
denial capability, will enhance this capability. Once NRT ASIM alerts a
possible or actual intrusion, the AFCERT needs to provide the commander the
option of denying that connection to prevent damage to Air Force computer
AFIWC TOOLS OF THE TRADE
C2W Analysis & Targeting Tool
The mission of the Systems Analysis Directorate is to provide analysis
through modeling and simulation of offensive and defensive U. S. Air Force
command and control warfare/ information warfare systems capabilities and
This requires automated tools which can be used by analysts, operations
personnel and combat commanders to train for exercises, and assess the
impact of various C2W actions that may be used. They must provide a computer
environment in which the modern warfighter can quickly apply real- time
intelligence to decision making.
The C2W Analysis Division which is the C2W Analysis and Targeting Tool
can provide commanders with the ability to more effectively select the
correct mix of C2W techniques to expand and corrupt his adversary's decision
cycle. It provides accurate simulation capability of adversary systems and
the capability for analysts to do what- if analyses.
CATT is a computer model of an operational Integrated Air Defense System.
CATT uses UNIX- based graphical user interfaces and high-resolution map
displays to make the model user- friendly. It includes end-to- end modeling
of IADS processes such as detection, tracking, communication, decision
making and engagement.
An understanding of the enemy's IADS can be achieved by examining the
processes in detail and how they function together.
The CATT model has a control screen and at least one IADS command screen.
The control screen shows the ground truth for the IADS scenario with the
flight paths over-laid. The IADS command screens depict what a red (hostile)
operator would see in the IADS structure.
CATT is currently a prototype model and is being expanded to model the
IADS of several countries. Analysts will be able to examine any country of
interest by incorporating the country's tracking algorithms and IADS
structure. Another upgrade will allow current intelligence data to be fed
directly into the database, so the model will use the latest intelligence
data from a variety of sources. The CATT point of contact is Lt. Col. Ross
Ziegenhorn, AFIWC/ SAA, 102 Hall Blvd, Suite 338, San Antonio, TX 78243-
7020. DSN: 969- 2427, Commercial: (210) 977- 2427.
"PATHFINDERS" Foster Technology Exchange
U. S. military forces now operate in an information age where the need for
precise and instantaneous intelligence is increasing and expanding across
the entire spectrum of military operations.
One of the Air Force Information Warfare Center's primary missions
remains that of channeling all electronic battlefield information toward
the objective of gaining information dominance over any adversary. The
AFIWC's Office of Technology is actively pushing forward to put into place
the processes, measurement criteria and programs necessary to en-sure that
the AFIWC has the technological lead necessary to maintain
mission effectiveness into the 21st century. Their recently instituted
"Pathfinder" effort attempts to do two things:
1) Assist in linking the technology requirements of the various directorates
to potential solutions
2) Foster cross- fertilization of technology among the various
directorates within the AFIWC
The Office of Technology is the AFIWC's designated focal point for
information warfare technology. The "Pathfinder" effort assigns
specific OT personnel to each directorate within the AFIWC to assist in
researching potential technological solutions for their mission
This program investigates promising commercial and government technology
research and development efforts for application to missions within the
AFIWC. The pathfinders then facilitate the introduction or dissemination of
these promising technologies.
OT provided the necessary tools and software support to information
warfare support teams deployed to support military exercises and real world
contingencies in an effort to fill the role of pathfinder. This assistance
allowed the IWSTs to provide real- time intelligence information to the
warfighter. It became imperative that the IWSTs maintain their proficiency
in the use of this tool to provide information to decision makers during
exercises and real world contingencies.
OT provided planning, technical support and coordination for space-
related applications within AFIWC, and also operated, maintained and adapted
S- band satellite systems to support reach- back and in- garrison
The TETON system used existing national satellites for high- speed data
communications which supported national contingencies and exercises
throughout the year. The OT staff also integrated the joint service
Miniature Data Acquisition System into the AFIWC architecture.
This prototype Mini- DAS system, along with the TETON system, played a
significant role in this year's Exercise Green Flag. The Mini- DAS, deployed
for the first time, provided the warfighter with accurate and timely
intelligence data available for use at all levels and in all commands .
Personnel at Kelly Air Force Base supported the deployed team with the
TETON system. The TETON provided critical imagery and intelligence data to
the deployed team. This data was then processed by the Mini- DAS. This
program pulls shared resources from throughout AIA, as well as the AFIWC, to
help develop an advanced concept on IW Planning. This effort will result in
refined requirements that can be passed to Air Combat Command for inclusion
in their mission planning process.
The new world order has changed the way we plan to fight future wars and
conflicts. The bipolar threat environment has essentially disappeared and a
multi- regional threat environment has emerged. The current and future
battles will not necessarily be fought physically, but may occur
electronically or through information systems. Intelligence support to the
warfighters will be even greater in the 21st century due to emerging
technology and vast accessibility to information.
The Air Force Information War-fare Center has various products and
services tailored to support the warfighters in obtaining information
Sensor Harvest is a command and control warfare and information war-fare
tool designed to support strategic and operational planners. Sensor Harvest
got its start in February 1993, when the AIA commander tasked the IWC to
produce a C2W-tailored product involving the five disciplines of C2W. The
goal was to develop a user- friendly, computer-based C2W planning tool.
OILSTOCK is the geographical information system used when displaying
information on maps and through web technology. The product is disseminated
in various ways, based on customer requirements, however, it is primarily
made available through a classified wide area network called INTELINK.
Some of the information found in the Sensor Harvest product include a
country's military capability, economy, culture, geography, politics and
information systems. The information provided in the product is critical in
both deliberate and crisis action planning. The overall goal of the product
is to support planners during the operational environment research stage of
campaign planning. Sensor Harvest serves as a foundation and starting point
for planners to use in understanding an adversary's decision- making
process. Planners can use this information to effect the enemy's observe,
orient, decide and act loop to achieve the CINC's objectives.
A nodal analysis approach provides a unique aspect in targeting and
enables a shift from conventional targeting to IW/ C2W targeting.
on possible vulnerabilities to the elements of C2W include: psychological
operations, deception, physical destruction, electronic warfare and
operation security. The product can be utilized throughout the range of
military operations — from peacetime to conflict.
Sensor Harvest has been used by joint services in both operational and
exercise environments. The product was key in the target nomination process
during Operation DELIBERATE FORCE. Sensor Harvest also sup-ports various
joint and service- unique exercises, such as Unified Endeavor, Ulchi Focus
Lens, Green Flag and Red Flag.
Today the program enjoys the success in making commanders and planners
more aware of information warfare. The product has been exposed to many
high- ranking Department of Defense officials, foreign military personnel
and civilian officials. Sensor Harvest was also demonstrated to the Global
Air Chiefs during the Air Force's 50th Anniversary celebration in Las Vegas,
> It is essential to know your enemy prior to engagement on the
battlefield; whether on a typical land battlefield or a digital battlefield.
Information is knowledge and knowledge provides the necessary power to gain
air, space and information superiority. Sensor Harvest enables our
warfighters to come one step closer in achieving air, space and in-formation
Follow these links for more.