US Cyber Command and Australian IWD to develop shared cyber training range

Pierluigi Paganini December 07, 2020

US Cyber Command and the Information Warfare Division (IWD) of the Australian Defense Force to develop a virtual cyber training platform.

The United States and Australia have signed a first-ever cyber agreement to develop a virtual cyber training platform, the project will be designed by the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and the Information Warfare Division (IWD) of the Australian Defense Force.

As a result of the bilateral agreement, the IWD’s feedback will be incorporated in the USCYBERCOM’s Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE). The Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) supports the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) by enabling a critical need for the DoD and Joint Cyberspace Operations Forces to train at the individual, team, and force level.

The two countries have already developed cyber training ranges separately and now they are joining the forces.

“This project arrangement is a milestone for U.S.-Australian cooperation. It is the first cyber-only arrangement established between the U.S. Army and an allied nation, which highlights the value of Australia’s partnership in the simulated training domain,” said Elizabeth Wilson, U.S. signatory and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation. “To counter known and potential adversarial threats, the Army has recalibrated our strategic thinking; we’ve made smart decisions to refocus our efforts to invest in the new, emerging and smart technologies that will strengthen our ability to fight and win our nation’s wars.”

The agreement is valued at $215.19 million over six years and provides the flexibility to develop cyber training capabilities for the future.

“Cyber mission forces first identified the need for a shared, iterative virtual cyber range during exercise Cyber Flag 2015 and has since galvanized an expedited effort to define the requirement and find technical solutions. Leveraging agile acquisition and rapid prototyping, cyber mission operators actively test and provide feedback during development, enabling PCTE to meet their operational needs.” reads the press release published by the US Cyber Command.

“The long-term goal for PCTE is to provide the DOD cyberspace workforce the capability to build and conduct full-spectrum, combined and joint cyberspace training, exercises, certification and mission rehearsal in a training environment. The training environment requirements, driven by training objectives and user-defined specifications, must emulate a realistic operational environment that provides scope, scalability and fidelity.”

The PCTE platform was launched in February 2020 as a component of the U.S. military’s Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, it allows multiple independent cyber training operations to run simultaneously.

“The Cyber Training Capabilities Project Arrangement signed today by Australia and the US “is an example of how the cyber mission forces of the U.S. and Australia work together and showcases success in the Armaments Cooperation,” states USCYBERCOM added.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, US Cyber Command)

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