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R-EACTR: A Framework for Designing Realistic Cyber Warfare Exercises

September 2017 Technical Report
Geoffrey B. Dobson, Thomas G. Podnar, Adam D. Cerini, Luke J. Osterritter

R-EACTR is a design framework for cyber warfare exercises. It ensures that designs of team-based exercises factor realism into all aspects of the participant experience.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number



As the cyberspace domain expands into nearly every aspect of military operations, leaders are challenged to provide valuable training and exercises to a growing number of cyber units. In order to be valuable, the exercise experience must feel realistic. This report introduces a design framework for cyber warfare exercises called Realistic - Environment, Adversary, Communications, Tactics, and Roles (R-EACTR). The R-EACTR framework places realism at the forefront of every cyber warfare exercise design decision. This report also describes challenges involved in creating military cyber exercises, a framework for building realism into each aspect of the exercise, and a case study of one exercise where the framework was successfully employed.