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Asia-Pacific Challenges Reshape U.S. Military Needs

Region’s experts offer complementary insights about change and the importance of coalitions.

For Immediate Release

Honolulu—The recent U.S. strategic pivot toward the Pacific has placed that region at the forefront of change in the military. Where in the recent past activities in the area of responsibility (AOR) for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) defined military needs, now the requirements for the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) are emerging as the leading edge of the defense technology sword.


That trend was clearly visible in discussions at AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu. Speakers included Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Terry Halvorsen, chief information officer, Department of the Navy.


Several solutions offered by speakers and panelists entailed a new type of relationship between the U.S. Navy and industry. “We’re looking to our partners in industry to develop the new technologies and capabilities we need. And, we have do it in a fiscally constrained environment,” Adm. Harris stated. The fleet needs robust cybersecurity for systems in all security domains. And, it must be able to conduct cross-domain chat between individuals in coalition operations, he said.


Halvorsen agreed with the admiral. “The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’” he said. Calling it cyber economics, or risk math, Halvorsen said this approach will require establishing a balance around cost, mission and security. Halvorsen emphasized that information security must be weighed against cost and risk. “I don’t like the word security; I prefer risk—because it is a risk equation,” he declared.


In addition to U.S. military leaders, representatives from other nations in the Pacific Rim also emphasized the importance of cybersecurity. Scott Dewar, the Australian consulate general in Honolulu, called for domestic and international coalitions to generate approaches for cybersecurity. Saying that effective cybersecurity ultimately will depend on the ability of nations with shared interests to form coalitions, he called for “a global approach to cybersecurity and common rules of operation.”


Australia recently elevated cybersecurity as a major priority for national security, and in 2009 it established a Cyber Security Operations Center (CSOC). Earlier this year, the government announced the creation of the Australian Cyber Security Center, which will address government and industry operations as well as criminal activity.


Mihoko Matsubara, a cybersecurity analyst with Hitachi Systems, Tokyo, said cultural differences are one the biggest challenges faced by security experts—whether they are in government, academia or the private sector.


For example, Japanese experts think that Americans are too quick to make decisions and would rather hear possibilities more than pure facts. American experts believe that their Japanese counterparts take too much time to make decisions and are too rigid and orthodox. Neither side may realize the cultural motivation behind the other’s positions. “We try to accept different views from each other,” she related. “We should accept the differences and face difficulties together.”


More extensive coverage by SIGNAL Media’s Editor in Chief Robert K. Ackerman is available on the SIGNAL Media Event eNews site.


SIGNAL Magazine is the official publication of AFCEA International. AFCEA, established in 1946, is a non-profit organization serving its members by providing a forum for the ethical exchange of information, and dedicated to increasing knowledge through the exploration of issues relevant to its members in information technology, communications and electronics for the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities. For more information, visit

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Media Contact:Maryann Lawlor(703) 631-6179



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