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TechNet Asia-Pacific: The Network Is the Message

November 4, 2008
By Henry Kenyon
Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, USAF, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, calls for a new approach to understanding networks.

The biggest challenge in securing and operating networks efficiently may be to understand them-which currently is not taking place, said Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, USAF, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command. Leading off the first full day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2008, Gen. Fraser offered observations about network operations and security that tended to be more philosophical than technical.

People just don't understand the network, and they must take a larger view of networks, he said. Users need an intuitive understanding of the network, and industry must help by providing intuitive interfaces that help humans truly understand just what is happening in a network.

Security in particular requires a change in culture. Warning that non-kinetic attacks can have kinetic-like effects, Gen. Fraser called for a new approach to cyberspace security. Cyberthreats are growing, and just over the past year the Pacific Command lost thousands of human hours in capabilities and spend thousands of dollars to counter a network intrusion. Instead of security, the focus should be on assurance-in this case, risk management.

"Anyone who connects with the network must be a cyberwarrior," he posited.

The U.S. military also has tended to operate its networks instead of fighting with them, he charged. Accordingly, the command is pushing its J-6 to look at the networks as a weapon system.

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