Whether for military ops, standard communications or a lofty connection linking nations together during crises, space systems are critical. Enhancing the ability to monitor space assets-and to augment them with newer, better equipment-is a major STRATCOM mission. The command continues to move forward and to seek commercial support, but are the requirements clear? Is the acquisition process easily navigable? Share your thoughts here.
A huge chasm exists between cyber operators and the technical community, declared Brig Gen. Brett Williams, USAF, Pacific Command J-6. Both sides must learn the other's language if operators are to receive the systems that they actually need, he offered. Speaking in the Thursday panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2010, Gen. Williams related that operators often do not understand the technical language of the systems that are being designed for them. As a result, they are not able to effectively input design advice, and often are faced with the challenge of adapting a system to suit their needs. Conversely, technicians often do not fully understand operators' needs, he added. Both need to reach out to the other group to begin system design with a better understanding of everyone's points of view. For operators, Gen. Williams suggested that they learn about cyber systems in the same manner that pilots learn about their aircraft before they set foot in them to fly. Going even further was Rear Adm. William E. Leigher, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet. He suggested the creation of a cyber acquisition force, because characteristics of cyberspace are greatly different than those of the platform world, especially the pace of change. He noted that the military buys carriers from a limited number of shipyards, but it buys information technology from many sources, which calls for a new way of doing business.
The time for passive cyber defense has passed, and the military must become more active in defending its assets against cyber attack. That approach was endorsed by several high-ranking officers in the Thursday panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2010. Rear Adm. William E. Leigher, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, noted that cyber predominantly is a defensive domain. In the 1990s, a structure was set up in which a computer emergency response team waits for something to happen, then patches it and waits for the next incident to happen. "Can you imagine doing ASW [antisubmarine warfare] that way?" he suggested. "We have not ever demonstrated the inherent right of self defense in cyberspace," the admiral declared. The art of deterrence is different in cyberspace, said Brig Gen. Brett Williams, USAF, Pacific Command (PACOM) J-6. "You don't deter a cyber event with other cyber action," he elaborated. "You deter with the full strength of national action. it's bad to pigeonhole cyber in this area." Rear Adm. Scott H. Swift, USN, PACOM J-3, stated that the military still does not think of cyber as a warfighting system. it is as important as any other element of battle, such as tanks and aircraft, he added.
Cheryl J. Roby has been assigned as chief of staff, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Networks and Information Integration/Defense Department Chief Information Officer, Networks and Information Integration, Washington, D.C.