By Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr., USA, and Mark Powell
The U.S. Defense Department is introducing a new tool to protect military installations by transforming force-protection information sharing from a hierarchical, service-centric model to a network-centric model. The system will allow subscribers to have a common awareness of all suspicious events that are taking place in their vicinity.
Sky marshals, metal detectors and multiple identification checks may increase security in the corporeal world, but guarding the nation's information superhighway requires different tactics. And in the information age, homeland security must extend into the digital realm, or even a tiny crack could allow adversaries into some of the most important systems in the world today.
Virtually every piece of military electronics hardware, from the simplest handheld personal computing assistant to the most powerful mainframe computer, faces the challenge of interoperability to fit into the U.S. Defense Department's Global Information Grid. Designed as the ultimate military networking project, the grid is a cornerstone for achieving the information superiority outlined in the department's Joint Vision 2010 and Joint Vision 2020.
Solutions to today's information security challenges may reside in the virtual world. Modeling, simulation and evolutionary computational techniques offer organizations a way to observe how real hackers operate and attack systems. Because tireless computers are doing all the work, data can be gathered around the clock ready for analysts to examine and evaluate.
With computer network defense calling for an integrated approach, one government organization is helping public and private enterprises improve their infrastructures by putting them to the test. Armed with research and insight about threats and vulnerabilities, its experts take aim at systems and attack the problem of information security. While playing the bad guy, their mission is to point out weaknesses with the objective of making organizations stronger.
After years of searching for interoperability solutions for the multinational environment, this year the U.S. military will focus on how to ensure connectivity at home for coalitions comprising federal, state and local agencies. Using a familiar venue, the U.S. Defense Department will not only examine technical issues but also verify concepts of operations, concepts of employment and tactics, techniques and procedures. Event participants will be geographically dispersed and operationally diverse as they explore how network-centricity can support homeland security and defense.