On June 25, 2010, the Army issued a request for proposals for the migration of information technologies into a cloud environment. A statement of work defines this as the “Army’s Private Cloud.” The contract reportedly could total $249 million over five years, or an average of $50 million per year. When one compares the proposed spending with the Army’s fiscal year 2009 information technology budget of $7.8 billion, the project accounts for only 0.6 percent of the Army’s budget. That is a modest start for moving in the direction in which commercial firms already are progressing at an accelerated pace.
Military commanders long have complained of limited situational awareness because of faulty intelligence and disruption of their lines of communications. Gen. Carl von Clausewitz called this “the fog of war.” Today’s military commanders face a distinctly different threat to their lines of communications because cyberwar casts a shadow far beyond Gen. Clausewitz’s conventional battlefield and the rules of engagement that govern armed conflict.
The United States has the world’s largest and most costly networks, but these networks must be configured better to support the warfighters in the era of cyberwarfare. According to Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, the U.S. Defense Department operates more than 15,000 networks; however these networks have no economies of scale, and many do not meet minimum commercial standards for availability or connection latency. Most children of Defense Department workers have better connectivity and functionality in their homes than their parents have at work.
Many of today’s original ideas about a global command and control system can be traced to Vice Adm. Jerry Tuttle, USN (Ret.), who served as director, Space and Electronic Warfare, from 1989 until his retirement in 1994. Faced with the need to restructure the Naval Telecommunications System to handle dramatically increased message traffic, Tuttle could have proposed buying bigger pipes. Instead, he created the Copernicus concept for evolving the Navy’s networks. His immediate objective was to restructure the Naval Telecommunications System and then to extend it to other parts of the Navy as well as to other military departments. Copernicus concentrated on the Navy’s immediate needs for increased bandwidth and for integrated communications.
While extensive work has been published on the U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons programs, very little has been said about Soviet electronics and its related espionage until author Steven T. Usdin’s book, Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley. Usdin has brought readers into this intriguing world in a thorough and insightful way by revealing how the two U.S.-born spies nearly created a Soviet version of Silicon Valley.
Submarines, as targets, have much in common with current U.S. adversaries such as insurgents, who prefer to blend in with their environments and rely on speed and stealth to conduct attacks. In a September 2009 podcast, the U.S. chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, extended this analogy by comparing the World War II Tenth Fleet’s antisubmarine warfare focus with the information operations focus of the recently reactivated U.S. Tenth Fleet.
The total population on the Internet is 1.6 billion. The majority of users engage in social computing, where numerous online services offer opportunities for sharing information. There are currently 156 social computing sites, but that number is growing to meet increasingly diverse interests. Sites with more than 15 million registered users include Digg, FriendFinder, Facebook, Flixster, Flickr, Friendster, Habbo, LinkedIn, MyLife, MySpace, Orkut, Plaxo, Twitter, YouTube, UStream and Wiki. These services had a total membership of 1.4 billion as of last fall.
The threat to cyberspace now rivals that of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. That is the message in the latest effort to rouse the public from slumber induced by ignorance, indifference, apathy, confusion and denial. Government is inundated with reports and studies from think tanks, academia, prestigious government research agencies and the cybersecurity industry—each decrying the weak and deteriorating state in our cyberdefenses and proffering advice to the new administration.
Christopher J. Dorobek’s “Incoming” column focused on good leadership. I once was as misguided as Dorobek, but no more. I hope it is not too late to affect his thinking—and yours as well.
The explosion of online social media is profoundly changing how people produce, consume and share information. Social media rapidly turns monologues into dialogues and broadcasts into conversations. The result is a rich environment in which ideas are shared, questions are answered and collaborative relationships flourish.
Command and control is a subject that encompasses all military functions. No matter how brave soldiers are or how many billions of dollars are spent, command and control is essential in enabling the warfighter to execute commander’s intent.
Some risks attend all travel in the domains of land, sea, air and outer space, but in those realms the voyager is afforded a patently acceptable measure of protection by laws, rules, sanctions against misbehavior, and social norms and comity. Aviators, firefighters, law enforcement officials, soldiers and others obliged to function in highly contested domains can seek added protection from partners who warn of danger from their rear perspective—their six o’clock.
This is my take on the AFCEA, Northcom and George Mason University conference on "Inter-agency, Allied and Coalition Information Sharing," which was covered on SIGNAL Scape last week. No, we still can't connect the dots as well as hoped and never will, but conferees agreed that what matters most is the thoughtful and trusting use that humans could make of what information manages to flow through IT systems, however improperly they may be connected.
As the intelligence community looks to a future in which better intelligence decisions emerge from smarter use of available but limited resources, human capital must take center stage. Including culture, values, education and lifelong learning will provide the right ingredients to evolve the intelligence community to the next level of a learning organization—and to achieve high performance for the missions it supports.
Combatant commands are vital to the protection and preservation of U.S. interests. However, in today’s dynamic, volatile global environment, they may need to evolve their “product” to best suit the environment they intend to shape. In the case of U.S. Africa Command, it may be more relevant and effective for the organization to support the region’s fledging democracies. These nations need assistance in establishing their ability to openly share information with each another and international allies. In doing so, U.S. combatant commands can prove invaluable in helping nations grow and prosper to become better service providers to their people and achieve greater positive outcomes as a result.
Network-centric operations as a doctrine based on a shared U.S. Defense Department infrastructure is now 10 years old. The concept of networked warfare has been under active consideration by the Office of the Secretary of Defense since 2001, but no evidence suggests that significant infrastructure consolidations are taking place. As yet, no new major systems have been built on a shared infrastructure platform. The fiscal year 2009 budgets show no significant reallocations of funds to propel network centricity into reality any time soon.
The task seemed simple enough: The U.S. military services should use a technological edge to adapt forces to whatever type of fight came to pass. They were prodded by an impatient secretary of defense who saw information technology as the means to win conventional wars quickly with less force. But, U.S. armed forces also were instructed by the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review to prepare for combat operations against new, elusive nonstate foes, with a focus on multiple irregular, asymmetric operations. They also had to give equal weight to combat and sustainability operations.
The U.S. intelligence community must centralize both collection and analysis to most effectively leverage technical and analytic expertise. Restructuring the intelligence community as a technical core of collection capabilities, surrounded by an analytic corps organized by areas of responsibility, would improve efficiency, depth and transparency of intelligence analysis.
Having long relied upon military prowess and diplomatic skills to project and protect its interests on the seas, on land and in aerospace, the United States now is in conflict with stateless entities seeking hearts and minds, not land or treasure. It is a global contest of words and images, waged on a battlefield called cyberspace where rules of engagement that govern traditional conflict don’t apply and plans for a multiagency effort to protect the information infrastructure have not yet been adopted.
The attacks on the United States in 2001 resulted in the intelligence community gaining tremendous power and resources to pursue U.S. adversaries around the world. Immediately after the attacks, the community began to augment its work force through rapid outsourcing, and this change in staffing led to new issues that had not been dealt with before.