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Viewpoint

Information Technology—Servant, Not Master, of Operational Art

June 2000
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

The military's increasing reliance on commercial off-the-shelf information systems is leading to an environment in which the technologies could be driving the doctrine. The opportunities-and the challenges-presented by these new technologies cover the gamut of communications, computing, sensors, networks, interoperability and security. The defense community's response to this development may define military superiority for years to come.

Outsourcing Trend Demands Closer Examination

November 2000
By James H. Ward

Nowhere does the battle for or against outsourcing rage more fiercely than in the halls of the Pentagon, seat of the most powerful military in the world. The U.S. Defense Department is finding itself in the throes of a debate that might, over time, cause it to cede its hegemony to commercial forces and lose the tools it will need to fight on distant battlefields.

Surveillance Slips Into Cyberspace

February 2005
By David E. Peterson

Allied intelligence agencies engaged in computer-to-computer signals intelligence exploration are closely examining Internet protocol network intercepts and forensics analysis as a new weapon in the war against terrorism. Traditional signals intelligence professionals, who have shied away from this type of intelligence gathering for more than a decade, are realizing that the computer-to-computer intelligence gap can be filled. The fact that computer-to-computer signals intelligence is a weakness in current allied intelligence-gathering efforts is no secret. But after decades of denial, the intelligence community and emerging technologies are changing the old ways of looking at network surveillance.

Apathy and Incompetence Trump Terrorism In Cyberspace

January 2005
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Today's threats to U.S. national security range from the bloody reality of terrorist suicide bombers who kill and maim individuals to weapons of mass destruction that potentially hold many thousands at risk. The U.S. information infrastructure is a vital element of U.S. national security, but the design and management of software render its terminals, nodes and networks demonstrably vulnerable to malicious manipulation.

COTS Is Only as Good as the Shelf

January 2001
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Commercial off-the-shelf procurement is now a fact of life for the U.S. Defense Department. This thrust is driven as much by economics as it is by technology advances. However, the headlong rush to commercialize the defense technology base is producing unwanted complications that threaten to undermine the original goals of commercial acquisition.

Balancing Capability Protection and Mission Readiness

April 2001
By Capt. Philip Ray, USN

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass. That phrase calls to mind the image of a firefighter's axe in a glass box on a wall. It also is an appropriate analogy for the U.S. Defense Department's approach to information operations, wherein powerful capabilities often are locked away from the hands of the warfighter. But unlike the firefighter, who is trained in the use of the axe, warfighters have virtually no opportunity to train with U.S. information operations capabilities or to factor them into their plans. Tight security controls that are designed to ensure the protection of many capabilities are, as an unintended consequence, locking the armed forces out of opportunities to learn to use them effectively. This, in a nutshell, is the problem of overprotection.

Swarming Attacks Challenge Western Way of War

April 2001
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Asymmetric tactics and network-centric warfare demand a new look at command and control. Information now is a weapon of choice; software, radio frequencies and bandwidth are critical commodities; networks are essential delivery platforms; and access controls are mandatory. All must be melded into operational art. The foremost challenge for commanders and staffs in this new battlespace environment may be the command and control (C2) of the infostructure.

Low-Tech Humans Subvert High-Tech Information Assurance

January 2002
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

The tragic events of September 11 provide ghastly substance to the metaphor of asymmetric warfare. And, they add credence to prescient but nebulous warnings of threats to homeland security and concomitant vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures.

Information Operations Seeks Blend of Missives and Missiles

June 2002
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Military superiority, diplomatic deftness and economic clout are measurable and globally respected instruments of U.S. national power. Information, on the other hand, while a potent strategic resource and foundation for national power, has not earned equal recognition. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the failure to win the battle for hearts and minds of Arab and Muslim populations. The world's superpower is, in the view of most commentators, losing the propaganda war.

The Earthly Realities Of Cyberspace

October 2002
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

Information technology is widely and often wildly heralded as the key to rearming the U.S. military for networked conflict, marshaling a host of disparate and dispersed bureaucracies to secure the homeland, and exporting American principles of liberty and justice. But, cloaked by hubris is the indisputable fact that the worth of information technology is established not by how much it costs, but how intelligently it is employed and how well it satisfies user needs.

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