Reductions in defense funding are having a greater effect on the force than simply instilling fiscal belt-tightening. Already strapped for cash, the services are exploring innovative ideas for cost-efficient information technology acquisition.
Future defense information technology is likely to focus on a set of services instead of specific elements. Accordingly, bidders likely will consist of industry teams bringing diverse expertise to the acquisition table.
Instead of deciding where to spend its money, the Pentagon now must decide where not to spend its increasingly scarce cash resources. This entails risk assessment that focuses on how not to hurt the warfighter.
Cyber has provided the means for rapidly assembling and operating military coalitions in the post-Cold-War era. Now, the very nature of the domain may require coalitions to save it from a growing menu of threats. These threats can range from annoying hackers to organized crime to malicious nation-states and even geopolitical movements to restrict the flow of ideas. While the panoply of perils is diverse, the actions to defend against them may have to spring from the well of government and organizational cooperation.
More than just generational differences characterize today's cyber work force. People of all ages have different ways of thinking and different goals for their profession. The variation is almost as great as the technology changes they are incorporating.
The networking assembled for the emergency Philippine typhoon response broke new ground in connectivity among governments and relief organizations. However, it also opened the door to sabotage by cybermarauders.
Now that allied forces have accepted coalitions as a requisite for future military operations, they must undergo a cultural sea change for cybersecurity. Accepting nontraditional partners demands a new way of viewing cybersecurity that entails greater flexibility at its most philosophical level.
An evolving mission network connecting U.S. and Australian forces is being expanded to include other trusted allies with an eye toward adding coalition partner nations. The network is built around a risk-managed approach for sensitive information sharing.
"If you allow the United States to operate out of sanctuary, we will beat the crap out of you." - Lt. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, USAF, vice commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, addressing potential adversaries
U.S. Pacific Command military leaders agree that any future operation will be conducted amid a coalition, and partner countries must be networked. However, that networking opens the possibility for greatly increased network vulnerabilities as less-secure nations provide weak links for network security.