The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is in the final stages of planning and executing its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) move from Arlington, Virginia, to Fort Meade, Maryland. Our nation remains at war, with a surge occurring in Afghanistan and pending withdrawal being planned and prepared in Iraq. The recently published Quad- rennial Defense Review will drive a course change in critical defense domains. Cyberspace has become a focus for our nation, and it has gained priority in governments around the world as a warfighting domain.
Probably no other area is receiving more attention and more discussion in the global security community than cyberspace. The realm of cyberspace is so critical to every part of society that it finally has been recognized as both a major asset and a threat environment. It could have tremendous impact on defense as well as crucial industries such as finance, energy, water and others if denied to nations or companies. As a result, every nation is trying to define its roles and vulnerabilities in cyberspace, and alliances such as NATO are creating organizations and procedures to strengthen their position.
No, the title is not a redundancy. Given all the recent events in homeland security, it appears the whole process will undergo yet another round of reviews. I don’t think any of us would question that security is better today than in 2001. But is it good enough? Probably not.
AFCEA increasingly is engaged in the effort to improve the acquisition process, particularly as it supports the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and information technology communities. The association addresses this critical topic in this edition of SIGNAL; it has supported some workshops to discuss specific aspects of the problem; and it has held two conferences in the past several months on acquisition.
This is a time when everyone needs to be part of the cyber debate. Our dependency on the cyber environment is greater than ever. Cyber is being recognized as a priority domain for warfare. U.S. capabilities and those of the nation’s allies are growing, but the threat is growing and becoming more sophisticated at an alarming rate.
Both state and non-state players are active in this domain. The new U.S. administration has put a very high priority on the cyber environment and on cyberwarfare and has commissioned a number of studies to determine the way ahead. But the path remains unclear for the United States and, certainly, as the country works with its coalition partners around the globe.
I want to depart from my usual Commentary format this month to give you early notice about the upcoming AFCEA International membership survey. The information we derive from this survey is critical to us in our planning and budgeting process for the coming years.
It is fitting that this month’s SIGNAL Magazine includes a focus in on the U.S. Army. The month of August also features the 2009 LandWarNet Conference, the Army’s premier forum for information sharing and training in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) and information technology. LandWarNet 2009 will be held August 18-20 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The preeminence of the expanded use of cyberspace, the desire for more openness in government, and the demands for faster and better information sharing within and among enterprises—particularly in the context of inter-agency and coalition information sharing—have changed fundamentally the demands of information security. The wider reach of our networks and the quest for timely, relevant information have improved decision-making but have made us more dependent on cyberspace and more vulnerable.
In the wake of the global economic downturn that began late last year, responsible governments and businesses established budget priorities to make sharp spending cuts. These efforts extended across a large spectrum of budgetary activities, and they were—and still are—necessary.
Our 145 chapters and subchapters are the heart of AFCEA. The chapters are the primary interface with you—our membership—and multiple surveys have told us that member satisfaction correlates most closely with the experience a member has in his or her chapter. The chapter is your primary collaboration and networking group, and it is the closest touchpoint for AFCEA services.