The U.S. Navy faces some hard decisions as it girds for a changing global security environment that features new and diverse threats and a greater demand for its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The choices offered the Navy include developing a new way of obtaining needed technologies and capabilities; changing the way it establishes priorities in acquisition; applying social media to networking practices; and even turning back the clock to the era before modern network-centric warfare.
For years, the U.S. Navy built its force around the concept of network-centric operations. Now that it has some of the most advanced information technology capabilities in the military realm, the U.S. Pacific Fleet must re-learn how to operate without them in a disconnected, intermittent, low-bandwidth (DIL) environment.
With the new Joint Information Environment looming as the basis for networking across the force, planners must consider how to add coalition allies and nontraditional partners. Establishing communities of interest may be the answer.
The move to the cloud offers great potential for U.S. Navy information technology efforts. Yet, other aspects such as applications and integrated capability sets must work their way into the sea service cyber realm.
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.
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.
South Korea didn't merely react when it suffered two extensive cyber attacks earlier this year. It established a national cyber policy and formed a government/military/commercial partnership to protect against future intrusions.
The best intentions among international cyber experts may be foiled simply because they don't understand each other's cultural differences. Priorities and even the way of thinking can inhibit progress without cyber experts even realizing it.
The national laws that ensure freedom in modern democracies are preventing effective international cybersecurity measures. Hackers hide behind borders as they ply their malice around the world, and authorities are hard-pressed to reach them.