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Insider Threat Key Element of JIE Solutions

May 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The architecture of the Joint Information Environment (JIE) will help the Defense Department deal with the growing insider threat, according to Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). He told the audience at AFCEA’s three-day Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium that the move to the cloud will enable better security and prevent the traditional insider threat from menacing valuable data.

DISA Must Practice What It Preaches, Says Director

May 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is changing its own internal methods of operation to reflect the direction it is giving the services in the move toward the Joint Information Environment, according to Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., USAF, DISA director, at the Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium.

DISA: Social Media is the Wave of the Future

May 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The defense community must move away from email and fully into social media, says the director of the Defense Information System Agency (DISA). Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., USAF, told the audience at AFCEA’s Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium that the defense community must break with the past in digital information technology.

Intelligence Generates a Cyber Picture

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The borderless world of cybersecurity now is benefitting from geospatial intelligence products. The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has joined the fight against cybermarauders by providing imagery to help cyberwarriors track down online adversaries. Experts defending the United States from cyber attack abroad have a new tool in their kit by being able to see the facility from which digital malefactors are plying their wares.

Military Evaluates Future Cyberforce

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Cybersecurity remains a priority for the U.S. Defense Department, with officials protecting resources for it in the face of overall budget constraints. Guidance from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 directs a mission analysis of cybercapabilities not only in the active military, but also across partners, to help forces maintain their edge in protecting the nation.

China and Russia Pose an Array of Dangers to the West

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

China and Russia represent two of the most robust, comprehensive concerns to worldwide stability. Almost every major geostrategic threat—cyber attack, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, capable military forces, political influence, economic power, sources of and high demand for energy—is resident in those two countries that often find themselves at odds with the United States and its allies.

Korean Cybersecurity Becomes a Joint Endeavor

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

A new facility for cybersecurity is allowing U.S. Forces Korea to coordinate efforts with other U.S. commands as well as Republic of Korea civilian government and military forces. The Joint Cyber Center serves as the focal point for increasing international cooperation between U.S. and Korean forces in their defensive measures against increasing cyber aggression from North Korea. It blends activities from the local J-2, J-3 and J-6 along with input from other forces worldwide.

The cyber center coordinates through its headquarters and partners with its counterparts at the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Through PACOM, the center works with the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). Any direction the center receives from CYBERCOM would come through PACOM.

Col. Karlton D. Johnson, USAF, is the U.S. Forces Korea J-6 and senior communicator for U.S. forces in Korea. He says what is unique about this cyber center is its partnership with the Republic of Korea. Col. Johnson notes that, in March and June of 2012, cyber attacks hit the Korean national infrastructure and its banking sector. U.S. forces viewed the threat across the board to ensure they were defended, and it coordinated with Korean partners through the Joint Cyber Center (JCC).

The colonel emphasizes that the two countries do not share locations at the cyber center. They “share what is shareable” through their bilateral cooperation protocols. Earlier this year, Korean and U.S. forces held the first bilateral cyber tabletop exercise, in which the U.S. Forces Korea J-6 served as the synchronizing agent with Korean government and military agencies.

Col. Johnson continues that he has “an outstanding working relationship” with the commander of the Korean cyber command as well as with the Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff J-6 and the Korean Ministry of National Defense. All are focused on broad cyberdefense because Korea has been on the front lines of cyber, he notes.

National Security Agency Program Fills Critical Cyber Skills Gaps

June 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The first graduates are emerging from centers of excellence for cyber operations that teach the in-depth computer science and engineering skills necessary to conduct network operations. The program better prepares graduates to defend networks and should reduce the on-the-job training needed for new hires, saving both time and money.

The National Security Agency (NSA) initiated the Centers of Academic Excellence-Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) program in 2012. Eight schools were designated centers of excellence in the first two years with another round of announcements expected in mid-June. Agency officials say they hope eventually to have a total of 20 to 25 schools on the list.

The effort is a deeply technical, interdisciplinary, higher education program firmly grounded in the computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering disciplines. “We had noticed that a lot of graduates coming out of universities didn’t have quite the same skills that they’ve had in the past,” recalls Steve LaFountain, dean of the College of Cyber, National Cryptologic School, and the distinguished academic chair for information assurance and cyber, NSA. “Some of the skills needed in the cyber operations field, such as low-level programming, deep knowledge of networks and network protocols and understanding of operating systems internals, were starting to become less emphasized by academic programs.”

The change in school curricula is understandable because a lot of jobs today are focused on Web applications and mobile applications and require a different skill set than today’s cyber operations, he adds. “Instead of doing C programming, they’re now doing Java, Perl and Python programming. We decided to create this program and focus the requirements on the skills necessary for cyber operations,” LaFountain explains.

Book Review: Cybersecurity and Cyberwar

June 1, 2014
Reviewed by Bob Fonow

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

By P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman Oxford University Press, January 2014 (Brookings)

Much is written today about cybersecurity, cyberwarfare and cyberstrategy. Now a new compendium, written by two Brookings Institution academics, offers a serious and intelligent discussion of these overlapping themes and what they the mean to politics and defense discourse in the United States.

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar builds on Washington’s situational awareness in a dynamic factor of modern conflict and the dangers inherent in a politically decentralized global Internet. The authors give due regard to the positive results of global networks, but this book is more concerned with the risk of confrontation. It is a desktop reference on subjects as wide-ranging as how the Internet works, the Stuxnet worm, advanced persistent threats to critical infrastructure, global finance dependence on security systems and the undeclared cyberwar between the United States and China.

These are complex issues, and the book reflects some of the confusion displayed by the many actors in Washington and other capitals. How and where do the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department fit into the puzzle? Where does China’s penchant for Internet protocol theft become espionage worthy of a systematic response, which now ranges from a gentle diplomatic nudge to the discussion of powerful cyber and conventional weapons? As the authors say, the doctrine behind this thinking is going to take a long time to develop. We are in a time much like the early nuclear era of the 1950s and early 1960s before the Cuban Missile Crisis—thinking that we understood escalation issues, but now alarmed by some of the older writing and casual statements on the subject.

Guest Blog: A Brief Look into the Cybersecurity Framework

April 23, 2014
By Matthew Smith

Whether a well-established company or one just getting started with cybersecurity risk management programs, those in the industry often can use a little help navigating the cumbersome and technical systems. This snapshot features pointers to clarify existing guidance and help organizations manage cybersecurity risk.


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