TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 Coverage

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Despite the definition of cyber as an unlimited domain, some activities in a cyber conflict may best be left up to area commanders. This builds on the concept that the effects of cyberwar ultimately would be local to regional forces and governments.

This assessment emerged from a panel of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) directors at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. PACOM suffers from the same cyber challenges as other commands, but its area of operations includes some nations that are actively conducting cyberoperations against U.S. assets.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region is a long-term journey rather than a short-term effort, said the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USN, told the Thursday luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, that the fleet will need several new capabilities to carry out its mission into the future.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) joint directors are taking a regional approach to addressing the challenges facing the command. This includes activities such as forward deployment and working internationally with allies and partners, as well as dealing with challenges that emerge on a local level.

Four of these leaders discussed this aspect in a single panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, USN, director for operations/J-3, PACOM, emphasized the command’s approach to endorsing regional solutions by citing efforts to empower regional forums. As the region increasingly embraces security, solutions will be collective and multilateral.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region is giving the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) a new asset: the U.S. Army. Absent for more than a decade because of deployments to Southwest Asia, the 70,000 troops in the U.S. Army Pacific once again will be accessible to their area commander—but with new taskings and missions.

“Since 2001, PACOM commanders have not had their army in the Pacific. Those troops have been deployed elsewhere; the PACOM commander did not have the Army arrow in his quiver. Now, he has his Army back.”

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The recent global economic crisis would pale in comparison to the effects of a war fought over the South China Sea. A leading U.S. general warned that conflict in the potential flashpoint region could be devastating to many nations’ economies.

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, warned the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, that “our nations’ economies would collapse” if there were to be a conflict in the South China Sea. “It is feasibly not viable for any nation to go to war over the South China Sea,” he declared.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The 2014 U.S. Army will be so technologically different that new warfighters then will not even recognize many of today’s legacy systems. Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, told the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that new technologies “will almost have doubled” in two years. Many of today’s information systems will be obsolete.

“The Army will be completely different from today in two years,” he stated. It also will be smaller but more efficient and more capable because of these technological advances.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The ability to share information across domains is one of the many information technology capabilities that tops the wish lists of different U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) joint directors. Joint and coalition interoperability and information sharing were the topics of attention as the PACOM J-2, J-3 J-5 and J-6 outlined these and other issues in a single panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Existing forward-deployed U.S. military elements may be learning a new definition of the phrase as Pacific forces adjust to a new regional emphasis. The rebalancing that represents a new strategy for the Asia-Pacific region will be altering force structures that already represent forward deployments.

The U.S. Navy never left the forward deployment of its forces, said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, USN, deputy commander and chief of staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Speaking at a panel in TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the admiral allowed that forward deployment is essential for the force to be able to operate with an effective presence in the vast multinational region.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Hactivists who harvest information and publish it to embarass people or organizations are the leading trend among Internet malefactors, according to a communications security specialist. Marcus H. Sachs, vice president, national security policy for Verizon, told the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that hack-and-leak activities are becoming the new challenge for young computer minds.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Relatively conventional means are allowing hackers, spies and criminals to penetrate computer networks in spite of longstanding security measures. Some of this success stems from new ways of entering networks, but most of it represents simple efforts that exploit lax security attitudes.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Rugged mobile communications that can perform in remote areas with little bandwidth are near the top of the list for U.S. military forces in the Asia-Pacific theater. The strategic rebalancing toward the largest area of operation in the world has created new requirements for forces that face diverse deployments and different types of missions.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Australia is building up its security presence throughout the Pacific region, but with an eye toward the western part of the vast area. Australia refers to the theater as the Indo-Pacific region instead of the Asia-Pacific region, because it views that part of the area as where the strategic center of gravity will lie.

Maj. Gen. Richard Burr, ADF, commander, 1st Division Australian Defence Force, told a panel audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that his country’s alliance with the United States is the cornerstone of Australian security. In addition to that alliance, Australia will be engaging in more regional exercises to build stronger relationships with other area nations.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The next great threat to computer and network security lies in the supply chain—and it is here now. From factories unwittingly turning out devices infected with malware, to counterfeit parts sold on the Internet, malevolent operators threaten the security of information systems without running any risk of being stopped or detected by conventional security practices.

Marcus H. Sachs, vice president, national security policy for Verizon, told the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that 10 to 12 percent of the global information technology supply chain is counterfeit, and that number is growing.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. military forces will be challenged in all warfighting domains should conflict break out, according to a Pacific Air Forces general. One of those domains may already be the site of an ongoing fight.

Maj. Gen. John Shasteen, USAF, mobilization assistant to the commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, told the luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that nation-states and rogue organizations threaten U.S. military operations in all the warfighting domains. He contrasted this threat with the environment that U.S. forces faced in Southwest Asia, where the air domain was dominated by the allies and the only challenge was on land.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. bases in the Asia-Pacific region are under extreme threat of air and missile attack, and intricate measures may be necessary to protect them in the event of a serious conflict. These measures may range from kinetic antimissile defenses to a shell game that disperses assets among different locations to enhance their chances of survivability.

Maj. Gen. John Shasteen, USAF, mobilization assistant to the commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, offered this assessment to the luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The general stated that an integrated air and missile defense is vital to protect vulnerable assets.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The emphasis on protecting data is fouling networks and preventing effective security, according to panelists at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. This approach to data security must be changed to reflect the new realities of cyberspace and increasing use of new information technologies.

Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, cited a German military official, saying: “If you try to protect everything, you protect nothing.” He called for the military to stop protecting data that it must give away anyway, such as information that must be publicly available by law.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Suitability, speed of introduction and economics are among the reasons that the commercial sector may hold the key for defense cyberspace operations. Panelists at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, cited the need to discard the traditional military specification (MILSPEC) approach for information technologies and turn to the commercial sector for solutions.

“We’re not fighting the cyber war MILSPEC. We have to adapt to commercial spec,” said Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer. “The whole process today is too costly, too slow.

“We can’t afford the cyber war without getting rid of MILSPEC and going commercial,” he emphasized.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Well-meaning legislation that sought to improve human rights among nations is working against U.S. efforts to build greater cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Maj. Gen. Michael A. Keltz, USAF, director, strategic planning and policy (J-5), U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), speaking to an audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, addressed the Leahy Amendment that limits activities between U.S. forces and nations labeled as human rights violators.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Command is expanding its coalitions by adding nations to existing bilateral pacts across the Asia-Pacific region. This builds on the existing tendency to use a regional solution for regional problems, but it adds to capabilities and effectiveness across a wide range of challenges.

Maj. Gen. Michael A. Keltz, USAF, director, strategic planning and policy (J-5), U.S. Pacific Command, told an audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the command is transitioning from bilateral and even trilateral coalitions to a multilateral approach. This does not portend a NATO of the Pacific, but instead focuses on drawing together neighbors to address regional challenges.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Hollywood may be providing the solution to countering the increasing Chinese ballistic missile threat; only not in the way traditionally envisioned. A leading general in the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is calling for a “Star Wars” approach to defeating a ballistic missile attack from the People’s Liberation Army forces.

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