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Event Coverage

Insight, Oversight Dominate Intelligence Priorities

September 22, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. intelligence community must innovate and expand its capabilities menu just as critics are calling for greater oversight on its operations.

Internal, External Challenges Vex Intelligence Community

September 18, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

When the going gets tough, the intelligence community gets rough treatment by friends and foe alike.

The Positive Side of Cyber

September 9, 2014
George I. Seffers

All too often, the topic of cyber presents a negative view of vulnerabilities and attacks, but cyber has a positive role to play in national defense, said Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command, speaking as a keynote at AFCEA TechNet Augusta.

Navy Sets up Cyber Mission Teams

May 30, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is establishing new teams to run cyber operations and help defend Defense Department networks as a service extension of U.S. Cyber Command. These teams are part of a centralized defensive and offensive cyber capability that is beginning to take shape within the Defense Department, said Kevin Cooley, command information officer for the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.

Speaking at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th annual Naval IT Day, Cooley explained that the Navy is standing up 40 cyber national mission teams totaling some 2,000 personnel. All the teams will be up by the end of fiscal year 2016. These teams will function as units based on mission orders from the U.S. Cyber Command, Cooley said.

The Navy teams will provide U.S. commanders with additional cyber resources to use during operations. Cooley noted that many of the information technology and communications capabilities created over the past 20 years have given the Defense Department a major advantage operationally. Potential adversary nations have been working for some time to copy these capabilities for themselves. But, those systems have weaknesses that can be exploited. “We spend a lot of time dealing with how to capitalize dealing with those vulnerabilities so that we can provide our commanders with a robust set of kinetic and non-kinetic options, should that need arise,” he said.

It also is likely many nations and smart individuals around the world are putting similar efforts into exploiting U.S. network weaknesses. “They’re smart, they have a lot of money and they are very motivated,” Cooley said. This is both a problem and an opportunity of national importance, he added.

Marine Corps Enterprise Network Plan Gives JIE a Boost

May 30, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Marine Corps is at the heart of the Defense Department’s efforts to get the Joint Information Environment (JIE) up and running. Although the department has been working to create the secure network operating environment for several years, frustration has risen about a lack of progress, explained Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Nally, USMC, the Marine Corps director for command, control, communications and computers (C4) and chief information officer. Speaking at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th annual Naval IT Day, the general bluntly noted that after two years of work, “we’re still at PowerPoint,” and this frustration has prompted the Corps to put forward its own unification plan.

The commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, USA, expressed this frustration at a recent meeting of the command's various service components. Although about $6 billion is set aside for information technology systems in the Defense Department’s program objectives memorandum, which outlines budget spending, no mention of the JIE was made in this year’s document. This is significant, because a formal allocation of resources and responsibilities will be needed to get the JIE running.

The Marine Corps has promoted its Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) unification plan as a JIE template, which is the service’s effort to fold several of its classified and unclassified networks into a single architecture. The Cyber Command, the Defense Department and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials are interested in MCEN, because it provides a clear documented path to combining multiple networks with different classification levels into a single enterprise. “We’re working real hard with DISA to move this thing forward,” Gen. Nally said. “This [MCEN] unification plan, this is JIE.”

Laying the Groundwork for Monetary Reductions

September 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Concerns about the effects of the looming loss of almost $500 billion from the U.S. defense budget dominated discussions at TechNet Land Forces–South in Tampa, Florida, in July. As government and industry prepare to focus harder on efficiencies in the face of tighter fiscal constraints, many participants also extolled the need for better communications between the two groups.

Lt. Gen. Bradley A. Heithold, USAF, vice commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), explained the effect of cost measures on special operations forces (SOF). Because of the predicted need for their unique skills, SOF actually will see increased funding. Gen. Heithold played a key role in building the SOCOM budget and took part in mapping the larger defense budget. He told listeners that decision makers made choices carefully and deliberately, weighing cuts against the future defense strategy.

The military will look even more to industry to develop technologies and to help troops find economical ways to field necessary capabilities. The role is not particularly new for the private sector. John A. Wilcox, director of communications systems and chief information officer (CIO) of SOCOM, stated that the military does not lead innovation and turns to the private sector as well as academia for advances.

Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., ANG, the adjutant general for Florida, spoke about the many dangers inhibiting border security, but stated that “Our biggest threat right now is the budget.” Drug smuggling organizations earn hundreds of billions of dollars each year, which they can use to acquire new resources to destabilize life on land or in the maritime environment. Terrorists often engage in drug running to fund their operations.

As Cyber Goes, so Goes the Army

August 16, 2012
By Max Cacas

At a time when more and more computers are interconnected across the globe and more and more people are trying to exploit their vulnerabilities, the U.S. Army is shifting to meet the cybersecurity challenge.

PlugFest Winners Develop Short Order Cybersolutions

August 16, 2012
By Max Cacas

Using resources available on the global network, three developers raced the clock to create solutions to a security problem as part of the third PlugFest competition. The winners were announced Thursday during the final day of TechNet Land Forces East in Baltimore.

Combining Cyber into MAGTF

August 15, 2012
By Max Cacas

Along with all the other tools at their disposal, Marine commanders now have complete cyber resources as part of the traditional Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operational doctrine, said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, USMC, deputy commandant for combat development and integration and commanding general of the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, U.S. Marine Corps.

Alexander: Train Like You Fight

August 14, 2012
By Max Cacas

What concerns Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, and speaking today at TechNet Land Forces East in Baltimore, is that the people under his command are "not trained to a standard needed to protect our systems."


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