Chilton: Cyberspace is a Domain

August 21, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, USAF, commander, U.S. Strategic Command had a message for attendees here, emphasizing that cyberspace is a domain that the military must operate in and defend. "I consider the surface of the ocean a domain...I consider land a domain," he said during the morning plenary address. "I consider air a domain. I consider space a domain and I consider cyberspace a domain."

Problems in cyberspace can extend to other domains, reducing the ability to command and control troops and conduct missions effectively. In addition, vulnerabilites in one part of the network can affect locations worldwide. Intelligence support is critical for network operations just as it is for operations in other areas. Gen. Chilton called recent attacks on U.S. networks espionage, similar to the practices used by spies. "This can all be done from the comfort of your home in your parent country," he stated

To protect the network, personnel must be prepared and policies must be enforced. The U.S. military needs to improve the security of the Nonsecure Internet protocol routing network by training all warfighters on rules and regulations regarding its use and ensuring such procedures are followed. Gen. Chilton recommends that commanders make it their business to pay attention to the health of the networks every day, and concern themselves with problems and violations. To help alleviate these problems, he advocates cyberspace training in the military academies and service schools, as well as military cyberspace exercises and training events to prepare for attacks.

The general also addressed security concerns. Denial of service attacks are one of his major worries, but he said his biggest fear is the potential ability of enemies to infiltrate a network and pose as a valid user. Adversaries could then send out misleading information and, worse yet, create doubt in the minds of users, undermining faith in all information coming through the network. To help reduce problems with malware and other threats, Gen. Chilton wants the military to move away from blacklisting items to whitelisting them. Through this process, the military would ask operators what they need for their missions and then open access only to those areas.

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