The Shape of Victory in Cybersecurity

August 16, 2012
By Max Cacas

When it comes to cybersecurity, what does victory smell like? The wrap-up panel discussion for the TechNet Land Forces East conference, titled "Win: Land Cyber, Dominating and Winning Decisively," sought to provide insights and answers.

Moderator William Waddell, director, Command, Control and Cyberspace Operations Group, U.S. Army War College, said that the challenge actually is defining "winning" in a domain such as cyberspace-a domain which he said we as a nation, and the military as a force, still don't fully understand.

Waddell said that while the U.S. Defense Department may do a good job of securing the .mil networks, adversaries are likely to attack in other environments, such as the very vulnerable .com private sector networks. "The weakest link is where they will go," he said, and it's vital that a "whole of government" approach to cybersecurity dominate.

An effective cybersecurity strategy will be defined by prevention, deterrence and compellence, argued Waddell, which he explained means getting adversaries not to attack your network.

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA, Army chief information officer/G-6, said the network is "the center of gravity in any of the domains in which we choose to fight." For the last several months, the creation of the Joint Information Environment, which all services will use for information sharing, has been the primary topic of discussion and effort when it comes to setting goals and priorities, she stated. Going forward, there will no longer be ad hoc networking arrangements configured for one task and one task only; work is currently underway to give the Army one network configured consistently from the center to the farthest edge. Gen. Lawrence believes that "defense in depth" must define any attempts to protect that network.

Maj. Gen. George Allen, USMC, director of plans and policies, J-5, U.S. Cyber Command, echoed many of Gen. Lawrence's concerns about network security and emphasized the need to understand adversaries seeking to attack the nation's cyber infrastructure.

Jeff Witsken, chief of network integration, Mission Command Center of Excellence, said that his organization is currently completing a military manual that, for the first time, integrates electronic warfare and cybersecurity doctrines that address how they are to be used in warfare. He says that history has shown that past battles were not won or lost in one domain or another but instead across numerous domains simultaneously. That is just as important in the cyberspace domain, said Witsken.

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