Potential Adversaries Target U.S. Military Vulnerabilities
Two major competitive powers are vying for force superiority.
The days of the United States as an unassailable hyperpower have been replaced by an intensely competitive environment where two large rivals have rebuilt their militaries based on perceived U.S. vulnerabilities. Cyberspace is a foremost operational domain for each nation, and the United States must respond to their challenge or risk coming out second in a conflict with either nation.
This was the backdrop for the luncheon on the final day of the 2016 Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS) held in the Washington, D.C., convention center April 20-22. Vice Adm. Jan E. Tighe, USN, commander, Fleet Cyber Command and 10thFleet, described how Russia and China both have enhanced their warfighting.
“Russia and China have a growing arsenal of warfighting capabilities specifically designed to challenge us,” she declared. Speaking of the cyber domain, she said, “Every day we fight to defend our network; every day we fight to stay ahead of our adversary.”
Adm. Tighe stated that a common misperception is that “our technologies are our capabilities. People are our capabilities,” she countered, adding, “Necessity is the mother of innovation.”
The Navy’s attack surface expands and contracts daily, the admiral stated. The expansion occurs when vulnerabilities are left unpatched and humans interface with networks without proper security procedures. To address the human factor, the Navy is educating its users to a higher level of understanding about hazards in cyberspace.
“We’re going take our information warfare capabilities and better integrate and leverage them across the Navy,” she declared.