Incoming

April 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

Today, government and industry increasingly are on the wrong side of the cybersecurity spend.

Criminal groups, nation-states and individual hackers often force organizations to spend much more to defend against cyber attacks, or the threat of attacks, than attackers spend to carry them out. How do we slow down this trend and reverse the spend, forcing the attacker to pay a higher price?

Technology and a better-educated workforce will help, but these solutions may not really reduce the spend or increase the cost to the attacker.

The best way to do this is through significantly increased partnering as well as more timely and greater sharing of threat data and real-time attack information.

March 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

Fifth-generation (5G) superfast cellular technology is coming. And it will revolutionize the way we think about networks, the amount of data and analytics that can be presented in real or near real time, and how we use this data and related analytics to make everyday decisions. 5G is going to enable a national high-speed virtual highway. Much like the rollout of the physical national highway system, the introduction of 5G will affect defense and business and change individual behavior in ways we haven’t even thought about yet.

February 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

In today’s world, the most valuable resource is information. The fastest-growing companies are data companies. Firms that can apply decision-quality information in time to affect critical business decisions are reaping the greatest success. Just as in warfare, the force that can bring intelligence to the battle edge in near real time will have a tremendous advantage in any engagement.

January 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

This is my first article as the new author of Incoming. I want to thank AFCEA for the opportunity to write this monthly piece, and I hope I will continue the tradition of offering thought-provoking articles on timely topics important to the information technology and communication community. I also want to thank my predecessor, Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.), for his work and excellent contributions that were informative and certainly advanced thinking on a wide variety of issues. Well done, Earl.

December 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)
A civilian cyber corps could support two of U.S. Cyber Command’s three primary missions: defend Defense Department networks to ensure their data is held securely and defend critical infrastructure.

A civilian reserve cyber corps deserves strong consideration as a way to add more capacity to the cyber work force, which the nation has struggled to do for a number of years. The Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) could serve as a model for the corps and ultimately help the U.S. government and the Defense Department shore up their shortfall of cyber resources.

November 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

Bitcoin’s underlying technology, called blockchain, has great potential in the public sector. Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two or more parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. This can include the exchange of money, goods, property, documents or data—anything of value that can be represented digitally. A trusted centralized intermediary such as a bank can enforce terms, and details recorded in the ledger can be used for arbitration.

October 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

Smartphones and tablets offer more storage, processing power and functionality than an enterprise-class mainframe computer did less than a generation ago. Such dramatic advances make mobile devices powerful business tools and allow military forces to conduct combat missions around the clock, regardless of location.

September 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

The discussion about creating a space-oriented military branch has surfaced again. An amendment to the House version of the fiscal year 2017-2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) calls for a separate Space Corps by 2019. The Space Corps would fall under the Department of the Air Force but operate as an independent service, similar to the Marine Corps’ relationship to the Department of the Navy.

I really can’t believe we are having this discussion again.

August 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

We are living in the second major wave of digital disruption. Most consider the advent of the Internet and ubiquitous email to be the first wave. In this second wave, where the cloud features prominently, modern apps and analytics will usher in unprecedented levels of productivity that will significantly differentiate militaries, companies and governments by their mission execution.

July 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

In business as in life, whenever something goes terribly wrong, there is a reflexive tendency to start talking about what should have been done and to affix blame instead of focusing on how to move forward successfully. Cyber attacks are certainly no exception.

I simply WannaCry.

June 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

This article is the last in a two-part series on what Y2K can teach the world about cybersecurity. Read the first part here.

The Y2K event went out with a whimper and not a bang, but not because the issue wasn’t serious. The potential for massive data disruption was there, but government and industry rallied to address it before the January 1, 2000, deadline. The millennium bug was squashed because stakeholders with a lot to lose attacked it in a coordinated effort. That approach can serve as both a lesson and a model for the latest security challenge: the cyber bug.

May 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

I’ve heard a lot of talk about cyberthreats over the past 15 years, yet I haven’t seen anyone offer a holistic way to address them. As I reflect on my own experiences and challenges in information and operational technology, the last problem of this magnitude that we had to face was the feared millennium bug, or Y2K. A mere 17 years later, the information technology landscape looks eerily the same. For many chief information officers (CIOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs), the size and scope of the millennium bug is about the same as today’s major security challenge: the cyber bug.

April 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

In the information security sector, the same problems and misconceptions about cybersecurity crop up again and again. Specifically, federal government leaders believe that security is purely a technology problem. But that is not the case. Cybersecurity vulnerabilities in both industry and government are regularly the result of human behavior and not solely an information technology or system error. And this human threat often is not malicious. So how are government officials to manage this type of insider risk?

February 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

Now that Donald Trump has become the 45th president of the United States, he will be exposed to the nation’s soft underbelly: cybersecurity. Given rapid advancements in information and communication technologies, continued coupling of the digital domain with the physical world and advanced persistent threats, critical infrastructure protection poses a major challenge for the United States. 

This is where the president should focus his efforts. But is either the Department of Homeland Security or the Defense Department the right agency for cyber protection?

January 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

Happy New Year! While I prepared this column well in advance of its publishing date, I unfortunately can predict with reasonable certainty (though I wish I could do this with the stock market) that another major cybersecurity event occurred last week or will occur next week.

December 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

Changes in information technology and the capabilities it delivers are commonplace across business. We know changes will only continue, offering opportunities for improved operations and greater efficiencies. The problem is that chief information officers, who are charged with managing and delivering information technology services, often operate on procedures, structures and processes developed many years ago, in an entirely different technology era.

November 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

While the world’s attention seems to be focused on the Middle East and the spillover effects of its conflicts, the Asia-Pacific region is enduring stresses that could have far-reaching consequences. The area, which comprises half the Earth’s surface and two-thirds of its people, is facing threats to peace and economic growth that must be addressed by the one country that largely is viewed as an honest broker for security: the United States.

November 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

Several years ago, I served as a director of communications and information in a major U.S. Air Force command. The director of operations called me in one day to discuss some of the actions we were taking within my directorate. While the general appreciated my proactivity, he told me I was crossing the line between my support role and his operational business. That was hard for me to understand because I always had believed communications and information were operations. Today’s thinking seems to bear that out, and today’s requirements demand that we do things differently.

October 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

Since World War II, the U.S. military largely has borne the cost of preserving peace around the globe, which also has helped secure homeland prosperity. Boots on the ground in foreign lands have allowed us to form strong economic ties with our allies, establish a presence in critical regions and fight “over there” should a conflict arise. We adopted this strategy in the years following World War II and accepted its cost as the price of being a world leader. That strategy frequently has been under fire, with many calling for more reductions in our overseas presence to focus on problems at home. 

September 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

Much debate has taken place recently on the topic of American “greatness.” While I believe this country remains great today, I also believe it has lost some of its momentum for a number of reasons, including a struggling economy. Wages are not climbing, consumer spending is stagnant, and the national debt keeps growing. We need to reinvigorate the middle class with more opportunities for higher-paying jobs so that Americans feel confident and prosperous again. Those opportunities exist, but unlike the last century, more will come from small businesses than big businesses.

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