Why should people be concerned about the Asia-Pacific region? Just because it comprises more than half the Earth’s population, has 36 nations that speak 3,000 languages, spans the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic, is transited by a third of the world’s maritime trade and includes six nuclear powers should not necessarily be cause for alarm.
A large portion of this issue of SIGNAL Magazine is devoted to its new quarterly special section—The Cyber Edge. The goal of The Cyber Edge is to do a better job of educating people across a broad spectrum in terms of the cyber threat, its implications, its technology issues and the policies that must be undertaken to solve the challenge.
Currently, from a cyber perspective, there is a dearth of information on what really is going on. Tales and stories abound, but no one goes into enough detail on what is behind those stories. Very few professional publications have properly framed the issues that must be dealt with from a cyber perspective.
The days when the Free World’s intelligence community could focus exclusively on a monolithic threat are over. We may be living in the most uncertain security environment since World War II, and threat diversity is a major reason. The varying nature of threats, along with their effective capabilities, are impelling the intelligence community to expand its vision and revamp organizationally.
The U.S. Army has seized on the concept of complexity in warfighting as it faces a multitude of potential threats. Gone are the days when enemies were defined by clear lines, both substantively and operationally. Instead, the Army must be able to operate amid significant force cuts in a dizzying array of environments against widely varied enemies.
The recent hack, reportedly by Chinese sources, of the personnel files belonging to current and past U.S. government employees puts a face on the cyberthreat affecting everyone today—about 4 million faces, if Office of Personnel Management assessments are correct. Yet this hack is just one example of the looming cyberthreat, and while it offers valuable lessons to be learned, it should not serve as the exclusive template for securing networks and data.
Throughout its rich history, the U.S. Marine Corps has developed many significant warfighting concepts that remain valid today. With adjustments for unforeseen new technologies and capabilities, these forward-looking concepts serve the Marine Corps and the nation well.
The amphibious force represented by the Marine Corps offers both a warfighting and a cooperative engagement capability that provides the nation with many broad options across a full spectrum of operations—from humanitarian to diplomatic, through several levels of conflict.
My hope is that the general public at last is beginning to develop a basic understanding of the vulnerabilities the nation faces in cybersecurity. My fear is that, while these vulnerabilities affect the public at large, this developing understanding has not yet integrated itself into the culture and broad practice of cybersecurity. People still tend to view cyber attacks and scams as isolated incidents with little impact. They don’t seem to grasp the pervasiveness of the threat and its accompanying short- and long-term consequences. The result is a continuation of a cavalier attitude toward cyber hygiene on the part of many individuals as well as government, industry and academia.
Today’s intelligence community is facing new challenges. That in and of itself is not new; the community has been evolving for decades. What is new is both the changing nature of the threat and the approach that must be taken to meet it.
At the top of everyone’s solution list is information sharing. As intelligence information is collected, it must be shared among agencies, civilian government organizations, including the law enforcement community, and international partners. And, this information must be accurate and effective, not merely comprehensive.
The topic of critical infrastructure protection has been around for decades. In May 1998, President Bill Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)-63 on the subject of critical infrastructure protection. This represented a decision formally recognizing that key elements of our national infrastructure were critical to national security, the economic vibrancy of the United States and the general well-being of our citizenry. The PDD further highlighted the necessary actions to preserve and ensure the continuity of these critical infrastructures. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W.
The United States acknowledged a long-evolving trend when it initiated the strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. For many years we have needed to place increased emphasis on that vast and dynamic area, and the rebalance has set a course for that important goal. But we are in danger of losing the benefits of the pivot to the Pacific in several ways.
The U.S. military, which has been deployed to defend the nation’s interests for the past 13 years, is facing a new round of cuts, restructuring, refitting and new technology acquisitions. Tactical information technologies, in particular, are on the cusp of upgrades. But the approaches that have worked in the past no longer will work, and the failure to adapt to change could be devastating for the force.
Despite the various associated national security and economic issues emerging worldwide, this can be a time of opportunity. Major challenges often compel bold steps and creative thought, which is why opportunity defines our future. The key is to identify and focus on shaping the appropriate future opportunities. For AFCEA, opportunities abound! AFCEA remains totally dedicated to increasing knowledge through the exploration of issues relevant to its members in information technology, communications and electronics for the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities.
Virtualization and cloud implementation are critical components of information technology planning, acquisition and management going forward. Cloud implementations are important to security, efficiency, effectiveness, cost savings and more pervasive information sharing, particularly among enterprises. Cloud architectures also are extremely important for more effective use of mobile technologies. Mobility increasingly is important, particularly for the military, which needs a full range of information technology services while on the move. Yet increased movement to the cloud, along with traditional uses of spectrum, are putting unprecedented demands on every part of the spectrum.
The world may be more dangerous today than in any period in history. Threats are widespread and diverse. It no longer is enough to watch nation-states. In this period of asymmetric warfare, with the addition of the cyberthreat, almost anyone can become a threat to national security. In this dangerous world, the value of intelligence has risen, and the tools and means of intelligence must be richer than in the past.
Anyone following the progress of the Joint Information Environment (JIE) knows by now that it is not a program of record. No one will see large procurements to provide the JIE. It definitely is a framework: it defines standards and architectures for consistency across the defense environment. It defines a core environment and interfaces for the connection of networks and systems to the core. The JIE leverages initiatives to consolidate networks and data centers, to establish enterprise services and to implement transitional technologies such as cloud implementations, mobility, security solutions, big data and analytics, and the Internet of everything.
Open source intelligence, which is gained from the public domain, is certainly not new. Intelligence professionals have used open sources as long as intelligence has been gathered and utilized. So what is different today? Why is open source intelligence (OSINT) getting more attention and the commitment of more resources?
First, the volume of available open source information has increased dramatically as technology has made the creation and dissemination of content easier. The Internet is the source of much of this growth. Traditional newspapers have been digitized all over the globe.
Even though the Cold War has ended and the monolithic threat against the West has disappeared, the relationship between Europe and the United States remains vital. Europe includes some of the United States’ strongest coalition partners and alliances; the two economies are closely tied and interdependent; and defense and security in Europe are evolving rapidly, just as in the United States. AFCEA chapters and members outside the United States number the greatest in Europe.
This rarely happens, but for 2014, defense and technology analysts are in agreement that big data and cybersecurity are the two drivers in planning and investment for information technology, both in government and in industry. Most everything else will be enabling these two key capabilities. While much attention has been focused on the threats and work being done globally on cybersecurity, I want to focus on big data.
Naval forces represent the ultimate projection capability for the United States. This important capability creates some unique requirements and constraints in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support to the Navy and Marine Corps. The expeditionary nature of these forces drives two distinctive aspects of naval ISR.
First, naval forces must take much of their ISR capability, particularly real-time, with them. Distances and the lack of afloat infrastructure cause virtually all but space-based assets to travel with each expeditionary force. This includes airborne platforms, other sensors and processing resources. Ground-based resources can be accessed only when in port or during some littoral operations.
In the most recent U.S. defense guidance of January 2012, signed for emphasis by both the president and the secretary of defense, cyber was one of the few areas that received both emphasis and increased funding—no small feat in the current budget environment. Part of that emphasis and increased funding goes to the intelligence community to support the cyber domain. Such support requires an expansion of the intelligence mission set, new processes and tools, and new interfaces to the operational community now emerging to command and control the cyber domain.