The U.K. Royal Navy has re-established itself as a world-class force in the area of maritime air defense through the launch of its new destroyers, the most advanced ships the British ever have sent to sea. The latest of the vessels recently returned from its maiden deployment, proving not only the capabilities of its class but also its own flexibility and adaptability.
Homeland security officials are battling privacy and technology issues amid the new social media era that offers both challenges and opportunities. Just as new technologies and information sharing architectures have improved interagency data sharing, new sources of potentially valuable information have emerged to vex planners who must handle technical obstacles and personal rights.
Europe’s defense markets have been contracting for the past decade because of the continent’s financial crisis and national priorities shifting away from military spending. But while fewer tanks and fighter jets are being acquired, money is being spent on modernizing computers and communications equipment—a trend that will continue into the foreseeable future, according to an industry analyst.
NATO’s efforts to defend against terrorism now are focusing on cyberspace as a tool of terrorists instead of merely as a vulnerability for striking at alliance nations and their critical infrastructure. These efforts cover aspects of cyber exploitation that range from understanding terrorists’ behavior to how they might use social media.
West 2014 Online Show Daily, Day 1
Quote of the Day:
“If Batman had a ship, it would look like the Zumwalt-class destroyer.”—Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The budget reductions that will be a fact of military life for the foreseeable future promise to impel dramatic changes in force structure and military operations. Ongoing needs such as high technology and overseas commitments offer the possibility of being both challenges and solutions, as planners endeavor to plan around a smaller but, hopefully, more capable force.
All the challenges vexing a modern military—budgetary limitations; information technologies; cyber; and joint and coalition interoperability—are defining operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Covering more than half the Earth’s surface and comprising dozens of nations, the vast area is rife with geopolitical rivalries that complicate efforts at regional security. And, the one domain that knows no geographic bounds—cyberspace—weighs heavily on the success of potential warfighting operations in that region.
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has updated its maritime joint command and control guidance, reflecting changing practices across the fleet. Although the rewrite is part of regularly scheduled reviews, the timing is apt for world conditions. U.S. attention is moving east to a far more watery environment than the one the country has focused on for the last dozen or more years, and contentions among nations for waterway control continue to mount in areas such as the East China Sea.
The success of Operation Damayan, the massive Philippines typhoon relief effort by the U.S. Pacific Command, owes as much to preparation as to execution, according to a U.S. official involved in the operation. Military communications equipment designed for easy entry and quick activation provided essential networking capabilities. Longtime multinational and bilateral exercises laid the groundwork for interoperability, both technological and organizational, between U.S. and Philippine armed forces. Commercial technologies, such as local cell systems that survived the storm, proved invaluable for onsite communications. And, U.S.
U.S. Navy officials expect to award a full-deployment contract for a new shipboard network this spring, and they plan to install the system on nine ships this year. The network provides commonality across the fleet, replacing multiple aging networks, improving interoperability and driving down costs.
A set of rapid entry communications systems formed the core of networking assets for U.S. military forces providing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations in the Philippines in the wake of the devastating November typhoon. These systems provided scalable links that allowed U.S. forces to interoperate with the Philippine government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in sharing unclassified information.
The retrograde of equipment from Afghanistan requires a monumental effort after almost 13 years of war and an influx of billions of dollars’ worth of materiel to the country. To return the necessary pieces along with personnel from the landlocked location, logisticians around the military are developing creative solutions that offer redundancy. Plans are progressing more smoothly than in Iraq, as experts apply lessons learned and a hub-and-spoke model that allows for a controlled collapsing of installations.
AFCEA Europe’s TechNet International 2013, held at the Lisbon Congress Center, Portugal, on October 23 and 24, was organized under the patronage of the minister of national defense, Portugal, in cooperation with the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency and with the support of the AFCEA Portugal Chapter. This event, which was run under the theme “Go Connected + Go Smart = Zero Distance,” brought together more than 300 experts from NATO, government, academia and industry.
The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Enterprise (JIE) promises to be the core of force networking, and it will be at the heart of coalition interoperability. An approach to networking allies and nontraditional partners in the JIE may loom in social media.
Establishing communities of interest within the JIE was broached by Randy Cieslak, chief information officer, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Cieslak cited the concept during a panel discussion he was moderating on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Effective cybersecurity ultimately will depend on the ability of nations with shared interests to form coalitions that influence the development of international rules and regulations, according to Internet security experts. A lively Wednesday panel on cyberspace at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, explored the broad ramifications of cyberspace security on a global scale.
Scott Dewar, the Australian consulate general in Honolulu, warned of letting others define the Internet. Australia believes the openness of the Internet is “a libertarian force for good,” he said, adding “we need to be building like-minded coalitions” to obtain results that work in cybersecurity.
The biggest impediment to effective cybersecurity may be the national laws that underpin freedom in the most technologically advanced democracies. These laws not only provide cybermarauders with hiding places, they also prevent global law enforcement from pursuing them as they prey on unknowing victims around the world.
International experts seeking to cooperate in cybersecurity measures often do not even realize how cultural issues are hampering their efforts, according to a top cybersecurity expert. Even when negotiating with friends, they often do not understand the thought processes brought to the table by their foreign partners.
South Korea has developed a national policy and program that brings government and the private sector together in a coordinated effort. This thrust, which emerged from two serious cyber attacks earlier this year, aims to have several key measures in place by 2017.
Walter Paik, Republic of Korea consul general in Honolulu, told a panel audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that major cyber attacks in March and June had significant effects in the television sector and in commercial and government sites. Millions of citizens had data stolen, so the Korean government set out on a new approach.
TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 Online Show Daily: Day 2
Quote of the Day:
“You may have to make the job fun. What motivated me to get where I am today is not necessarily what will motivate the leaders of tomorrow.”—Cindy Moran, director, network services, Defense Information Systems Agency
An evolving mission network connecting U.S. and Australian forces is being expanded to include other trusted allies with an eye toward adding coalition partner nations. The network is built around a risk-managed approach for sensitive information sharing.
Known as Pegasus, the network expands on the two nations’ Improved Connectivity Initiative (ICI). Maj. Gen. Mike J. Milford, Australia Military, chief technology officer, Chief Information Officer Group of the Australian Department of Defence, outlined details of the network to the Wednesday breakfast audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Now that allied forces have accepted coalitions as a requisite for future military operations, they must undergo a cultural sea change for cybersecurity. Accepting nontraditional partners demands a new way of viewing cybersecurity that entails greater flexibility at its most philosophical level.
“We have realized the value of fighting on a single network instead of multiple networks,” said Maj. Gen. Mike J. Milford, Australia Military, chief technology officer, Chief Information Officer Group of the Australian Department of Defence, at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. “Now, we are moving from a risk averse approach to a risk management approach.”