The last 10 years brought huge changes to information technology (IT) and the next decade will bring many more, according to Dr. Pradeep Sindhu, vice chairman, chief technology officer and founder of Juniper Networks. "[We are] in a world where networking is playing an increasingly important part of IT," he stated during his presentation at the 2012 Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference.
Cloud computing and security were the hot topics during the first full day of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference. Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the agency, said efforts are ongoing to synch different cloud efforts within the U.S. Defense Department and the intelligence community. He also stated that DISA is tucked in tightly behind the department's chief information officer in the cloud arena. In a presentation immediately following the general's, AT&T's Chief Security Officer Edward Amoroso touted cloud as a way to improve cybersecurity.
This morning, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), saved everyone the trouble of asking by quickly stating the worries that keep him up at night. The combination of Moore's Law regarding technology advancement every 18 months, Metcalfe's Law stating that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of its connected users and Downe's Law of Disruption is his primary concern, he stated during the opening address of the 2012 DISA Mission Partner Conference. The final law states that though technology changes exponentially, social, political and economic systems change incrementally.
Your network is not secure and your firewalls are blocking nothing. That scary statement was a key message of Dr. Edward Amoroso, chief security officer of AT&T, during his address this morning at the 2012 DISA Mission Partner Conference. "When it comes to cybersecurity we are way out of balance," he stated. He shared that in the last few weeks botnet attacks have seen a dramatic increase, but security professionals cannot confirm which attacks come from two kids in a basement and which might originate from hostile militaries trying to steal specific information. Without that knowledge, the private sector often doesn't know if it should pass collected intelligence to the government.
One of the most critical pieces of the U.S. Army's Baseline Information Technology Services (ABITS) effort is measuring data, including customer satisfaction data, said Brig. Gen. Frederick Henry, USA, deputy commanding general of the service's Network Enterprise Technology Command. Gen. Henry made the remarks while addressing the audience at TechNet Land Forces Southwest 2012 in Tucson, Arizona.
The U.S. military needs to develop a career field that will encompass the entire career of cyber warriors, said LTC Gregory Conti, USA, who directs the Cyber Research Center at the U.S. Military Academy.
"We need to create a career field from private all the way through general officer," Col. Conti suggested at the TechNet Land Forces conference in Tucson, Arizona. He added that cyber is not just a two or three-year assignment and that cyber warriors need to know they have a future in the military. Furthermore, military members with cyber expertise need to have leaders with greater expertise, and the military must grow those leaders.
When the hacker activist group Anonymous broke into Booz Allen Hamilton's networks and stole thousands of email addresses, the company was embarrassed, and that's exactly what Anonymous wanted, said Joseph Mahaffee, the company's chief information officer.
In the intelligence business, it's common for people to think everything is all about the data, when really it's about getting the data to the warfighter, said Phillip Chudoba, assistant director of intelligence for the U.S. Marine Corps, at AFCEA's TechNet Land Forces Southwest 2012.
Mike Krieger, deputy chief information officer for the U.S. Army, told the audience at TechNet Land Forces Southwest 2012 on Wednesday that he had hoped to provide them with the URL for the Army's report to Congress concerning Enterprise Email.
Congress had asked the Army to review the Enterprise Email approach to "see if it is the right thing to do." The report has to be approved by the secretary of the Army, but it has not quite reached his desk as of March 28. Krieger said he hopes to be able to provide the report very soon.
Government may have been in the slow lane to accept social media as a viable conduit for sharing information, but agencies are now coordinating their efforts to ensure messages going out to the public can be trusted. Members of a panel discussing its uses at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference said the technologies that facilitate ubiquitous communications among the public are merely another change in generations of changes. The key is that the same principles that govern reliable news reports and privacy and civil liberties protections apply whether the public is depending on newspapers, broadcast, Facebook, Skype or Twitter, they agreed.
In a time when government agencies and industry must tighten their belts, it may be a cloak that saves the security day. While discussing best practices in securing the cloud at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference, panelist Tim Kelleher, vice president of professional services, BlackRidge Technology, shared details about his company's approach to stopping cybermarauders in their recon tracks. The technique is called cloaking, and Kelleher used caller ID to describe how his company's solution could improve cybersecurity not only in future environments but in current networks as well.
Amazing anecdotes kept the audience entertained during the lunch session at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference. The experts spoke about a serious subject: cyberwar. But the stories about their hands-on experiences in learning how to fight cyberwars, how they've fought cyberthreats and what they believe is needed to prepare future cyberwarriors kept conference attendees enthralled. Among the panelists was Maj. T.J. O'Connor, USA, 10th Special Forces Group (A), S-6. While attending the U.S. Military Academy, Maj. O'Connor had some time on his hands that led him to learn how best to defeat cyberattacks.
Although not claiming victory, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made some serious headway in improving cybersecurity, according to panelists discussing the topic at the DHS 2012 Information Technology Industry Day in Washington, D.C. Experts said the threats have not disappeared but rather have changed, and various DHS agencies have been learning how to better handle them. Alma Cole, chief systems security officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, described today's cyberthreats in a way the other panelists agreed with.
China and the United States are hindered in their efforts to build trust by cultural differences that exacerbate misunderstandings between the two nations. A panel of China experts at West 2012 in San Diego outlined several unintentionally contentious areas between the Pacific powers, but it did not have solutions for all of the challenges. Vice Adm. John M. Bird, USN, director of Navy Staff and former commander of the Seventh Fleet, said that China and many in Asia view the world differently than the United States does, especially when it comes to values. "We fall victim at our peril when we try to apply our mindset to them," he warned. "For example, our idea of deterrence is their idea of containment.
Support for naval operations is not unusual among U.S. Navy officials, but Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work made a cogent argument that the 21st century will be the maritime century. Speaking at the Thursday morning plenary address at West 2012 in San Diego, Work explained that the need for global reach mandates a strong and versatile maritime force, and the U.S. Navy is being structured to meet future challenges. Work stated that the center of gravity of the new defense strategy is a true maritime strategy. New basing agreements extend the Navy's reach and provide support for a plethora of potential missions.
Enemies attacking in cyberspace and budget cutters slashing defense programs are the premier threats to the U.S. military, according to a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Adm. Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), warned a luncheon audience at West 2012 in San Diego that cyber is an existential threat to the nation. "We don't have many existential threats any more; cyber is one," he said, adding, "I understand that the enemy is as good as we are." The other significant threat to the U.S. military is possible budget sequestration cuts. Adm. Mullen described the current budget crunch as "a long time coming." He and other planners saw the potential problem looming nine years ago.
Despite looming budget cuts, the ability to provide information to the individuals conducting operations is a priority. Fielding technology fast is not only essential, but can help ownership costs, according to Pat Sullivan, a representative of the program executive office, command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (PEOC4I) addressing a standing-room only crowd at the SPAWAR theatre during West 2012. The kind of work done within SPAWAR will take less of a cut proportionally than rest of Defense Department, he said. But he added that industry needs to pull together to reduce configurations.
The future of U.S. Navy shipbuilding may depend on savings realized elsewhere in the sea service, according to a panel at West 2012 in San Diego. With shipbuilding constituting only about 10 percent of the Navy budget, other cost savings may be necessary for the Navy to build the ships it needs to meet new strategic realities. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in naval affairs with the Congressional Research Service, urged the Navy to cut costs in other areas while applying smart procurement lessons to shipbuilding. Traditional lessons include having requirements up front, managing risk by not trying to do too much, accepting 70-80 percent solutions and providing stability for industry.
The U.S. Defense Department will "do its part" to bring the U.S. fiscal house in order, said a member of the Joint Staff. Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, director, the Joint Staff, said that the nation's financial crisis is a "strategic vulnerability" for which the department must join the rest of the country in belt tightening. "We need to do two things: spend less and bring in more revenue," the admiral declared in the kickoff address at West 2012 in San Diego. He noted that after World War II ended, the huge national debt built up by that conflict was largely owned by the American people. Now, however, foreign nations own a substantial amount of existing debt.
Where the 20th century was the age of airpower, the 21st century will be the age of cyberpower, according to the U.S. Air Force's chief information officer (CIO). Lt. Gen. William T. Lord, USAF, told the closing keynote luncheon audience that the growth in cyberspace's importance is outstripping even its own metrics for progress. What he referred to as "Android's Law" has accelerated Moore's Law when it comes to change. Mobile devices are driving a global cultural change, he offered, and that change is breaching barriers and crossing into new territory. For example, social media was the tipping point in recent revolutions, the general pointed out.