Cyberwarriors Wrestle to Define 'Convergence'
Major cultural shift sweeps U.S. Army as leaders demand cybersecurity
TechNet Augusta 2015
The SIGNAL Magazine Show Daily
Convergence was the buzzword du jour as leaders outlined major changes to sweep the U.S. Army in efforts to shore up cyber weaknesses following a year of high-profile breaches and hacks that stunned the Defense Department. It is part of a cultural change that will have several military disciplines working together and removing the divides that have kept the intelligence community from working closely with signal commands, electronic warfare, cyber and information operations.
“I’m going to describe the big idea, which is cyber is a team sport,” Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Georgia, said Tuesday during the kickoff of AFCEA International’s third annual TechNet Augusta conference in Georgia.
Three areas will command his attention this year: “It’s about changing the culture, and we know how hard that is; it’s about constructing our campus, because the facilities are important … and then driving convergence,” said Gen. Fogarty, who also addressed budgetary constraints. “If we don’t get the resources, it’s just another great idea that frankly will not deliver.”
Convergence is the theme of this year’s conference, taking place in Augusta from August 25 to 27. Cyberwarriors must be trained to protect Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) operations, among the most critical the Defense Department conducts, Gen. Fogarty assessed. “It’s the foundational capability for the joint force in the way that America fights wars. … We have to assure access for everyone, from the enterprise level down to the rifleman radio.”
“We provide intel support to the defense and to the offense for the full range of military operations. Where is our intel support to DODIN operations?” Gen. Fogarty said, citing an example. “That convergence is vitally important. Then, we not only have to do it for our own use, we want to be able to deny that same space to our adversaries. We have to do that simultaneously.”
Without the DODIN, there would be no mission command, no intelligence, no surveillance and reconnaissance, no logistics or telemedicine, he listed. “What I’m telling you is, the things we’ve taken for granted over the last 14 years[of conflict] are increasingly at risk,” Gen. Fogarty warned. “The environment is much more congested. It’s much more contested and there are a lot of unknowns out there. We will not be able to accurately predict where we are going to deploy. We will not be able to accurately predict what the environment is going to be once we get there. It’s the network that gives us tremendous capabilities. And I think it’s at risk.
“Information dominance is our decisive edge,” Gen. Fogarty continued.
Too many of today’s military roles and responsibilities are fragmented, leading to inefficiencies that will stymie convergence success, said keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, USA, commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Command. “We haven’t made the mental leap to break down the stovepipes that exist within the information environment and between the information environment and the operational environment.”
“Convergence is not any one phenomenon,” Gen. Cardon said. “It’s actually a disruption. The idea of convergence breeds the idea of disruption—disruption of domains, the collapsing of jurisdictions … the redefining of core competencies. I mean, how hard can this really be?”
“Hard,” he answered. “Really hard. And that’s why convergence is so resisted.”
The smartphone is one manifestation of a convergence that enveloped an emerging technology several years ago, Gen. Cardon offered. “It’s a phone. It’s a watch. It’s a map. It’s a camera. It’s a recorder. It’s a flashlight. You can play games. You can read books. You can listen to the radio or watch TV. You can access your bank account. You can connect to the Internet from all over the world.”
Imagine, however, if private businesses that developed today’s smartphones were hamstrung by the stovepiped bureaucracy that stymies much of the process today in the Defense Department. “We may lose the war of ideas in this convergence because we’re trapped by our current operational” mindset that limits the sharing of ideas and mission sets among the impacted disciplines, Gen. Cardon said. “As far as we’ve come over this past decade, I still think we’re near the beginning of what’s truly possible.”
Gen. Cardon coined the new term of one of the future threats the nation must guard against: hyper asymmetric war. What is it? It’s a “single person destroying a city’s infrastructure and social fabric with a laptop.”
The military’s effort toward this new convergence must fall under one organization to execute all operations and better integrate cyber information operations with electronic warfare, signals and related intelligence functions, Gen. Cardon continued. “Cyberspace operations rely on the integration of [the disciplines], however all of these critical functions receive direction from many different stakeholders in the Army, and all have different purposes and different missions. This divergence of responsibilities … increases our vulnerabilities through a lack of coordination, collaboration and control.”
“We’re at an important juncture in the Army, of which we have a great opportunity to update how we achieve operational convergence,” Gen. Cardon offered. “And the good news, this isn’t insurmountable.”