The nation’s critical infrastructure and industrial-control systems have become such potential high-value targets for terrorists that their vulnerability threatens the fabric of society. And, as they increase in both importance and vulnerability, these systems cannot be protected using conventional information security measures.
Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.
The U.S. Defense Department launched a new competition to promote cybersecurity education and training in the nation’s military service academies. Beginning last November, the three service academies created teams to compete in the Service Academy Cyber Stakes, which culminated in a major interschool event held over the weekend of February 1-2 at the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh.
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 emergence of big data combined with the revolution in sensor technology is having a synergistic effect that promises a boom in both realms. The ability to fuse sensor data is spurring the growth of large databases that amass more information than previously envisioned. Similarly, the growth of big data capabilities is spawning new sensor technologies and applications that will feed databases’ ever-increasing and diverse types of information.
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.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building on the success of the initial round of its Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative by expanding the program in 2014. Officials launched the second installment earlier this academic year, opening to a wider audience with more opportunities at an increased number of agencies.
The U.S. Defense Department has launched a contest to push the boundaries of software development with the goal of creating programs that can analyze, diagnose and repair flaws they detect in computer networks. The Cyber Grand Challenge, managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will see teams from industry, academia and the private sector develop software programs and compete against one another in a series of competitions in 2016 for a $2 million prize.
The network-centric U.S. Navy could find itself without its core information assets during a conflict in the vast Asia-Pacific region. So, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is embarking on an effort to learn how to function without some of its most important technology capabilities.
Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, outlined that scenario on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Adm. Harris said the fleet is planning for operation in a disconnected, intermittent, low-bandwidth environment, or DIL.
TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013: Online Show Daily, Day 3
Quote of the Day:
“The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’”—Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer
Defense spending must shift its outlook away from what it needs and toward where it can afford not to spend money, according to a Navy information technology executive. Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, told the breakfast audience at the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the department must become more outcome focused and determine the risk of not doing something.
“The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’” Halvorsen stated.
Reductions in defense funding are having a greater effect on the force than simply instilling fiscal belt-tightening. Already strapped for cash, the services are exploring innovative ideas for cost-efficient information technology acquisition.
Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, discussed the effect of the budget cuts at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Halvorsen observed that, while each of the military departments is in a different information technology environment, all of the staffs in the services are taking corresponding cuts. “We will have to communicate more effectively,” he offered. ”We won’t have less work.”
The move to the cloud that is gripping all elements of government and industry offers great potential for the U.S. Navy, according to its chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen told the breakfast audience on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the move to the cloud is one of the best areas for gaining effect in Navy information technology.
However, other elements must fall into place for this move to be successful. Halvorsen said it must be but it must be coupled “with how you look at and structure applications,” adding the Navy has too many applications.
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
The revolutionary nature of cyberspace pales in comparison to the dynamic differences that characterize its work force. Not only do younger workers have different professional goals than their progenitors, but also same-generation technology-savvy workers may have varying outlooks on how to innovate and exploit new capabilities.
A Wednesday panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, wrestled with the challenges facing leaders in cyber fields. Senior Master Sgt. Torry Hickson, USAF, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Pacific, stated that an organization dealing with cyber needs a mix of young and old people. This will combine leadership built of wisdom with an innovative spirit with technology knowledge.