Information Warfare Convergence Requires Services’ Coordination
The Defense Department provides guidance and oversight in unfamiliar territory
The U.S. Defense Department is providing the strategic template for cyber progress, which the military services must implement according to their own priorities and requirements. However, not all the parameters are sharply defined, and the department is responsible to Congress for ensuring that money is spent wisely and goals are met.
The department must determine “adequacy” as it reviews individual service cyber plans, and it is up to the department to explain to Congress where there is an inadequacy and why. This issue was described by Maj. Gen. Dennis A. Crall, USMC, deputy principal cyber advisor and senior military advisor for cyber policy, to an audience at an AFCEA NOVA Chapter luncheon on January 9.
“We have to understand exactly what investments are made and if they are the right ones,” the general offered. “We have a lot of work to do in accountability, and we are doing it.”
Gen. Crall noted that this is part of the new focus on cyber warfare empowered by the 2018 Cyber Strategy. Several separate disciplines are coming together as the military girds for a future battlespace defined by information operations.
“The convergence into information warfare is already on,” he stated.
One of the key elements of an effective cyber force is personnel, and Gen. Crall described how the department is innovating how it recruits and retains people with the skills needed for cyber operations. The department is incorporating new ways of incentivizing the workforce, including greater options for cyber experts. It is working to close the pay gap between the military and the private sector. This would entail improved compensation for people who come in with specific skill sets, as the department does for doctors and lawyers. “Congress has truly empowered us to do this,” the general pointed out.
He said that Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, USA, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, has been “finally able to connect the dots on what cyber forces are.” This is vital for constructing a cyber force comprising the necessary expertise for today’s cyber environment.
“We have for the first time defined what a cyber professional is,” Gen. Crall declared.