Risk Management Key to Future Coalition Networks

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Individual commanders ultimately may be responsible for determining information sharing.

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.”

The general noted that interconnected and coalition networks multiply the cyberthreat significantly. The risk acceptance approach has resulted in increased dependencies and obligations between nations, and this will continue.

This cultural shift also will alter battlespace command and control. As different nations become more connected—especially with nontraditional partners—commanders at all levels will be more involved with the risk of sharing information, Gen. Milford offered. Accordingly, the risk a commander is willing to take to achieve his broader goals increases in importance.

“Technical connectivity is easy,” the general stated. ”Harder issues are information management and real-time monitoring and reporting. We don’t do those well.”

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