Settling Cyber Differences

September 11, 2014
By George I. Seffers
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Military officials will attempt to reach agreement on critical cyber issues.

Senior military leaders will try next week to hash out differences on the command and control (C2) of the Joint Information Enterprise, or JIE, said Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, USA, director, command, control, communications and computers/cyber and chief information officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Bowman made the remarks while addressing the audience at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2014 conference, Augusta, Georgia.

He reported that several major players have “come back with critical nonconcurs,” on the C2 construct of the future network. They are Central Command, Pacific Command, Northern Command, the Army, Marine Corps and the National Security Agency. “We will adjudicate those issues this coming week. Not everybody’s going to be happy, not everyone’s going to change,” Gen. Bowman said. “We need to do this right, and we need to do it now. We need to have this C2 construct, how we’re going to run the network, decided and implemented no later than first quarter, fiscal year 2015.”

Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, who leads both U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, is pushing for that implementation in early 2015, and so are the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the deputy secretary of defense, Gen. Bowman reported.

On the one hand, the general indicated officials cannot be blamed for disagreeing. He compared the C2 construct with altering the borders of an area of responsibility for one of the major regional commands. Such a move would inspire vigorous debate, he indicated. “This C2 construct is redefining every single boundary for every single area of responsibility. It’s one network. It spans the globe. And it needs to be treated as an enterprise.” On the other hand, no one actually owns bits and pieces of the network, he said. “People think that they own their portion of the network,” he said, specifying the combatant commands, the military services and the agencies. “They are stewards of the Defense Department Network. They don’t own it. They need to run it the right way, and everybody needs to be pulling the oars in the same direction at the same time for us to get where we need to go.”

Officials also are working hard to resolve security issues for the entire Defense Department network, in large part by eliminating existing servers, or stacks, and installing joint regional security stacks. “There are thousands of security stacks out there today, and really what they do is slow us down and provide vectors for the bad guys. We don’t need thousands of them. We need something like 50 or 100,” Gen. Bowman said. “We need that improved cybersecurity and resiliency associated with security stacks. They all run to a standard. They allow us to have end-to-end visibility. We need to implement those globally, and we need to do it soon.”

He added that having one set of standards for the entire network will provide end-to-end visibility and allow the use of big data analytics to recognize anomalous behavior on the network. The general also said officials are working to find funding for the enterprise. The bill associated with what the Army wanted to do was about $765 million, he said, clarifying that the money is not just for security stacks, but also for improved infrastructure.

“We have the information superhighway running all over the United States, and when we get to some posts, camps and stations, we’ve got third-world connections. We need to fix that,” Gen. Bowman stated. The infrastructure is important because the military is now primarily based in the continental United States. “We need to be able to connect, train and share from home station,” he said.

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