With the increase of available equipment that connects to the Internet, the military needs to address the associated cybersecurity risks. The Defense Department is lacking a comprehensive strategy of how to harness these so-called IoT devices, which could be based on existing cybersecurity frameworks, advised experts at an October 31 AFCEA Quantico-Potomac Chapter luncheon.
As the U.S. Air Force is working to define operations on the battlefield of the future, sensors or other digitally connected devices will play a key role—as they always have—but on a much larger scale, one expert says. For the military, the world of Internet of Things, or IoT, has to work across the air, land, space and sea domains. And for the Air Force to enable a greater sensor-based environment, it has to tackle data platforms, cloud storage and capabilities, communication infrastructure and its network, says Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief transformation officer.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Cloud Based Internet Isolation prototyping effort is already eliminating cyber threats every day, says Angela Landress, who manages the program commonly known as CBII.
The program uses a little technological sleight of hand to keep non-secure Internet browsing in the secure Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud rather than on the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN). “What comes back from the cloud is actually just a video-like representation of the webpage. There’s nothing executable in it,” Landress explains.
The U.S. Army is looking toward the Internet of Things to reshape the future force for multidomain operations. Faced with the challenge of networking vast amounts of diverse sensors, the service views this type of networking as the solution to greater efficiency combined with increased capability.
Bruce D. Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, emphasizes the importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) approach across the service. “The IoT has the potential to greatly improve and economize the way we will operate as an Army in the future,” he declares.
On the battlefield of the future, warfighters will need to be extraordinarily interconnected to weapon systems in the air, sea, space, land and digital realms. To support operations across these multiple domains, warfighters will have to rely on advanced command and control capabilities and vigorously employ cyber defenses to its weapons and systems.
As the number of electronic devices connected to the Internet grows, so does the security risk and the chance of data exfiltration by adversaries. Warfighters’ use of Internet of Things devices makes the military increasingly vulnerable, experts say. In addition, as the concentration of smart sensors and connected tools widens, the military may not be able to conduct unexpected operations.
My columns so far have centered on various components of modernization and innovation that I think are needed for the U.S. military to reposition itself for success on future battlefields. Emerging technologies, culture, workforce, partnerships—all play critical roles and must be recalibrated for a future that will be increasingly complex and dynamic.
As the Defense Department moves to embrace more innovation, it will change the way our future wars will be fought. Defense planners already are working to understand this in detail, and the vision they have devised is called multidomain operations (MDO).
Defense Industrial Base (DIB) supply chain cyber attacks are more widespread than ever due to multiple vulnerabilities. Government agencies require complete assurance that all entry points to their networks are fully secured. Meanwhile, supply chain vendors struggle with the quandary of how to ensure robust security without large investment dollars and without compromising daily operations.
The DoD Agency Secures Its Supply Chain case study is your comprehensive resource for identifying weaknesses within the supply chain and selecting the best solutions to keep your organization’s data secure.
Five cyber technology firms will vie for top honors as a six-month series of Innovation Showcase competitions reaches its climax on February 27 in Arlington, Virginia. These efforts are part of an ongoing attempt by AFCEA to apply the principle of the popular venture capital television show to bring new technologies to the attention of government organizations seeking vital solutions. Following the cyber technology Innovation Showcase, AFCEA will host another Innovation Showcase at its Small Business Innovation Summit on May 1.
The U.S. Navy is moving beyond evolution into revolution as it plans its information technology for the foreseeable future. Efforts span the reach of existing technologies while keeping room open for new media that may bring dominant emerging capabilities.
Within about 90 days, the Department of the Navy’s data strategy will be drafted and signed out, said Thomas M. Sasala, director of data strategy, Office of the Chief Management Officer, Department of the Navy. He added that the service will adapt the Defense Department data strategy in its implementation plan.
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico, has been awarded a $92,980,000 cost-reimbursement, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Playas Electronic Attack & Cyber Environment research and development. This contract will define, develop and deploy cyber electronic warfare (EW) capabilities for research and development, evaluation, test and training in support of employment of cyber EW effects. DOD reported that the effort would "provide a unique and enduring environment to support Department of Defense assets for the employment of cyber and EW effects." Work will be performed in Playas, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by October 7, 2026.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has created a new Cybersecurity Directorate as a recognition that “the best defense against devastating cyber attacks is to unify as a nation against our threats,” the agency has announced.
Cyber policy traditionally has focused more on enterprise networks than tactical systems, according to Nancy Kreidler, the Army’s new leader for the Cybersecurity and Information Assurance Directorate within the Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6. But new initiatives emphasize cybersecurity in the tactical environment, including networks, weaponry and any other systems used by warfighters.
The U.S. arsenal boasts diverse weapons that share a common cybersecurity challenge: They depend on power generated by U.S. Defense Department or civilian-owned infrastructures that are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attack. Disrupting the availability of these power systems could impact not only the United States’ ability to project U.S. military power globally but also to respond to a domestic attack.
Leaders in multiple military organizations need increased awareness of the dangers that arise from the systems used daily in training, deployment and garrison environments. The attacks these settings face are becoming more advanced and more specific as cyber attackers’ capabilities continue to improve. To mitigate the potential risk to military systems, the networks’ individual components must be identified and understood particularly at a time when component parts are manufactured outside the United States.
A new federal cyber academy aims to help relieve the shortage in skilled cyber workers. The inaugural Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy graduating class demonstrates that individuals with high aptitude and motivation can be successful in technical training and can gain the skills needed to enter the national cybersecurity workforce.
On top of other defenses, the U.S. Air Force is turning to a persistent cybersecurity model to guard its major weapon systems. Led by the Air Combat Command, which took on the service’s Cyber Mission from the Air Force Space Command last year, the service’s integration of cybersecurity includes deploying protective crews to its key airborne platforms and infrastructure.
Given increasing threat levels, the Air Force is employing cybersecurity measures to protect its data, especially to safeguard information that is weather-related and feeds into military decision making. The service is applying mission defense teams, or specialized cybersecurity crews, to safeguard weather intelligence. The cyber mission defense team structure is in action at the 557th Weather Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska.
Foreign countries are likely to continue their cyber-based disinformation campaigns as an inexpensive way of shaping thinking in democracies, according to a panel of experts at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Only a concerted effort by government, the commercial sector and the public can blunt its effects, especially as the 2020 elections loom.
“Disinformation is not the weaponization of knowledge, it’s the weaponization of cognition,” declared Brett Horvath, president, Guardians.ai. “To have a coherent strategy, it has to be built on principles: What are you defending, and what are you attacking?”
The United States is now presenting cyber adversaries with a bill for their malevolent activities. Counter-cyber efforts have joined traditional defensive measures as the intelligence community confronts cybermarauders with greater detection, discovery and prevention.
Several high-ranking intelligence officials described this new tack in combating cyber threats during a panel discussion at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Their observations ranged from election meddling to a potential all-out cyber war.