Warfighting Capabilities Hinge on Cyber Security

October 26, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Cyberspace is the key to successful military operations, and leaders are not focusing on the right aspects to secure it from adversaries, according to a U.S. Navy fleet commander. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet, stated that a denial of U.S. military cyber capabilities would cripple U.S. forces to the extent that they would not be able to conduct operations effectively. Speaking before a luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Adm. Hunt emphasized the importance of cyber in the U.S. military. "Cyber is the key spot in virtually every warfighting discussion and planning I've been in since I got to Third Fleet," he declared. "But, the focus now is on computers over comms, and that's a problem." Forces need to pay attention to information delivery, which is where the worst vulnerabilities lie. Information technology-based systems depend on uninterrupted data delivery, without which "we're in big trouble," the admiral said. Most weapons rely on global positioning system guidance, without which they will not work. And, many types of systems rely on reachback for logistics and maintenance. "If it's disrupted, we'll be in worse shape than we were a decade or two ago," Adm. Hunt stated. The knowledge base to make proper network decisions resides more in industry than in the military, he offered. Directing his remarks to industry, the admiral called for teaming between the private sector and the military. "Your active help is requested," he said.

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