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Constant Activity Defines Cyber Operations

Partnerships are key to staying atop cybersecurity needs.

Saying, “The moment we are in is urgent,” Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, USA, commander, U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and National Security Agency director, issued a call to action for all members of the cyber community to work in partnership to counter the constantly growing threat posed by all manner of malevolent cyber actors. Noting that CYBERCOM’s strategy is persistent engagement, Gen. Nakasone emphasized that cyber operations are changing the nature of warfare in all realms.

Gen. Nakasone’s remarks launched AFCEA’s TechNet Cyber 2023, held in Baltimore May 2-4. Titled “The Urgency of Action: Focused, Aligned and Ready,” the conference and exposition is focusing on the collaboration necess.ary to maintain effective cyber vigilance in all corners of the information realm.

Noting that “We are seeing a changing character of warfare,” Gen. Nakasone cited China as a pacing challenge and Russia as an acute threat. The nature of warfare, including kinetic actions, has been changed by cyber operations. CYBERCOM’s strategic approach is “persistent engagement,” he continued, and this requires cooperation among a diverse set of partners. 

“Campaign success requires connective tissues—partnerships,” he declared.

The general explained how the persistent engagement strategy addressed the need for focus, alignment and readiness in the Ukraine conflict. “Our response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine is an example of how our focus, alignment and readiness significantly impacted the resilience of our partners and allies,” Gen. Nakasone offered. “We were focused on the threat in the region.” Additionally, the National Guard’s hunt forward operations provided vital intelligence, information and insight. 

“We were aligned with our partners,” he continued. “We had paths of communications. We had developed relationships. There was a bond of trust and confidence. We were ready, and our readiness allowed us the speed and the agility to push the impact of that readiness beyond the norm—intelligence sharing that shaped the conflict and bolstered our partners.”

These actions serve as an example of CYBERCOM’s strategy in operation. “At our core is readiness,” the general said. “[That] requires hard work up front—strategy, authorities, capability and talent.” He added that recognizing talent today is just as important as technology, and talent must be actively cultivated. He pointed out that the Guard is a force multiplier with which alignment is a key part of CYBERCOM’s mission.

“We must move fast but maintain endurance,” Gen. Nakasone posited. “Urgency of action should not be hasty, but rather deliberative and thoughtful, executed by a focused and talented workforce that leverages the strengths we have developed by aligning effectively with strategy and partners and executing with the ready force.”