Reporter's notebook -- LandWarNet 2008

LandWarNet 2008 began on the evening of Aug. 18 in the shadow of Tropical Storm Fay. But as Fay moved north, the rays of sunshine that followed complemented the illumination of ideas in the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

More than 5,600 general officers, command sergeant majors, Army personnel, Senior Executive Service officials and industry executives attended this year’s event, breaking records for attendance and show exhibitors. A video teleconference with Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and a presentation by Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of the Strategic Command, highlighted the keynote sessions. This year’s conference featured several themes, such as defining the battle domain, building the military enterprise and securing data. Here is a roundup of the most interesting comments made about those subjects.

“The essence of the enterprise approach is people being able to accept common standards, which is better for everybody. Also, getting everybody to accept the notion that they don’t have to control the data in order to take advantage of it.”
— Gen. George Casey, Army Chief of Staff

“The cyber domain is not special, it’s like any other domain. The thing that separates this domain from the others is that it operates at the speed of light. It’s not so unique that we don’t treat it like a warfighting domain that can be operated in, through and across, where we can deliver effects, and which can be supported by operations from other domains.”
— Gen. Kevin Chilton, Strategic Command Commander

“In the first Gulf War, commanders became networked; today, commanders are network-dependent.”
— Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence, commanding general of the Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command

“Our information-sharing enterprise is not about control, it is about partnership. We are in the midst of learning how to yield national power in a way we’ve never done before, specifically stability operations. As a result, we need to optimize for the unknown. It is about understanding how to move and share information. It is not just connecting with people, but helping them with the ability to make a decision.”
— Rear Adm. Elizabeth Hight, acting director of the Defense Information Systems Agency

“The enemy is not coming through the wall jack, they’re coming through the electromagnetic spectrum. Our solutions aren’t working holistically on the whole problem because we don’t have a full description of what cyber is.”
— Col. Wayne Parks, director of the Army Computer Network Operations-Electronic Warfare Proponents

“My sense is that the hardest issue we have in cyberspace is operating the network. In this domain the hardest thing will be to fight through the attack. No defense is perfect and we will be attacked successfully, and how we fight through that will be vital to our success on the battlefield.”
— Gen. Kevin Chilton

“To do what we want, the network must take the soldier from home station to training to operations and back, while maintaining the same identity and getting the soldier the information needed. It’s never been done to this level before.”
— Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence

“We continue to be confounded today with hardware and software integration in the field.”
— Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army’s chief information officer

“It’s easy to get caught up in the hooah. It’s easy to get caught up in Army. Here’s the challenge, regardless of uniform: How do we optimize for all the services and come together to achieve a national goal?”
— Rear Adm. Elizabeth Hight

“The networking challenge is that e-mail addresses are always changing, telephone numbers change, collaborative tools change, and file storage systems change. What you have is a constant adjustment and reconfiguration of everything that takes place. “The ideal end state is universal e-mail, one telephone number, universal file storage and a standard collaboration tool set ... you want something like a BlackBerry.”
— Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson

“We are a [continental United States]-based Army; its relevance will be defined by responsiveness, and an expeditionary capability makes that possible.”
— Brig. Gen. Brian Donahue, director of the Army Global Network Operations and Security Center

“You have to be worried about the consumer of information. If you’re just worried about development of a [Future Combat System] capability for the Army, then shame on you. You should be worried about how FCS can work with information sources from many different sensors regardless of what service fielded the sensor. It’s about consuming the information from an FCS standpoint, not about how you develop the sources of that information. What I’m talking about is thinking about something that is much larger than ourselves.”
— Rear Adm. Elizabeth Hight

“There’s a huge exfiltration of data, data that when pieced together can be detrimental to the United States of America, even when it comes from unclassified systems. The one thing that scares me the most is the doubt created in the force about its ability to trust in the data in the network.”
— Gen. Kevin Chilton

“We are not doing well securing our NIPRnet; we’re doing well with securing SIPRnet, but we do not have a robust NIPRnet system. It is a sieve. Commanders must treat the network with the same level of security that they put elsewhere.”
— Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence

“We need to make defense of our network commander’s business. It’s not just the J6 or G6 or N6 business. People need to be held accountable. If you open a vulnerability in our network, are there consequences for that? When was the last time someone was called before the commander’s office, not the G6’s office, about opening a vulnerability? We need to teach people how to use the network and then hold them accountable.”
— Gen. Kevin Chilton

“Defense in depth is a crucial concept in securing information assets. It’s a proactive approach to thinking about security from the inside out. The best available information assurance products have inherent weaknesses; it is only a matter of time before an adversary will find and exploit a vulnerability. An effective countermeasure is to deploy multiple defense mechanisms between the adversary and his target. Each of these defenses must present unique obstacles to the adversary. Each should include protection and detection measures and complement while not duplicating each other. Defense in depth is a process, not a product. Security continues to be an ongoing process. Constant vigilance and user awareness play equally important roles in building the best security posture for the enterprise network.”
— Lt. Col. Glenn Herrin, the Army Network Operations and Security Center’s deputy commander

“First and foremost, never believe that you’ll be 100 percent accurate in addressing all [information assurance] threats. You want to look at IA for individual components and applications, the network it must work over and all devices it must work with. Often we’ve seen that IA is only focused on one aspect of that triad.”
— Don Renner, CACI International’s vice president of enterprise technologies and service

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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