Army formulates strategic plan for cyber component

Framework for Army Cyber Command heavy on recruiting and training

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated Aug. 25, 2011, to reflect a correction in the first quote by Col. Tom Goss.

The Army is putting together a strategic plan for its cyber component, and according to one top official, it involves an approach that blends traditional military values with the evolving requirements of high-tech warfare.

"To defend and advance our national interests, the Army must balance required capabilities. We need the four P's: prevail, prevent, prepare and preserve our all-volunteer force," said Col. Tom Goss, chief of the Army Cyber Command's strategic initiatives group. "We have to be looking at this as sensing and mitigating adversarial action at machine speed."

Much of the broader Defense Department’s recently released Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace focuses on proactive measures, something Goss also stressed in the need for preventative measures in Army cyber operations.

“We have to focus not only on prevailing in conflict, but also we have to put the same focus on preventing and deterring conflict,” Goss said.

Preparations must include a major boost in training, said Goss, who added that that the Army must build up its cyber intelligence based on a network of visualized activity, both friendly and enemy, that enhances situational awareness and improves training.

That preparedness also requires a shift in cultural thinking, he said.

“We need to change the culture. We need to [shift] from viewing the network as a service to viewing the network as a domain that is contested by active adversaries,” Goss said.

That increased focus on training could contribute to the preservation of the all-volunteer Army, and will be critical when combined with aggressive efforts to draw in scores of future cyber warriors.

“We need to look at this as something that needs to be built up through recruitment and leadership to develop a competitive cyber workforce. ... We have to embrace the idea that these people have to be recruited, likely in a specialized manner and likely in numbers that right now we don’t think possible,” Goss said.

Goss said the strategic plan is up for discussion Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 at the Army Cyber Command's Commanders' Conference, with revisions and staffing expected in September and rollout slated for October. He said the plan will be presented and displayed at the Association for the United States Army conference in October in Washington. D.C.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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