Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Cyber Command chief's vision to improve operations

GEN Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, reinforced his belief that the United States remains vulnerable to a massive cyberattack and that such an attack might take place at any time, during his Aug. 14 keynote speech at The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) conference in Baltimore. In his remarks he hammered on the needs for more collaboration between the U.S. military, law enforcement, the government and private companies, which own more than 80 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure. These remarks have become the foundation for most of his speeches.

What was new is his idea on a combined cyber force that integrates cyber intelligence, cyber defense and cyber offense into a single cohesive unit. This differs significantly from the current organizational design of most of our military operational units. He even said, "Our intelligence team is trained to a different standard, and we have an attack community, and everyone is trained to a different standard over here.” 

His remarks focused on the criticality of a common training standard across the nation’s cyber forces. I hope his vision will extend beyond the military and intelligence communities into law enforcement and those organizations in the private sector that protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

It is clear that Alexander has a fairly detailed vision of what the United States needs to defend itself in the cyber domain. His remarks at the AFCEA event, at the recent DefCon conference and his statements that have appeared in the media all have a consistent theme--and he continues to reinforce this message. Let’s hope his vision becomes reality before we really need the resources.

Posted by Defense Systems Staff on Aug 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Reader Comments

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 LongTabSigO

Kevin typed: > What exactly is "NEW" about this? It's about capabilities. This is what happens when non-gunfighters get into the gunfighting business and think they've innovated. Offense will be a tiny percentage of any cyber unit's capabilities. The authorities will be controlled tightly. What will be prolific are defense units that have a broad "hunting" capability. For the amateurs out there, this is called "patrolling", "movement to contact" and "spoiling attack" in military parlance. Not new concepts...just applied differently. At least we're talking "units" now. For far too long the discussion has centered on "the workforce" with no discussion of how this workforce would be employed as units of action. Still, it's time to stop renaming proven concepts and calling it "innovation".

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