Cyber Maximizes Combat Power
contact: George I. Seffers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yet the military faces obstacles in integrating
cyber with other warfighting realms.
Synchronizing cyber with other domains—air, land, sea and space—is still a challenge, but the situation is improving, Lt. Col. Mark Esslinger, USAF, U.S. Pacific Command Joint Cyber Center, asserted during the
AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference November 15-17 in Honolulu.
Col. Esslinger served on a panel of
cyber experts. Panelists agreed that the
authorities to conduct cyber operations—along with policies, doctrines, tactics, techniques and procedures—still
need to be defined. “The cyber mission force is still maturing, and the combatant commands are learning to integrate
their capabilities,” Col. Esslinger offered.
Col. Joseph Matos, USMC, Marine Corps Forces, Pacific,
questioned whether granting authority to make operational
decisions will flow down to battalions or even Marine
expeditionary units or brigade combat teams. Lt. Col.
David David, USA, Special Operations Command Pacific,
explained that any type of operation conducted in a foreign
country requires input from various people and organizations, potentially including officials of the foreign country,
the U.S. Embassy and the State Department. “If you’re
thinking of doing anything in somebody else’s country,
whether it’s offensive cyber operations or flying a helicopter,
there are a lot of things to consider,” Col. David said.
The cyber operators agreed that training in the cyber
realm poses a major challenge. Col. Erik Little, USA, U.S.
Army Pacific, said his background is in the space community, although he is now working in the offensive cyber
domain. His cyber training consisted of a 40-hour online
course he took on his own and three cyber electives. “In the
space community, we really don’t have any formal training
program on the cyber side,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Terry Halvorsen, Defense Department chief
information officer, suggested that cracking down too severely
on the much-feared insider threat can be detrimental. He said
the United States has a culture of freedom in which people
do not believe they are being watched all the time. That, he
argued, “powers our work force and … makes this country
very different from any other place in the world.”
At the same time, Halvorsen promoted more severe pun-
ishment for reckless network behavior. He pointed out that
service members who handle weapons carelessly face disci-
plinary action. “Our policies now for electronic negligence
mirror, where they should, those of weapons policy that say
if you’ve been trained and you make a mistake, there are
consequences,” Halvorsen said.
While the U.S. military faces challenges and threats, it is
unlikely to go to war with a major adversary, such as Russia,
China, North Korea or Iran, suggested Rear Adm. Phillip Saw-
yer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “There are
none of those state actors out there who want to go to war with
the United States—not a single one of them,” Adm. Sawyer said,
adding that the likelihood is “not zero, but it’s very, very low.”
The conference also featured a team of communications
officers from the Asia-Pacific region that provided a wish
list of technologies and capabilities. The panel included Rear
Adm. Kathleen Creighton, director of U.S. Pacific Command’s
Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Director-
ate; Col. Joseph Delaney, USMC, commander of the Defense
Information Systems Agency’s Pacific Field Command; Ruth
Youngs Lew, director for Communications and Information
Systems and chief information officer, Pacific Fleet; Brig. Gen.
Larry Thoms, USA, commander, 311th Signal Command; and
The wish list included advanced identity management;
next-generation-derived credentials; spectrum management
tools; low probability of intercept or detection technologies;
and next-generation satellite communications. Col. Matos
added that sometimes the military simply needs ideas for
better integrating or using the technologies it already owns.
“Instead of looking for the next new toy we can throw out
there, sometimes there are technologies and capacities we
have already in our inventory. Sometimes it’s about how we
integrate what we do have,” he said.
Terry Halvorsen, Defense Department chief information officer,
warned during the AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference in Honolulu
that cracking down too severely on the insider threat has a downside.
BY GEORGE I.