One weapon, many uses
- By Dawn S. Onley
- Nov 01, 2005
'If we can't protect the network and the data on that network, all these great ideas come down like a deck of cards.'
' Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Shea
Army Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence
Today's warfighters must do battle on at least three fronts: securing the homeland, fighting abroad and safeguarding critical data from terrorists and hackers.
It's a job that requires the incorporation of information assurance into training exercises and introducing IA certifications to the workforce, Defense leaders say.
Warfighters have plenty of experience'more than two centuries worth of doctrine and training'in fighting traditional foes. But fighting asymmetrical battles, which involve securing networks against cyberattacks in an era of increased information, has proven difficult.
'We're dealing with a joint set of vulnerabilities,' said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, director of command, control, communications and computers for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Shea led a panel discussion at the recent MILCOM 2005 conference in Atlantic City, N.J.
'There are ever-present challenges we face in securing the Global Information Grid,' he added. 'We've got to promote a flexible effort to better defend our network.'
Some of today's threats include software-based anomalies, malicious attacks on Defense networks, and the re -mote-controlled, improvised explosive devices to which some reports attribute roughly 50 percent of the fatalities in Iraq.
Shea said senior command and control leaders would soon meet to discuss the information assurance challenges in more depth and to look at employing an IA strategy across the Defense Department.
'IA really becomes our center of gravity,' Shea said.
DOD also is establishing a Joint Information Assurance Manpower Standardfor the certification of IA staff.
'Are we doing all the right things? Do we have the paradigm right? If we can't protect the network and the data on that network, all these great ideas come down like a deck of cards,' Shea said.
An IA component will be part of 50 percent of all Defense training exercises in fiscal 2006, and 100 percent in 2007, Shea said.
Army Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence, director of C4 for the U.S. Central Command, who recently returned from Iraq, said the Defense technology industry could help by developing secure wireless systems and multilevel security systems that let troops process in- formation securely at different classification levels.
Fighting al-Qaida marks the first time in history that a guerrilla faction has moved war from the physical domain to cyberspace, so securing the cyber realm is critical, added Army CIO Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle.
Boutelle told MILCOM attendees not to get comfortable with the advances made by commercial technologies. Those same technologies, Boutelle warned, are being used by terrorist groups like al-Qaida, and in some instances, America's adversaries are better at obtaining and using information to their advantage.
These groups have 'fully embraced the Internet and fully embraced the technology, and they are using it to kill your people,' he said.
In addition to recruiting new members, terrorists use the Internet to communicate with each other and to plan attacks, Boutelle said, adding that they have posted recipes for ricin poison, outlined the chemicals needed to make a bomb, and described in vivid language the best way to shoot and kill an American soldier.
'Your enemy, your adversary, is using your information, and they do it faster, better and cheaper,' Boutelle said.