Cyber Strategies for a World at War

OPEN SOURCE AGGREGATION & ANALYSIS

Cyber review underway

The White House Blog
March 2, 2009

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, passed along this update about the ongoing review of our nation’s communications and information infrastructure.

In response to President Obama’s direction, the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council are presently conducting a 60-day review of the plans, programs, and activities underway throughout the government that address our communications and information infrastructure (i.e., cyberspace). The purpose of the review is to develop a strategic framework to ensure that our initiatives in this area are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated both within the Executive Branch and with Congress and the private sector.

Our nation’s security and economic prosperity depend on the security, stability, and integrity of communications and information infrastructure that are largely privately-owned and globally-operated. Safeguarding these important interests will require balanced decision making that integrates and harmonizes our national and economic security objectives with enduring respect for the rule of law. Guided by this principle, the review will build upon existing policies and structures to formulate a new vision for a national public-private partnership and an action plan to: enhance economic prosperity and facilitate market leadership for the U.S. information and communications industry; deter, prevent, detect, defend against, respond to, and remediate disruptions and damage to U.S. communications and information infrastructure; ensure U.S. capabilities to operate in cyberspace in support of national goals; and safeguard the privacy rights and civil liberties of our citizens.

The review will be completed by the end of April 2009. At that time, the review team will present its recommendations to the President regarding an optimal White House organizational construct to address issues related to U.S. and global information and communications infrastructure and capabilities. The recommendations also will include an action plan on identifying and prioritizing further work in this area.

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NSA Should Oversee Cybersecurity, Intel Chief Says

By Kim Zetter
February 26, 2009

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Despite the fact that many Americans distrust the National Security Agency for its role in the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, the agency should be entrusted with securing the nation’s telecommunications networks and other cyber infrastructures, President Obama’s director of national intelligence told Congress on Wednesday.

Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair told the House intelligence committee (.pdf) that the NSA, rather than the Department of Homeland Security which currently oversees cybersecurity, has the smarts and the skills to secure cyberspace.

“The National Security Agency has the greatest repository of cyber talent,” Blair said. “[T]here are some wizards out there at Fort Meade who can do stuff.”

Blair added that “because of the offensive mission that they have, they’re the ones who know best about what’s coming back at us and it’s defenses against those sorts of things that we need to be able to build into wider and wider circles.”

He acknowledged that the agency had a trust handicap to overcome due to its role in the Bush Administration’s secret domestic spying program, and therefore asked Congress to help convince the public that it’s the right agency for the task.

“I think there is a great deal of distrust of the National Security Agency and the intelligence community in general playing a role outside of the very narrowly circumscribed role because of some of the history of the FISA issue in years past. . . . So I would like the help of people like you who have studied this closely and served on commissions, the leadership of the committee and finding a way that the American people will have confidence in the supervision, in the oversight of the role of NSA so that it can help protect these wider bodies. So, to me, that’s one of the keys things that we have to work on here in the next few months.”

Blair is not without support for his view. Paul Kurtz, who led the cybersecurity group on Obama’s transition team and was part of Bush’s White House National Security Council, recently told Forbes that he supports the NSA taking a prominent role in cybersecurity.

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The Highlighter: Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency – Part III

A Report of the CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency

Part III includes highlights of:

  • Section 2 – Organizing for Cybersecurity

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CSWW is not affiliated with CSIS or the commission that produced this report. The use of “we,” “our,” “us,” etc., throughout the highlights of this report refers to the members of the CSIS Commission and not to CSWW.
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The Highlights:

2
Organizing for Cybersecurity

Recommendations

The president should appoint an assistant for cyberspace and establish a Cybersecurity Directorate in the NSC that absorbs existing Homeland Security Council (HSC) functions.

A new National office for Cyberspace (NOC) would support the work of the assistant for cyberspace and the new directorate in the NSC. The president can create this office by merging the existing National Cyber Security Center (NSCS) and the Joint Inter-Agency Cyber Task Force (JIACTF). The assistant to the president for cyberspace would direct the NOC.

The central problems in the current federal organization for cybersecurity are lack of a strategic focus, overlapping missions, poor coordination and collaboration, and diffuse responsibility.

The Commission considered many options for how best to organize for cybersecurity. We grew to understand the importance of bridging across the federal agencies in order to leverage the knowledge to provide the best security for our nation.

We also recognize the importance of involving the private sector—the federal government cannot do this alone.

Our thinking on organization tracks with our finding that cybersecurity is now a central problem for national security. Our recommendation is to create a new “enterprise” governance model for cyberspace using the NSC, a collaborative network among the key agencies, and a new cyberspace office in the EOP.

We based our recommendations in part on the intelligence community’s experience in implementing the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act (IRTPA). IRTPA imposed a new, more collaborative structure on the intelligence community. It mandated a distributed “intelligence enterprise.” Congressional mandates, however, are not enough. It took a director of national intelligence (DNI) with the appropriate authorities to build collaboration.

What about the Department of Homeland Security?

One of the first tasks for the new administration will be to strengthen DHS.

DHS is not the agency to lead in a conflict with foreign intelligence agencies or militaries or even well-organized international cyber criminals.

Cybersecurity is no longer (if it ever was) a domestic issue. It is an issue of international security in which the primary actors are the intelligence and military forces of other nations.

Although the department’s performance has improved in recent years, our view is that any improvement to the nation’s cybersecurity must go outside of DHS to be effective. For that reason, we recommend that the White House, rather than any single agency, lead the new strategic and coordination functions required for cybersecurity.

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The Highlighter: Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency – Part I

A Report of the CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency

Part I includes highlights of the:

  • Executive Summary
  • Summary of Recommendations
  • Introduction

————————————————————————————————–
CSWW is not affiliated with CSIS or the commission that produced this report. The use of “we,” “our,” “us,” etc., throughout the highlights of this report refers to the members of the CSIS Commission and not to CSWW.
————————————————————————————————–

The Highlights:

This report makes use of a broad definition of cyberspace that goes beyond the Internet to include all forms of networked, digital activities.

Executive Summary

(1) cybersecurity is now a major national security problem
(2) decisions and actions must respect privacy and civil liberties
(3) only a comprehensive national security strategy that embraces both the domestic and international aspects of cybersecurity will make us more secure

We were encouraged in our work by senior officials in the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and other agencies who told us that cybersecurity was one of the greatest security challenges the United States faces in a new and more competitive international environment.

Major agencies play key roles set by presidential directives and coordinated by the White House.

We propose creating a new office for cyberspace in the Executive Office of the President. This office would combine existing entities and also work with the National Security Council in managing the many aspects of securing our national networks while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

Government must recast its relationship with the private sector as well as redesign the public-private partnership to promote better cybersecurity.

The Bush administration took a major step toward improving federal cybersecurity with its Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative.

…we face a long-term challenge in cyberspace from foreign intelligence agencies and militaries, criminals, and others, and that losing this struggle will wreak serious damage on the economic health and national security of the United States.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Global Trends

"The nature of conflict is changing. The risk of conflict will increase due to diverging interests among major powers, an expanding terror threat, continued instability in weak states, and the spread of lethal, disruptive technologies. Disrupting societies will become more common, with long-range precision weapons, cyber, and robotic systems to target infrastructure from afar, and more accessible technology to create weapons of mass destruction."
 
Global Trends and Key Implications Through 2035 from the National Intelligence Council Quadrennial Report GLOBAL TRENDS: The Paradox of Power

A World at War

The World is at War. It is a world war that is being fought right now, in real time, virtually everywhere on the planet. It is a world war that is, perhaps, more encompassing and global in nature than any other world war in history because, not only is it being fought by nations and their governments, it is also being fought by non-state actors such as terrorists, organized crime, unorganized crime, and many other known and unknown entities. It is a total world war being fought every day on the hidden and dark battle fields of the cyber domain. It is a war that, according to some intelligence estimates, has the potential to be as nearly as serious and as deadly as a nuclear war... [MORE]

 


 


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In this New York Times bestselling investigation, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared... [MORE]


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Editor, CSWW

Kurt Brindley is a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief who specialized in the fields of tele-communications and C4SRI systems Upon retirement from the navy, he spent nearly a decade as a defense industry consultant. He now writes full time... [MORE]


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Now in development for film by 20th Century Fox, award-winning CyberStorm depicts, in realistic and sometimes terrifying detail, what a full scale cyber attack against present-day New York City might look like from the perspective of one family trying to survive it... [MORE]