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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U.S. must craft cyberwarfare battle strategy

By William Jackson
February 18, 2009
Government Computer News

America has to face up to the realities of cyberwarfare with tactical and strategic planning, Kurtz says

The intelligence community and the military have crucial roles to play in protecting cyber space, former presidential adviser Paul E. Kurtz said Wednesday, and a clear command and control structure is needed to ensure that our information infrastructure can survive and recover from major disruptions.

In his opening address at the Black Hat Federal security conference being held in Arlington, Va., Kurtz, who served on the National and Homeland Security councils under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said the nation has been reluctant to consider the proper role of government in regulating and defending cyberspace. He said it is important that these decisions be made openly after public discussion rather than allowed to happen behind closed doors.

“To those who object to the militarization of cyberspace, I would say, it’s too late: We’re already there,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz, who recently served as cybersecurity adviser on President Barack Obama’s transition team, steered clear of discussing his advice to the new administration. But he praised the 60-day review of federal cybersecurity initiatives announced by the president on Feb. 9 and called Melissa Hathaway, the Bush administration official tapped to conduct it, “exceptionally capable.”

He said the United States should apply some of the lessons learned during the Cold War to cyber conflicts now simmering online. Cyber warfare is not as simple as the bipolar confrontation between the Western democracies and the Soviet bloc, Kurtz said. It is multilateral standoff involving multiple nations, shadowy organizations, and individual hackers and criminals.

“But I do think a number of concepts from the Cold War may apply, and one of these is deterrence,” he added.

A clear policy of deterrence by the United States and its allies helped to avoid the use of nuclear weapons. But no similar policy has been established for battles fought over networks. There is no definition of cyberwarfare, no policy on how and when cyber weapons should be deployed and used, and we do not have a clear idea of who our enemies are.

“We must begin by addressing the question of attribution,” Kurtz said. The ability to collect, share and analyze data in order to tailor responses to a threat is “the beginning of a deterrence policy.”

That ability will require the efforts of the intelligence community, in cooperation with law enforcement and the private sector, he said. Each of these sectors now collects large amounts of data, but the same inability to share and “connect the dots” that led to the 2001 terrorist attacks still plague our cybersecurity, he said.

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

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

Part IV includes highlights of:

  • Section 3 – Rebuilding Partnership with the Private Sector

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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:

3
Rebuilding Partnership with the Private Sector

Recommendation

The U.S. government should rebuild the public-private partnership on cybersecurity to focus on key infrastructures and coordinated preventive and responsive activities. We recommend the president direct the creation of three new groups for partnership that provide the bases for both trust and action:

  • A presidential advisory committee organized under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), with senior representatives from the key cyber infrastructures. This new body would incorporate the National Security and Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) and National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC);
  • A town hall style national stakeholders’ organization that provides a platform for education and discussion; and
  • A new operational organization, the Center for Cybersecurity Operations (CCSO), where public- and private-sector entities can collaborate and share information on critical cybersecurity in a trusted environment.

Securing cyberspace requires government and the private sector to work together.

There is a bifurcation of responsibility (the government must protect national security) and control (it does not manage the asset or provide the function that must be protected).

…the United States has a perplexing array of advisory groups with overlapping interests, inadequate resources, varying capabilities, and a lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities. To achieve real partnership, we must simplify mission and organizational structure.

In many interviews, we found almost universal recognition that the status quo is not meeting the needs of either the government or the private sector with respect to trust and operational collaboration.

Another problem for securing cyberspace is a diffusion of effort. Currently DHS identifies 18 different sectors as critical.

For us, critical means that, if the function or service is disrupted, there is immediate and serious damage to key national functions such as U.S. military capabilities or economic performance.

To focus the defense of cyberspace, we have identified four critical cyber infrastructures: energy, finance, the converging information technology and communications sectors, and government services (including state and municipal governments).

We recommend concentrating on two key problems: how to build trust between the government and company executives and how to focus efforts on what is truly critical for cyberspace.

The primary goal of the new partnership organizations should be to build action-oriented relationships rather than to share information that is either already available or that companies are reluctant to provide. This can be done by creating a simplified structure that has three parts: a new presidential advisory committee that connects the White House to the private-sector entities most important for cyberspace; a national town-hall organization that provides a dialogue for education and discussion, and a new operational organization.

The intent behind the three groups is to provide an inclusive platform for national engagement, something the United States currently lacks.

Trust is the foundation of a successful partnership between government and the private sector.

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"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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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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