Cyber Defense Review

Blog Posts

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Virtual Currency in a Cashless Society: A Potential Window into Economic Cyberwarfare

February 26, 2018 — Science and technology have been an enormous part of America’s economic success since its formation. MORE

Stabilizing the Borderland: Confronting IO, EW and Cyber in Ukraine

December 7, 2017 — The report provides a detailed and robust look at the challenges Ukraine has faced, the perceptions of those involved in its security, defense, and education, and provides recommendations for future engagements. Our mission was to look beyond the headlines, to delve into the details, and give an unvarnished look at the utilization of cyber, EW, and IO in a hybrid conflict. MORE

The Cyberspace Workforce: An Array of Opportunities

May 1, 2017 — In private industry, businesses identify employment needs, create job openings, and attempt to attract talent. Likewise, the U.S. Army created the Cyber branch in a similar manner. MORE

Four Imperatives for Cybersecurity Success in the Digital Age: Part 2

April 27, 2017 — Having joined Palo Alto Networks following a 35-year career in the U.S. military, the last decade of which I served in a variety of leadership positions in cyber operations, strategy and policy, I have found that many of the cybersecurity challenges we face from a national security perspective are the same in the broader global business environment. This blog post series describes what I consider to be four major imperatives for cybersecurity success in the digital age, regardless of whether your organization is a part of the public or private sector. MORE

The Value of Intelligence and Secrets

April 5, 2017 — Secretary of State Henry Stimson was famously quoted “Gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” in 1929. Just a couple years later during the 1930-31 London Naval Conference and the 1932 Geneva Disarmament Conference, Secretary Stimson would come to understand and appreciate the value of national security intelligence and would reverse himself. MORE

After Twenty Years of Cyber – Still Unchartered Territory Ahead

December 28, 2016 — The general notion is that much of the core understanding of cyber is in place. I would like to challenge that perception. There are still vast territories of the cyber domain that need to be researched, structured and understood. I would like to use Winston Churchill’s words: “it is not the beginning of the end; it is maybe the end of the beginning.” In my opinion, the cyber journey is still in a very early stage. The cyber field has yet to mature, and the big building blocks for the future cyber environment are not yet in place. The Internet and networks that support it have increased dramatically over the last decade. Even if the growth of cyber might be stunning, the actual advances are not as impressive. MORE

WarTV: A Future Vision for a Common Operating Picture

December 28, 2016 — 1 MAY 2011 – ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN – Abbottabad, Pakistan is less than a two-hour drive from the capital city of Islamabad and 3.1 miles from the Pakistan Military Academy to the southwest. In relative terms, Abbottabad is a much less busy place than Karachi, Pakistan, and is very attractive to tourists and those seeking higher education for their children. Despite Abbottabad’s relative inactivity compared to the bustling Karachi, there were signs of digital life in 2011. MORE

The Increasing Necessity for a United States Cyber Service

November 21, 2016 — Conducting cyber warfare is cheap and easy.[1] It affords anyone from individual hackers to nation-state actors the ability to wage destructive acts against the United States.[2] In 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command to establish a sub-unified command, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), to prepare the Department of Defense (DoD) for the integration of offensive and defensive cyberspace operations.[3] Due to the constant rate of change in cyberspace, USCYBERCOM has experienced challenges integrating joint force cyber components. A quick examination of the US cyber force organizational chart demonstrates how complex the relationships are between service components and outside agencies. These organizational intricacies have led Admiral Michael Rogers, National Security Agency (NSA) Director and Commander of USCYBERCOM, to ask “is cyber so different, so specialized, so unique, so not well understood that it requires a very centralized, focused, unique construct to how we generate capacity and knowledge?”[4] While still heavily debated, many US government officials believe the existing organizational structure best meets current DoD requirements. However, there is an increasing necessity to transform the joint cyber construct into a stand-alone military service branch or similar entity that is separate from, yet integrated into the other military service branches. This necessity is based on cyberspace operations occurring in a separate operational domain, requiring a different organizational composition than traditional service branches, and hampered by the current joint cyber construct. MORE

The False Promise of Hacking Democracy

November 4, 2016 — “Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities” It is immensely convenient to claim that a Federal election can be hacked; however, the reality of hacking such an election is far more difficult than one might realize. The level of complexity in the US electoral process is such that to hack the election would require a combined feat of technical and social engineering requiring tens of thousands of co-conspirators operating across hundreds of jurisdictional boundaries with divergent laws and practices. Having worked in democracy development for the better part of 10 years on elections in several dozen countries, the state of American electoral security is strong because of its immensely decentralized nature. In a case where the bewildering and often arcane complexity facilitates inefficiency, it is this inefficiency that coincidentally fosters systemic resilience. It is the organizational attributes of a national election run by state and local authorities that make the United States a poor target for any malicious actor attempting to directly affect the polling places where American’s cast their ballots. MORE

There Is No “Cyber”

September 7, 2016 — At the recent Joint Service Academy (JSA) Cyber Security Summit at West Point (20-21 April, 2016), the word “cyber” was used in multiple different facets. As a noun, cyberspace is the “Domain characterized by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify, and exchange data…” [COL11]. This is perhaps the broadest definition possible, proposed as the Cyberspace Operations Lexicon by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While the ambiguity with the meaning of the proper noun “Cyber” provides a difficult framework to focus meaningful actions, our use of the words “Cyber”, “Digital” and their like as adjectives serves only to create artificial divisions among researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers in the area. MORE

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