WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 24, 2013) -- The Army must learn to dominate the cyber domain in the same way it excels at land operations, Army leaders say.

"It is our intent to be a leader in cyber capabilities," said Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, commanding general of the Army's Cyberspace Command. "Gen. Odierno said many of our adversaries lack the ability to confront our forces physically, choosing instead to employ virtual weapons with potentially devastating effect."

Cardon and other discussed how best to develop the force in a new domain, cyberspace, during a panel discussion, Oct. 23, at the 2013 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.

The Army already has great competence and capability on land with conventional weapons. But Cardon said the Army must match that with an equal capability in cyberspace.

"We either adapt to this reality, or we risk ceding this advantage to our enemies," he said.

The Army is now building its cyber forces through improving cyber security measures, helping people understand that cyberspace is an operational domain and, most importantly, talent management.

Cardon said he hopes to foster a culture around the cyber domain that encourages innovation and constant improvement.

"We're taking steps now to ensure the welfare and development of this force, the talent management, both for civilians and military," he said.

Cardon said that it will take a partnership between the active duty Army, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, civilians, other government agencies, and industry partners "to protect and defend our mission in cyberspace, a domain of infinite possibilities and ever-changing threats."

The commander of the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade, Col. Jennifer Buckner, said recruiting the right people, regardless of background or military occupational specialty, will be key to developing a dominant cyber force.

"We've proven that we can take good people, with no formal intelligence training, technical education or experience and train them for cyber work," she said of the 780th. Finding people from across the military and civilian talent pool will ensure Army cyber intelligence is the best of the best.

Talented individuals will also help improve the Army's cyber security, said Jim Young Sr., an account executive with Google Enterprise Transformation. He said the Army needs "superstar coders" to see flaws in security and help reduce the "attack surface," which includes overarching coding vulnerabilities that enemies can exploit.

The Army will also need to fundamentally change its attitude toward cyberspace and cyber security, staying as far ahead of the every changing environment as possible. Security cannot be done incrementally, Young explained. "It will not get you to where you need to be."

"The future is to develop that security architecture from the beginning, from the inside out," said Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, vice director, Defense Information Systems Agency. "The joint information environment starts with developing signal security architecture that goes across all of (the Department of Defense)."

Such security architecture would reduce the attack surface across all of the DOD, functioning as an enterprise solution instead of individual fixes.

Another challenge the Army faces is convincing Soldiers that the new domain is an operational one. Lt. Gen. David G. Perkins, the Combined Arms Center commanding general, emphasized that people will have to understand the basics of how the cyber domain works in order to call experts for support when they need it.

"People have to understand capabilities, people have to understand how to access them, but that doesn't mean that everybody in the Army has the same level of cyber training," Perkins said.

Cardon also said developing cyber capabilities will be a "team sport." He stressed the need for joint cooperation with industry and other cyber experts.

"No one entity has all the answers, no one has all the hardware, no one knows all code," he said. "No one has a monopoly on good ideas -- so our team has to include the best minds in industry, government and academia."

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Page last updated Thu October 24th, 2013 at 17:41