By Jim Kouri
One area of national security that requires the combining of resources from both the military realm and the police and security community is the protection of U.S. interests in cyberspace, according to a report released yesterday by the Armed Forces Press Service’s Cheryl Pellerin.
On Tuesday, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic Affairs, Madelyn R. Creedon, told members of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, “We are working closely with the Joint Staff on the implementation of a transitional command-and-control model for cyberspace operations” while reviewing existing rules of engagement.”
Teresa M. Takai, DOD’s chief information officer, and Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, joined Creedon at the committee hearing.
“The department has been working around the clock, often in close cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and other [law enforcement and security] agencies to protect the nation from cyber threats that include the theft of intellectual property, as well as damage to the defense industrial base, the economy and national security,” Takai stated.
“This interim framework,” Creedon told the panel, “will standardize existing organizational structures and command relationships across the department for the application of the full spectrum of cyberspace capabilities.”
The Defense Department hit a “significant milestone” last July with the release of its first strategy for operating in cyberspace, Creedon said. The document builds on President Barack Obama’s International Strategy for Cyberspace and the DOD Quadrennial Defense Review, and guides the department’s military, business and intelligence activities in cyberspace in support of national interests, she noted.
The DOD works closely with colleagues in the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, Treasury, Commerce and other agencies, she added, and pursues bilateral and multilateral engagements to enhance security and develop norms of behavior in cyberspace, according to AFPS’s Pellerin.
Meanwhile Takai told the lawmakers that the $37 billion information technology budget request for fiscal year 2013 includes a range of IT investments, including $3.4 billion for cyber security efforts to protect information, information systems and networks against known cyber vulnerabilities.
It also includes $182 million for Cyber Command for cyber network defense, cryptographic systems, communications security, network resiliency, workforce development, and development of cyber security standards and technologies department-wide, Pellerin stated.
Individually, she said, the services and agencies have taken action to better position the information enterprise and security posture.
Gen. Alexander told the congressmen that cyber defense requires contributions not only from DOD, but from Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Defense Information Systems Agency — “all key partners in helping us do our cyber mission.”
“The intelligence community’s worldwide threat brief to Congress in January raised cyber threats to just behind terrorism and [nuclear] proliferation in its list of the biggest challenges facing the nation,” stated Pellerin.
“I think we’re making progress,” Alexander added, “but … the risks that face our country are growing faster than our progress and we have to work hard on that.”