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Cyberspace – The Bears and Packers? The offense and defense from the LandWarNet conference – DoD Roundtable

The use of computers, smart phones, satellite tv, cable, networks, wifi, email, Facebook, Twitter, immediate communications, long distance communications ++ has become so routine we expect them to be available. When we wake up and find our wifi or other electronics not working it is not a good start to the day. Imagine losing these capabilities when we have a cyber attack?  Last week I had the privilege to speak with two electronic engineers who have compared cyber war to a football game.

US Cyber Command Logo
It was a great conversation but a bit over the head of this non geek. Yes, I remember taking a carburetor apart on my car before electronics took over. But those electronics are now key to our lives and to the troops fighting our wars! Giorgio Bertoli and Stephen Lucas were attending the LandWarNet conference and brought the discussion about cyberspace to the roundtable during the conference. Bertoli is the offensive coordinator and Lucas is the defense for research and development of technology within CERDEC, (Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center).  The new US Cyber Command which stood up less than a year ago is up and running to be involved in defending these critical information resources.

Listening to them discuss why we need a Department of Defense roadmap for the future so we can measure cyber successes and strengths brought back memories of discussions that I had participated in while on active duty. We must always be thinking of the next move to stay ahead of an adversary. Why is that important to you? Go back to paragraph one and see what we could lose without a coordinated defense of these systems. The engineers said we need a common architecture and baseline for the future military cyberspace to be able to respond to the threat. Currently, the defensive systems (networks) are stove piped (do not allow sharing of information and security) and are simply reactive to the challenges received from adversaries. Giorgio said we need to be more proactive.

Giorgio Bertoli, senior engineer for the Information and Networks Operation division, CERDEC's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate
How about our social media?
The military services have all endorsed the use of social media to improve morale, tell the public about the people and mission and improve combat capabilities (a smart phone for combatants?). Both men agreed that it has made the job harder for those defending the military cyber systems but they thought of it as a more of an opsec (operational security) problem. So remember to protect our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coasties by watching what you discuss during deployments or contingencies. The Army just released a new social media handbook on the day of the conference and here is a link: http://www.slideshare.net/USArmySocialMedia/social-media-handbook-2011-8992055

They also agreed that commercial industry is leading the defensive drive in many areas. It would appear that much of their challenge is getting off the shelf capabilities to users in the field. This was a great Roundtable. If you are interested in this subject please go to DoDLive, for audio and written transcripts of the discussion. For additional Roundtable blogs written by Col K please go to MilitaryAvenue's  Our Letters to You/DoDRoundtable.






Brief bios of the Roundtable participants from DoDLive:

Giorgio Bertoli is an electrical engineer and computer scientist and is currently serving as senior engineer for the Information and Networks Operation division as part of CERDEC’s Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate. Bertoli has more than 18 years of combined active military duty and civilian government engineer experience in electronic warfare, cyber network operations and cyber-related technologies.


Stephen Lucas is an electrical engineer and is currently serving as the chief engineer for the Cyber Security and Information Assurance division of CERDEC’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate. Lucas has over 25 years of civilian government experience in information assurance, communications security/transport security, computer/network security and cyber defensive capabilities/technologies.

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