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DOD announces Initial Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations

Thanks for the welcome, Matty O. I'm grateful for and honored by the invite to join this stellar team.

Yes, this beast called "cyberspace" and "cyberspace operations" is piquing interest in various places in and out of the defense arena. Although the Deputy Secretary of Defense and I did not coordinate this, I thought it appropriate to start off my contributions to Blackfive by sharing the "big news":


WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Defense Department’s first strategy for operating in cyberspace is a milestone in the fight to protect the nation from potentially devastating network attacks, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said today.

Lynn addressed an audience of military and civilian officials, educators and reporters at the National Defense University.

“We do not know the exact way in which cyber will figure in the execution of [DOD’s] mission, or the precise scenarios that will arise,” Lynn said.

“But the centrality of information technology to our military operations and our society virtually guarantees that future adversaries will target our dependence on it,” he added.

“Our assessment is that cyber attacks will be a significant component of any future conflict, whether it involves major nations, rogue states or terrorist groups,” the deputy secretary said...

So what does this mean?  Well, for one thing, DOD is trying to get its arms around this nascent beast and figure out what it means in real terms.  Lately we've had senior leaders use terms like "Cyber Pearl Harbor" and "Cyber 9/11" to describe a possible worst case threat.  However, few really know what that means or what DOD (and the Government writ large) can/should/must do.  Moreover, how should the Services and Combatant Commands organize, train, man, etc to meet the threat?

For me, the part I was waiting for a ruling on was this:

 Treating cyberspace as an operational domain like land, air, sea and space, operating and defending department networks and training and equipping forces for cyber missions.

While the geeks and zealots are probably doing the jig - thinking they've achieve some victory or recognition - it means that some very entrenched ideas are either going to have to be detonated, reworked, massaged or contorted so that cyberspace (whatever that means) is applied.  Laws have to change, forces created and/or wrested from the Military Services, roles and missions across the board relooked completely.

And the doctrine...oh, the doctrine!  (Ok, a bit of joy for me - I'm also a bit of doctrine geek).  Yeah, this is going to be fun to watch (and share in measured doses)...

I'll leave it at that for now...