Army expected to assert cyber mission

No service has taken a lead role on cyber attacks in the Defense Department. Army leadership sees an opening where it could take more of a leadership position on cyber defense issues, an official said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

The service has scheduled a cyber presentation for Tuesday afternoon titled “Cyber Domain and LandWarNet: Powering the Army.” The Army official said to keep a close eye on that forum scheduled for 2:30  p.m. for an announcement to be made.

Pentagon officials have struggled to figure out what role they play in cyber security outside of protecting their own networks. Cyber is a growing threat within national security. Agencies like the NSA have more capabilities than a military service branch to combat cyber attacks, however, military leaders across all four services want to find a leadership role that makes sense for each branch.

Army Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, the head of U.S. Army Cyberspace Command, will lead the panel. He will be joined by Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, head of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, Lt. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, the Army’s chief information officer, Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army’s deputy chief of staff G-2, and Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr., commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • blight_

    This is getting ridiculous.

    Need some kind of Joint Cyber Command to resolve this. This is getting crazy.

    Then again, I get the feeling that military cybercommands aren’t exactly the ones victimizing Iran’s nuclear power infrastructure…which would suggest an offensive capability exists and it isn’t controlled by the military.

  • majr0d

    Who has lead on cyberdefense? Seems like a lot of disjointed effort.

    • blight_

      I suspect it will be Some Other Arm of Government.

      Cyber may need a nation-state level of response, but it may not necessarily belong to guys with uniforms who report to the five-pointed building.

      • majr0d

        Typed a comment. Administrator deleted it. Screw it.

  • Lance

    All services should be aware of this threat I find it better if it was left to the air force since logistics and cross service disputes would end.

    • blight_

      The better question is why does the air force have domain knowledge over a domain that has nothing to do with aircraft?

      There’s a reason the Air Force split off from the market to go their own way, and it may suggest that if there’s a role for uniforms, it will be as a separate branch, incorporating talent from the other branches in some form of joint command.

      Or the mission may not even belong to the military in the first place. The military will continue to have a monopoly on physical force, but the military is a projection of its nation-state government, and as long as the nation-state can attack using cyberweapons made by clandestine parts of government, is having the military involved in formulating a cyberdoctrine necessary?

  • Joe

    Much like the nuclear mission, we need a SIOP.

  • Noha307

    I thought the Air Force was taking the lead on cyber-security?

  • Mark

    Does anyone else want to make a funny photo caption for this picture?

    • blight_

      Hackers are on the network!

      Initiate traceback!

    • Noha307

      Sir, checkout this awesome new YouTube video.

  • torquewrench

    “No service has taken a lead role on cyber attacks in the Defense Department.”

    Oh, for Pete’s sake.

    I carry no brief for the USAF. I regularly describe their high level planning as deluded. I’ve often said that their relevance is in decline. But the USAF have spent more money, time and effort in the last decade on cyberdefense than all of the other services combined.

    As for why the Air Force did that, or whether the Air Force should be doing that, or whether the Air Force are doing it competently, are questions that we should be happy to get into. But what is beyond dispute is that they did step up and fill the cyberdefense vacuum. And it’s astonishingly ignorant to suggest that “no one has taken the lead”, when they indisputably did.

  • split

    If we militarize the internet formally, i’m assuming there would be more laws that would be passed, previously unjustifiably, that would allow government to spy upon its people in the name of national defense. Of course, anyone can be spied upon, but trying to hold some kind of military presence in a dimension so readily accessible seems like playing with fire. Then again, playing with fire has been humankind’s thing for aeons.

  • SFC C+11

    There has been talk about a Joint Cyber Command but aht is all. I think each branch needs both an offensive team and a defensive team in the cyber field. Russia, China, North Korea, Israel and probably Iran have them. Each deals with their own field like a football team. The DoD needs teams to monitor their huge net but echelons below need them too. The unit in the field need someone to attack/defend against the enemies computers that are out in front of him.
    Homeland Security should be responsible for the National infrastructure WITH THE ASSISTANCE of power, transportation, water, Wall Street, etc. taking care of their own networks as their primaries. Military to Military – Government to Infrastructure AND DO NOT LET ONE OVERRIDE THE OTHER.

  • Maze

    Join cyber-command already exists (under that name no less), and has for some time, and at least in theory presides over military cyber-defense and offense both. Each of the services has had a defensive cyber-capability for years, so the real question has always been offensive operations.

    Cyber is one of the few remaining cash cows in the defense industry that is not yet 100% locked down by any particular agency or organization, is it any surprise each of the services wishes to assert dominance? If anythingI think the JSOC is the optimum model to follow because offensive cyber-ops best resemble special operations of any sphere of conventional war (emphasis on speed, stealth and unpredictability).

    • blight_

      It’s USCYBERCOM and it’s part of Strategic Command.

      Strategic Command itself is a little bloated. It’s inherited the nuclear mission, space ops and missile defense..

  • Maze

    I agree completely the military lacks the personnel, stability and culture to wage offensive cyber-operations without extensive private sector assistance. I have met some brilliant people in uniform but given issues with recruiting, training and (especially) retaining highly technical staff, the military will most likely end up relying on a small army of contractors (essentially privatizing cyber).

    It says something about the mindset and personality that makes a good “cyber-warrior” that most of the best wouldn’t be caught dead in a uniform and their nonconformism would be completely unacceptable to the military establishment. In short even if it is done under military supervision, civilian or perhaps even commercial, is the most probable future for offensive cyber-operations.

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