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FCW : June 15, 2015
“ WE MAY OR MAY NOT SEE [THE HACKERS], BUT SOMEBODY SEES THEM, AND IF WE COULD SHARE THAT INFORMATION BETTER, WE’D HAVE A MUCH MORE ROBUST DEFENSE THAN WE HAVE TODAY. ” LT. GEN. EDWARD CARDON, ARMY CYBER COMMAND June 15, 2015 FCW.COM 17 “When you have a hierarchy that works against a network, it doesn’t work as fast as the network. And so in Iraq, what happened is Gen. [Stan- ley] McChrystal recognized that there was a lot of information coming in,” he said, referring to one of the now- retired architects of the surge and the military’s broader efforts to counter the decentralized insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. “But the information was organized geographically and not against the network. And so by creating a place where everyone could come together, he in effect created a network to work against the network. You can instantly see this application to cyber because the threat isn’t geographically constrained.” In the same vein, Cardon has float- ed the idea of applying the concept of “fusion cells” — small teams of Special Forces and intelligence offi- cers dispatched to Iraq in 2008 — to cyberspace. Whereas the fusion cells’ targets were Iraqi insurgents, Cardon’s cyber cells would target intruders lurk- ing on DOD networks. The ability to pinpoint those hackers would rest on better information sharing. “We may or may not see [the hack- ers], but somebody sees them, and if we could share that information better, we’d have a much more robust defense than we have today where we all sort of operate in our lanes,” he said. A growing force against growing threats On the one hand, the military brass portrays the buildup of Cyber Com- mand as a steady march toward 6,200 employees. But seen in another light, the Pentagon’s cyber posture has been a reactive response to a threat that has been steadily growing. In the past several years, multiple intrusions into Pentagon networks have sounded alarm bells for military leaders. William Lynn III, a former dep- uty Defense secretary, called a 2008 hack of classified military computer networks “the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever” and “an important wake-up call.” Another flash point came in 2013, when Iranian hackers embedded themselves in the unclassified portion of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. The most recent shot across the Pentagon’s cyber bow was a Rus- sian intrusion that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter disclosed on a recent trip to Silicon Valley. The hackers had breached an unclassified DOD net- work via “an old vulnerability in one of our legacy networks that hadn’t been patched,” he said. Carter added that DOD network defenders were able to drive the Rus- sians off the unclassified network. But whether such a cleanup operation can continue to limit the damage done to some of the largest, richest networks in terms of intellectual property is 0615fcw_016-018.indd 17 5/27/15 2:37 PM
May 30, 2015
June 30, 2015