By James E. Brooks, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
May 8, 2012
NEWPORT, R.I. - More than two dozen government officials and academic scholars met at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) May 2-3, to investigate the ways in which governments and militaries may operationalize their existing or nascent cyber strategies and the implications cyber warfare has for future conflicts.
Keynote speakers and panel discussions guided the explorations of three over-arching questions: how do exiting cyber strategies support our military’s ability to fight and win future conflicts; how have changes in international security, domestic politics and legal considerations changed the character of war in the information age; and what new theories of conflict are required in the cyber-age and future security environment?
“It wasn’t long ago that ‘cyber’ wasn’t considered a domain like ground, sea or air,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command. “The cyber domain is different. Terrain features of geography can’t be changed. When you talk about defending something, a commander can visualize battle space spatially. In the cyber domain, the landscape is constantly changing and the spatial arrangement isn’t as important.”
Schmidle told the conference guests that the cyber threat evolved from theft of intellectual capital during the 1980s to denial of service attacks in the past decade to present day destructive capabilities. Deterring cyber-attacks from an adversary is vastly different than nuclear deterrence and various deterrence models are being debated with no real consensus in any direction.
“We need to think ahead of technology,” Schmidle said about fighting in the cyber domain. He used the development of coordinated air and ground attacks developed during the 1920s before reliable radio communications were devised. “We need to be able to recognize what a hostile attack looks like and be able to respond at ‘net speed’.”
A series of seven panel discussions allowed participants to delve deeper into other areas of cyber-warfare, such as international approaches to cyber-strategy, cyber defense and legal issues and commanders’ views of operationalizing a cyber-strategy.
“This is our fourth such conference and each year we delve deeper into this important discussion,” said Derek Reveron, a NWC professor and EMC informationist chair. Conferences such as this one bring civilian scholars together with military faculty and practitioners to analyze the national and international security challenges posed by cyber warfare, cyberspace operations, and cyber conflict.”
The conference was sponsored by the EMC informationist chair. The chair often hosts conferences and workshops with the goal of engaging leaders from academia, industry and the Department of Defense to explore how knowledge is created, shared, and managed. The Chair supports research and teaching activities that emphasize intelligence, cyber and maritime security.
Posted by Alyssa Menard