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Social media has been banned by the Air Force and Marine Corps, but that’s expected to end soon.“Young people come into the Air Force expecting a technologically advanced environment, not one that has a ban on Facebook or Twitter,” Lord says. “We have to figure out how to take that commercial or a commercial-like capability and bring it inside our network. The kids will figure how to use it to our advantage. MIRC (Microsoft Internet Relay Chat) [high-speed, unrestricted] Chat is a great example. We didn’t invent it, but some smart people found that the capability is useful. We’ve teamed up with the Army and Navy to traini and certify [IT specialists] to a combat standard like those in rated career fields..”There’s more. In addition to dropping its ban on social media, the Air Force will streamline its cyber acquisition and re-orient its data and information at the tactical edge of the network instead of in some central core that requires huge communications pipe.Cyber war will also come to resemble air combat with resources mustered at the tactical edge where combat is on-going rather than trying to protect all the network all the time, says Lt. Gen. William Lord, the Air Force’s chief of war-fighting integration and chief information officer.“It makes the enemy spend more time and energy because he has to attack lots of different points,” Lord says. “We want an active defense at line speed [the speed of electricity] through machine-to-machine actions. Some people think we are under attack all the time. We know we’re under scrutiny. We can prevent integrated [attacks] and that’s shapes our investment [in IT technology].”Moreover, Lord intends to push back any future IT bans even more forcefully.“How do you write [IT] policy when technology changes so quickly,” he says. “I’ve instructed my staff not to write policy against technology.”In addition, expect to see streamlined acquisition options for cyber operations. A three path solution is envisioned: the standard programmatic process for big systems, a “Big Safari” limited production model for joint spiral development work in conjunction with industry and government, and a third rapid acquisition capability to address daily crises within 2-6 hr.Also expect some slimming down of hardware and software.“We currently have 19,000 [computer] applications,” Lord says. “We have a plan to reduce that to 10,000 for a saving of $1 billion a year.”
ar99, GenLord, cyberwar, IT, USAF
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