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Training and organizing military cybertroops will demand monumental changes, not the least of which is creating a mindset that leaps beyond current laws, policies, agreements and borders.Advanced cybertraining is being shaped by rapid advances in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) gathering, information fusion and the resulting availability of data. The rapid availability of intelligence makes real-time military operations as the norm, while long-gestation targeting plans become a thing of the past. Evolution in the ability of Cyber Command to think about the future, such as the power of the 'cloud', having immediate access to all data and the ability to find digital fingerprints is crucial, says Maj. Gen. David Senty, chief of staff for U.S. Cyber Command.“The fact that there is now a borderless society, means that we need to recognize that the role of government is still defined by policies that stop at borders,” Senty says. “Whether it’s [changes] in authorities or policies, [the government and Cyber Command] need to be as adroit as the technology we’re living with. We have to be evolving as we go and anticipate the complexities that we’re working with.”The master key for making all that happen with the necessary dispatch is a “special, operations-like career field,” he says. “A skilled, selected, distinctive cadre [must] operate in cyberspace with the same hubris as our combat arms do today.”As an operational philosophy, cyberoperators cannot wait for threats to appear.“I don’t defend my network,” says Gordon Snow, assistant director of the FBI’s cyberdivision. “What I do is threat pursuit.” Since a Presidential mandate in 2008 he has been conducting cyberthreat identification, the task has been to determine the plans of persons, groups or entities to find ways to neutralize a threat.Starting at the top, the Air Force needs to certify its senior leaders to operate on the network, says Maj. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. Moreover, if commanders make significant mistakes, they should be decertified and receive additional training before they can resume operating and commanding the network.“In a flying unit, the commander gets certification, standardization and evaluation training and gets qualified as a mission commander,” notes Lt. Gen. William Lord, the Air Force’s chief information officer. “I don’t know why we wouldn’t do that with our cyber-folks.”At the NCO and junior officer level, “all airmen should be conversant in cyberspace like they are in describing air operations – including vulnerabilities,” says Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command.Basla calls for a common cyberlanguage and understanding across the service and joint forces. He also supports rewarding airmen to increase their cyberknowledge similar to giving foreign language pay and to get cybercertification whatever their jobs. By developing the entire force, commanders can find those best suited for even more specialized cybertraining.“We need cyberguards to watch network traffic, look for abnormalities and investigate attacks,” Basla says. “We need [forensic] types that work in the code of a virus to decipher it and then figure out how to reverse engineer it and use it against our adversaries.”In addition to cyber-operators and defenders, the cybercareer field needs intelligence, acquisition and engineering professionals that are domain-focused for the majority of their careers.“Lets consider better processes to let people cross flow into cyber that have demonstrated skills or knowledge outside of traditional Air Force training, especially in our Air National Guard and Reserve component,” Basla says. “We need to get our [cyber-]ranges up. We need the networks to be modeled. And we need to use that modeling and simulation to train. Then we need our cyberprofessionals to continually train on networked ranges and continually reeducate themselves.” The problem of creating a training program is discovering what operators need to work in a domain where the platform – the cybersphere – is unstable and constantly changing.Industry officials predict a big challenge to Western militaries as they try to build their ranks of offensive and defensive cyberwarriors, assure they have the right skills, and that those skills go beyond just understanding computers and networks.“We need people who have a good understanding of the domain they are working in,” says Robert Brammer, chief technology officer at Northrop Grumman. “How do I secure a powerplant if I don’t really understand the powerplant?”
ar99, cyber, USAF
Copyright © 2013, Aviation Week, a division of McGraw Hill Financial.