The Army needs to integrate cyberspace considerations into operational planning across the board: That was the message Army Cyber Command presented to technology company representatives and contractors Tuesday.
The 2012 Armed Forces Computer and Electronics Association's, or AFCEA, TechNet Landforces East conference in Baltimore is focused on Cyberspace Operations: "Prevent, Shape, and Win."
In his opening address, Col. Christopher Ballard, Army Cyber Command G-3, explained the operational environment the Army now faces and the increasing range of threats from a wide range of adversaries whom he said have become more "lethal, enduring and asymmetric."
"Our nation faces an increasing range of threats from not only nation states, surrogates, and insurgents, but also from criminal organizations, terrorist and transnational groups," he said.
"And you can be sure that our potential adversaries in this emerging operational environment are actively seeking to be more lethal, patient, more asymmetric and I'd add more adaptive than us."
Ballard also spoke on the state of cyber threats against U.S. forces, pointing out that attacks continue to evolve and because "the way we fight is reliant on networks, we will be more and more at risk." He said prior to 2007 "cyber noise" on the networks was problematic, but today, the enemy has the capability to conduct "potential limited disruption to mission command."
He warned the next evolution could be potential destruction and isolation of tactical forces.
"Imagine for a moment the threats generated from the billions of programmable smart phones that might be used as sensors or attackers," he said.
"The vulnerabilities inherent in social media, ubiquitous encryption and malicious software that has the ability to change form and target enroute, retaining access and the freedom to maneuver in cyberspace will be essential for us to defend ourselves and influence the nature of future conflict."
Meanwhile, Ballard said challenges from opportunistic enemies against Army networks can be averted through a "prevent, shape, win" approach to cyber operations.
He said the Army can prevent conflicts by maintaining credibility based on capacity, readiness, and modernization, and that the Army hopes to shape the operational environment through improved theater security cooperation and enhancing partnerships to improve cyberspace security and interoperability. Ballard added that, when needed, the Army is prepared to apply its combined arms capabilities to dominate the cyberspace environment and win decisively.
"What we are doing is applying the same principles used by our traditional or conventional forces to our cyber force," Ballard noted. "It's really about taking basic warfighting principles that are true and sound and applying them to the new cyber fight, to a new domain."