CYBERCOM and Intelligence Community Jobs

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Jon Stout

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With the recent (May 21, 2010) formation of the Cyber Command (Cybercom), the Department of Defense will manage the war on Cyber Terrorism under unified leadership. Domestic Cyber efforts will remain under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

An important step in the new CYBERCOM organization is the inclusion of the Cyber assets and capabilities of the Defense Information Systems Agencies which will also move to the Ft. Meade Maryland campus where the National Security Agency is headquartered.

The creation of CYBERCOM is a leap forward in the war on International Cyber Terrorism and the challenges are huge. The new CYBERCOM, as a military and intelligence organization should approach the issue of Cyber Terrorism as a military campaign rather that a criminal action. Offensive Cyber operations and counter strikes will be approached with military precision like any other military campaign.

CYBERCOM is expected to be operational by the end of 2010. This is not soon enough for many observers.

Our Competitors and Potential Adversaries are Significantly Ahead of the United States

Russia and China have a decidedly different attitude toward Cyber Security and attacks.

For a number of reasons, but primarily the refusal by the United States to view International Cyber Terrorism as a military threat, the United States has failed to keep pace with international Cyber Terrorism. And, because of our total dependence on data networking, the U.S. is at greater risk than our competitors.

Many informed sources believe that we are in a Cyber war already and we are losing.

No country in the world is more dependent on its computers than the United States. Data networks now underlie the U.S. power grid, its military operations and the telecommunications, banking and transportation systems. That means the U.S. is uniquely vulnerable to sophisticated computer hackers.

This is not a theoretical problem. In the Department of Defense’s most recent Quadrennial Defense Review, cyber attacks in the military sector have averaged over 5,000 per day for the last two years.

During the first half of 2009, there were reported at least 43,785 incidents of malicious cyber activity directed against the U.S. Department of Defense. These incursions came from a variety of sources, ranging from criminal hackers to foreign governments, and remediation alone cost the Defense Department more than $100 million. That figure does not account for the significant cost of data lost to cyber espionage.

And the source of the attacks has raised troubling questions. China has been identified as a suspect including Denial of service attacks in the networks that affect troop deployments and logistic in crisis areas as well Cyber incursions at the Pentagon , U.S. military bases throughout the world, and the power grid that supplies 90% of the requirements for the Department of Defense.

Cyber-security specialists say Russia and China rely on proxy groups to conduct attacks on enemies, as Russia allegedly did in 2008 against Georgia. China and Russia deny such accusations.

Russia realizes the threat. Senior Russian analysts draw a parallel between nuclear and cyber weapons, because cyber weapons can affect a huge amount of people as well as nuclear. The main difference between nuclear and cyber weapons, the Russian believe is that Cyber weapons are very cheap, easy to use and almost free of charge.

Russia wants to forge a kind of cyber arms-control agreement, but, in the past, the United States was primarily interested in forging formal agreements to fight cybercrime. CYBERCOM however, in a major change of policy is urging now for a Cyber weapons control treaty. This first step is a major positive development.

CYBERCOM and Cyber Jobs

During the formative stages of CYBERCOM, new contracting job opportunities will be small with the military services and other clients procuring the lion’s share of new services. But the wartime approach of CYBERCOM will require significantly more Cyber professionals as that realized threat grows and is addressed.

In addition, the formation of CYBERCOM may open a pathway for service contracting opportunities at the National Security Agency (NSA) where higher level security clearances are required. With the move of DISA (Defense Information Security Agency) to the Ft. Meade campus, contractor access and the security clearance process is better facilitated.

Contractors can hire and place qualified Cyber personnel at DISA and provide services concurrent with obtaining higher level clearances. This opens the window for Cyber professional to access the Intelligence Community without the burden of holding employees on overhead.

Since 2003 Aspiration Software LLC has provided Cyber Security services to the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense.

 

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