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CHIPS Articles: Cyber Strategy Embodies Lethality, Reform, Partnerships

Cyber Strategy Embodies Lethality, Reform, Partnerships
By David Vergun, - September 9, 2019
The Defense Department's cyber strategy directly reflects the National Defense Strategy's emphasis on three key pillars: lethality, reform and partnerships, said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Dennis A. Crall, DoD's deputy principal cyber advisor and senior military advisor for Cyber Policy.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the 10th annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit yesterday, Crall said lethality means being able to carry out offensive and defensive cyber operations in a contested environment. The network and communications have to work at least at some minimal level, he said.

Another aspect of lethality is that the commander needs to have the right authorities to carry out the mission. "Congress and the administration loaded us up with authorities we never before had, so we need to use them," he said.

Those authorities need to be built into the planning and tested with the right processes in place to take full advantage of them, he added.

"Bad process can take the most energetic, forceful, excited individuals and crush them through a series of bureaucratic morass that doesn't lead to an outcome," the general said.

And, finally, he said, lethality means having a well-trained, well-led workforce because people are pivotal to the success of any endeavor.

Regarding reform, Crall said the cyber workforce needs to have cutting-edge equipment and capabilities to perform the mission at hand, saying it's foolish to spend sustainment dollars on outdated technology that's no longer effective.

"At one time, money flowed too freely and DOD couldn't account for the way it was spent," he said, cautioning stakeholders to be careful. "People want to help us. Results have to be data-driven and show effectiveness."

The military needs to keep trust with its warfighters and with the American people, he continued. That means scarce resources must be applied in the most consistent, meaningful and thoughtful ways.

On partnerships, Crall noted that some allies and partners have authorities and capabilities the U.S. military doesn't have. "We want to make sure we take advantage of those," he told the summit audience.

Regarding operating with coalition forces, Crall said: "We still struggle with information sharing in a timely manner, so we need better cross-domain solutions, and that's on the radar to solve this year. Information needs to flow at the speed of warfare."

Partnerships are built on relationship building and rigorous joint and combined training, he said.

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Cyber warfare operators configure a threat intelligence feed for daily watch in the Hunter's Den at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Md., Dec. 2, 2017. The operators are assigned to the 275th Cyber Operations Squadron of the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group of the Maryland Air National Guard. Photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.
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