Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

US-DEFENSE-CYBERSECURITY-SUMMIT
Providing cyber situational awareness to troops is a key goal for U.S. Cyber Command under its new leader, Adm.. Michael Rogers. (SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders at U.S. Cyber Command and the military cyber components face a number of competing priorities, but one of the top goals is to provide cyber situational awareness to troops and decision-makers alike, according to one top official.

Much like the visualized intelligence that helps guide traditional kinetic military operations, creating a common operational picture in cyberspace is critical – but it also needs to be adaptable to specific mission needs, said Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

“I’ve been at sea as a surface guy, a strike group guy, a numbered fleet guy – every level of maritime operations I’ve ever engaged in, I’m used to walking into a command center that gives me a common picture that provides color, symbology, geography, visual display,” Rogers said May 28 at the AFCEA Cyber Summit in Washington. “It enables me as a decision-maker to walk into a space, look at a visual and start to gain situational awareness in a very quick way that enables me to start thinking about fast, efficient decision-making. We do not have that right now in the cyber world. How do you defend something that you can’t see?”

Rogers admitted it’s been tougher than anticipated to create a cyber equivalent of the many tools used by troops on the ground to understand the environment around them. At least one reason may be the dispersed nature of cyber threats and operations – rather than being largely centered in a given theater, activities in cyberspace take place all over the world without respect to any conventional boundaries.

“We’re in the early stages of our journey of trying to do this. It has proven a lot harder than a lot of us thought it was going to be. We’re certainly not as far along as I’d like but it’s not because of lack of effort,” Rogers said. “We have a lot of activities going on across [the Defense Department] to coordinate these and bring these together. Because frankly in an era of declining resources we cannot afford to say, ‘I’ve got the perfect tool.’ We’ve got to divvy it up.”

(Page 2 of 2)

Another challenge is providing situational awareness that can be shared, but is relevant to the various missions and operators throughout cyberspace. Not everyone has the same requirements or daily tasks, meaning what’s relevant to one team may not mean much to another.

“How do we create this common, shared awareness? I say common because…what I need to know at U.S. Cyber Command in a network environment is probably different than what the [European Command] commander needs to know or what the [I Marine Expeditionary Force] community needs to know,” Rogers said. “This is not going to be a one-size-fits-all. We have got to tailor this base to the mission sets and the requirements of the commander that situational awareness is supporting.”

In an era of warfare that is unlikely to exclude cyber in any future conflict, it’s especially important to figure out the situational awareness picture, he added.

“If we can’t integrate this capability into the broader range of military operations…we’re never going to truly operationalize cyber,” Rogers warned. “And we’ll marginalize the capability.”

More In C4ISR & Networks

More from this channel

  1. An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 banks over Naval Station Norfolk. VAW-125 will be the first squadron to deploy with the E-2D. MC2 Ernest R. Scott / Navy

    Navy's Advanced Hawkeye will deploy next year

    The E-2D has achieved Initial Operational Capability.

    • 2:14 PM
  2. Britain will include Reapers in its air campaign in Iraq. Sergeant Corrine Buxton/RAF

    UK to add Reapers to air power operating in Iraq

    UAV surveillance and strike missions to begin soon, UK officials say.

    • 4:14 PM
  3. LTC Joel Babbitt explains the goals of the en route mission planning effort. C4ISR & Networks Video

    Target date for WIN-T en route mission planning coming soon

    By November, WIN-T leader expects initial operating capability for new system to speed readiness.

    • 5:41 PM
  4. Dr. Joseph JaJa (left) and Dr. Anupam Joshi (right). (USM) University System of Maryland

    Players picked for first federally-funded R&D center for cybersecurity

    MITRE Corp. and University System of Maryland will join NIST to help private industry solve cybersecurity problems.

    • 5:28 PM
  5. A Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, aerostat is readied for launch near Orogrande gate at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. ATEC

    Raytheon: NORAD could use missile-defense blimp

    The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) could be integrated into NORAD's warning system, company says.

    • 3:59 PM
  6. Northrop Grumman gets green light for IED jammer

    The Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare system blocks signals that would trigger roadside bombs.

    • 3:55 PM

Daily intelligence on C4ISR and networks

There's no better way to know what's going on every day in areas like UAS and sensors, GEOINT, C2 and communications, cyber, mobility and defense IT, than to sign up for our daily C4ISRNET newsletters. The news will come right to your inbox, along with commentary and insight from our lineup of senior-level bloggers.

Sign up is easy and quick.