One of the first things that America’s new Cyber Commander wants to do is create better situational awareness for its massive data network. According to an article today on DefenseSystems.com, Gen. Keith Alexander said that currently CYBERCOMM is in defensive mode, reacting to a penetration, instead of responding in real-time.
“We must first understand our networks and build an effective cyber situational awareness in real-time through a common, sharable operating picture, We do not have a COP, a common operating picture, for our networks. We need to get there. We need to build that.”, Gen. Alexander said in a speech given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Due to the size of the military’s network, this will be no small task, as according to DefenseSystems:
DOD is responsible for protecting more than seven million machines, linked in 15,000 networks, with 21 satellite gateways and 20,000 commercial circuits, Alexander said. DOD’s systems are probed by unauthorized users approximately 250,000 times an hour or over six million times per day, he added.
Gen. Alexander seems to be very realistic in seeing what needs to be done. He also wants to address the Rules of Engagement for cyber threats. This is very important and will heavily influence our countries cyber war doctrines. What level of response will be used for a Denial of Service Attack, what if the attack is bounced through an ally nation? These are questions that will need to be answered.
General Alexander has a big job in front of him, but it looks like he is headed in the right direction. He summed this up with this statement, “Our Department of Defense must be able to operate freely and defend its resources in cyberspace, we will do this as we do it in the traditional military domains of land, sea, air and space.” I truly hope Gen. Alexander can get this done and avoid the red tape bog that is politics.