Cybersecurity Isn’t Only About the Network

June 2, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via AFCEA Signal Scape

The Air Force and Arlington County, Virginia, are taking preventative measures against hackers such as the ones that recently attacked Sony, costing them over $170 million. It’s not just money at risk for government networks, however.

The Air Force has the lead for the Next Generation Airspace and lead for the Department of Defense. Arlington County, which collaborates extensively with the department on many levels, has undertaken continuous monitoring and risk analysis and is currently evaluating its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Maj. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr., USAF, director of cyber and space operations, office of the DCS for ops, plans and requirements, led a discussion with B.G. Ranck Jr., director of warfighter systems integration at the office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and Mark Orndorff, PEO for Information Assurance and NETOPS for DISA at the AFCEA D.C. chapter’s cyber security luncheon on May 20 describing the Air Force’s approach.

Gen. Bolton asked everyone in the audience to say at what level they thought we should protect. The audience answered that we should protect “every link at every level.”

He also suggested that Air Force’s biggest issue with communications is the “lack of transportability” of the equipment and parts driven by its inability to interoperate between stovepiped systems. He described a soldier as having to carry a pack with three computers, multiple batteries, and multiple wires in order to communicate.

According to Bolton, the Air Force will focus on three main areas: capabilities, employment, and people. He also stated that the Air Force will change the discussion from aircraft allocation to “what information do I need vs. how many airplanes do I have in the air?” It also maintains that, “every airman must have a certain understanding of cyber.”

The Defense Department envisions a joint architecture and joint services information-sharing requirement that is not specific to a particular agency that promotes interoperability and information sharing across previously discrete domains. In keeping with this vision, the Air Force will migrate away from the plethora of often proprietary and stove-piped systems and transition to a single standards-based network. These systems often do not interoperate with other systems both in and outside of the Air Force. The Air Force will channel the resulting savings into building operational capability.

Continued here.