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Conference Highlights Cyber’s Role in National Defense

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

FORT MEADE, Md., Sept. 19, 2012 – The Defense Department is embracing cyber technologies that enhance its combat effectiveness while working closely with partners in the interagency, academic, industrial and international communities to address some of the challenges the cyber domain presents, U.S. Cyber Command’s chief of staff said here yesterday.

Navy Rear Adm. Margaret Klein opened a two-day U.S. Cybercom Interagency Legal Conference, underscoring the vast capabilities the Internet has brought to communities, organizations and countries that depend on it to connect and organize.

The goal of the conference, explained Air Force Col. Gary Brown, Cybercom’s staff judge advocate, is to enhance closer collaboration while giving participants a deeper understanding of cyber’s role in national defense.

Cyberspace has become vital to national and economic security, Klein told the forum, noting that the Defense Department relies on Internet access to conduct effective military operations.

But as the military has developed doctrine and tactics, techniques and procedures for the land, maritime and aviation domains, it needs them for cyber operations as well, she said.

“We need a parallel structure in the world of cyber … so we can be as proactive as possible,” Klein said, “so [we can be] an agile force that maneuvers quickly -- at net speed.”

Meanwhile, DOD must remain vigilant in looking for adversaries who might exploit any weaknesses within the system, the admiral said. “We need to be able to understand not only our ongoing operations in cyber across the globe, but also seek threats that might be directed at our networks,” she said.

Ultimately, DOD wants to build a more defensible architecture, Klein said. Such a system would enhance the military’s ability to take full advantage of new and emerging technologies while reducing the “attack surface” exposed to potential adversaries, she explained.

It’s an effort she said requires close collaboration across the board, with interagency and private-sector coordination in forming a national response.

As part of this effort, DOD is working with its partners to explore ways to ensure a steady flow of trained, ready cyber forces, and to address some of the legal questions associated with cyber operations, Klein said.


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Navy Rear Adm. Margaret Klein

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