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Official Describes Joint Information Environment’s Value

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

BALTIMORE, May 15, 2014 – With cyber woven into all of the traditional domains, warfighters need a secure and effective single security architecture with standardized networks, a senior Joint Staff official said here yesterday.

In a keynote speech at the Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium, Army Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman noted that while information technology education and consolidation might have originated as an efficiencies drill, they now play more critical roles in national security. Bowman is the Joint Staff’s director of command, control, communications and computers/cyber.

“[It’s] about maturing in a domain that we didn’t even think about 10 years ago – the cyber domain, … where the threat has changed on a daily basis [and] where the threat might be a rogue actor or a nation state,” the general said.

But the cyber network, Bowman asserted, differs from others in that it transcends and enables the other domains: land, air, sea or space.

“It’s our job to provide a weapon system to the warfighter that he or she can depend on [and will] be there when they need it -- that weapon system is the network,” Bowman said. “It’s got to be effective. It’s got to be secure.”

He noted that with the Defense Department’s more than 15,000 networks, 4 million desktops and laptops, and 1 million mobile devices, cyber is essential to global warfighting capabilities from the national to tactical levels. “[The Joint Information Environment] provides a framework that the DOD can gain and maintain a freedom of maneuver within it, within cyberspace,” the general said.

JIE, he said, aids the military’s ability to respond to abnormal behaviors on the network. “If we have tons of different applications of different types of networks without a common framework or architecture,” he explained, “we’re not going to be able to figure out … what the anomalies are.”

With a single security architecture, the Defense Information Systems agency and the Defense Department can much better defend and better provide the cyber maneuver space that U.S. warfighters need, Bowman said. That’s not true with a variety of architectures, he added. “All those disparate actions … provide gaps, seams and voids that are exploited by the bad guy every second of every day,” he said.

Bowman pledged a more secure, efficient, effective framework within a standardized Joint Information Environment.

“We’re now seeing the next generation of shared situational awareness in cyber capabilities that we have never seen before,” the general said. “We will never go to battle again as an Army alone, as a nation alone. … That’s why it’s so critical to get JIE right.”

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleAFPS)

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Army Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman


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