In 2018, the Defense Department issued its Cyber Strategy report, which charges U.S. Cyber Command with defending forward and persistent engagement.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles "Tuna" Moore, deputy commander of Cybercom, provided keynote remarks today at the virtual C4ISRNet CYBERCON 2021 event.
Defending forward, he said, is "getting into the space of our adversaries, so that we can better defend the United States and our allies as well as our interests."
Persistent engagement, he said, "essentially says we want to be in constant contact with our adversaries. We want to be in a proactive posture and not in a reactive posture."
Moore provided some examples of the strategy.
Regarding criminal activities in cyberspace such as ransomware attacks, Moore said that the National Security Agency, along with Cybercom, are partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, along with allies and partners, to help thwart these attacks.
Cybercom is very much focused on election security in the United States, he said, adding that if the command detects malware and election threats to allies and partners, it has been willing to share some of its intelligence with them and help them address those vulnerabilities.
China remains the nation's pacing challenge, he said.
"The main thing that we're seeing from China inside the cyber domain is a lot of intellectual property theft that continues to occur. I don't have specific numbers, but I can tell you that I think you're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in savings probably over the last decade plus. And, they probably saved decades of time from an R&D perspective, stealing intellectual property specific to the Department of Defense, from our DIB," he said, meaning research and development theft from the defense industrial base.
Therefore, Cybercom is working with the defense industrial base to protect intellectual property and stop them from being able to gain advantages, he said.
Also, China has global aspirations from a military and economic perspective, not just in the Indo-Pacific region, he said. They also have global vulnerabilities. Thus, working through allies and partners is a way to take advantage of their vulnerabilities.
Cybercom has an incredible workforce, he said. The command has been instructed to empower these individuals, listen to their ideas and employ them as appropriate. Also, the command has invited academia, the private sector and allies to share their innovative ideas and solutions.