Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman says cyber needs to be part of every training event so personnel can understand the effects of it and be able to operate in a degraded environment. ()
As the Defense Department enters into an era of shared services and joint programs — many of which center on the Joint Information Environment — a new generation of priorities are emerging, according to one top DoD official.
The list of new-look must-haves for the Pentagon is not short, but in some cases, addressing certain priorities will have widespread benefits. Among them: an enterprisewide, single security architecture for DoD networks, and a force of cyber professionals to defend those networks.
The lack of both of those today leaves the military vulnerable, Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, Joint Staff J6, said May 14 at the AFCEA Joint Information Environment symposium in Baltimore.
“Independent information assurance provides gaps, voids and seams exploited by the bad guy every day,” Bowman said. “We’ve got to continue to develop and establish a single security architecture. Through the single security architecture, with standardized networks, we can help reduce that cyberattack surface.”
The lack of visibility into networks today limits defensibility, Bowman said. But defenses also are limited by a shortage of cyber professionals operating on DoD networks – a problem that Pentagon leaders need to be addressing earlier in the education and training processes, he added.
“We have a growing requirement for cyber pros in the United States of America,” Bowman said. “We have a bunch of networks and a bunch of people who are really interested in it ... cyber needs to be part of every exercise and every training event because we need to understand the effects of it and we need to be able to operate in a degraded environment.”
Bowman outlined one idea he said he’s bounced off members of DoD leadership with positive response.
“We ought to be grabbing [digital natives] in college. We ought to be giving them summer jobs,” Bowman said, noting Pentagon plans to work with premier colleges with cyber programs going forward. “There are barracks around the United States that are vacant. Fix them up, bring in cyber dudes, assign them to places such as DISA and Aberdeen. Maybe we can grow a culture and make them aware of what we do.”