Central control of DOD networks remains elusive
Defense Department information technology networks might be too large for them to be centrally managed by one authority, according to a panel of experts.
Defense Department information technology networks might be too large for them to be centrally managed by one authority, said high-ranking generals speaking April 7 during a Omaha, Neb. conference on cybersecurity sponsored by Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association International.
“The network is going to have to be operated from a strategic level to a tactical level, and every point in between is going to have a role and responsibility, authority and accountability in ensuring the proper operation of that,” said Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, Joint Staff director of command, control, communications and computer systems.
However, Brown said she strongly supports managing department IT resources as an enterprise. “We don’t all have to have a Microsoft license for e-mail. If you have an enterprise license, you can consolidate the servers. It’s going to save us dollars, it’s going to save us personnel, it’s going to save us boxes in our spaces,” she said.
Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, deputy commander of Transportation Command, noted the military relies greatly on the private sector. “In TRANSCOM, 70 percent of my asset management is military,” she said. “There is no way that I…will ever have [command and control] over my own domain,” she added.
Even if the military does move toward more centralized control, it would have to do so gradually, said Rear Adm. Janice Hamby, director of command control systems at U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Command.
“Because we have gotten where we are over the course of three decades, that to try and correct that situation and [immediately] put in place a very centralized control would meet with great resistance from many of the players out there, rightfully or wrongly, it doesn’t matter,” she said.
Vice Adm. Carl Mauney, deputy command of U.S. Strategic Command called cybersecurity the “least mature” part of STRATCOM’s mission. The Omaha. Neb.-based command has cybersecurity as one of its three main operational areas. The Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations is also a STRATCOM operational component. Security issues are often wider than any one geographic command, he said.
“You’ve got to simultaneously be able to deal with the pinpoint effect as well as the broad problem,” he said.
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