Army cyber advances in the face of policy challenges

The Army Cyber Command has seen substantial growth in the past three years, including launching 42 cyber mission teams, but it still faces policy limitations on deploying and using cyber capabilities.

Wikimedia image: Lieutenant General Edward C. Cardon.

Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon said cyber policy is facing the same growing pains that counterterrorism policy experienced after the 2001 attacks.

The leader of the Army's Cyber Command said it has seen substantial growth in the past three years, but challenges related to staffing, training and policy reform lie ahead.

Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon added that in the past 18 months, the command has created 42 cyber mission teams and is in the process of developing 20 more from National Guard and Reserve units.

Some of the teams are already carrying out three kinds of mission functions in the field.

"Offensive cyberspace operations [are] about taking cyber to create an effect," Cardon said. "It's not cyber for the sake of cyber, but cyber for the integration and effects to accomplish an objective. And then defensive cyberspace operations, that really you have a threat and you're hunting that threat, and then of course protecting the network itself."

He said deploying the teams at the "corps and below" level is already paying dividends.

"What we find is [when] you put high-end cyber operators [on the ground], the units do much, much better," he said. "The challenge for us: It's not all about the technologies. It's the ability to integrate, the ability to conduct the tradecraft."

He said the technology is largely where it needs to be, but when it comes to the deployment and use of cyber capabilities, policy is the limiting factor.

"There are current processes and procedures by which cyber is used today," he said. "The challenge is those are all built on 19th-, 20th- and some 21st-century laws. So when you're starting to use 18th-, 19th-century law for something that's as fast moving as cyber, you start to have some challenges."

Cardon said the Obama administration has been doing a lot of work on the policy front, but there is much more to be done.

"It should not be harder to use cyber than it is to use kinetics to accomplish your goal, and right now it is in some cases," he said.

He added that America's use of cyber on the battlefield conforms to the laws of war in terms of proportionality and discrimination, but the problem is agreeing on the protocols and policies for using cyber technology in certain situations.

"It ultimately comes down to risk because people want things in a defined box," Cardon said. But a lot of technology does not fit a simple definition. A particular challenge is the fact that so much law and policy is based on geographical constructs that deal, for example, with dimensions such as sovereignty. In the virtual world, those boundaries often don't exist.

He added that the challenges are slowly being overcome, but technological change will continue to outpace policy formulation. "It's not for us to try to make a list," he said. "What I try to do is develop options for decision-makers, then you must choose that range of options and what…you want us to do."

Ultimately, though, "cyber is disruptive, full of disruption, and we have to make sure that our force is adapting at the pace of the technologies that we're facing," he said. "I view every mission that we do is breaking new ground and setting [policy] forward."

Cardon said cyber policy is facing the same growing pains that counterterrorism policy has experienced since 2001. Shortly after the terrorist attacks, conducting a drone strike was a controversial and questionable practice, yet today it's commonplace and has a host of guidelines and regulations.

"Every time you do something, you're setting norms, and then are those norms right or wrong?" he said. "You adjust accordingly based on the effects that are achieved."

In addition, Cardon said the military must focus on finding, recruiting and training talented cyber professionals. "You have to build a world-class cyber force," he added. "It's really about people, training and a capability development process that can turn faster than your adversary."

He added that "the next piece…is you have to be able to integrate that into current operations. Now that means you need operational commanders at all levels who can understand their environment on their different domains -- meaning the geographic domain, personnel domain [and] virtual domain -- and organize it in time and space to include cyber to deliver an effect."

That requires teaching some old dogs new tricks. "It just doesn't come to you by instinct," Cardon said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.