Cyber defense is OUR problem

In today’s Washington Post, Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton outlines the risk the country faces in a cyber attack and makes the case for militarization of cyber-defense in the U.S. But Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton made clear to a House Armed Services subcommittee that he has not been asked to defend most government Web sites nor the commercial and public infrastructure networks whose destruction could cripple the nation.

Our military services should take full responsibility for defending military networks as well as oversight for defending critical national assets. However, we the people need to be responsible for civil networks including banking, power, telecom, and transportation. When a backhoe severs a fiber-optic cable, do we need a military response? Do we need the military investigating "hackers" gaining access to celebrity mobile devices? I would argue not. We need to take responsibility for the networks we build, manage, and use every day the same way we contribute to local communities such as parks, charities, churches and more.

We need to develop "defense in depth". The military does an excellent job of securing and defending their networks and building intelligence. Rather than expanding their scope and diluting their focus, we as a society need to take responsibility  for our network hygiene. We have seen and will continue to see issues with our technology infrastructure that do not require military intervention. By managing our networks in coordination with local leaders, businesses, and law enforcement we will be more flexible in our response and better able to support our military when the need for coordination arises. Facing the Unexpected is excellent reading for anyone who wants to compare and contrast these approaches to emergency management. I would look to organizations such as InfraGard and CERT as models for coordinating public, private, and government organizations for cyber defense.

As you can see there will be a need for individuals, governments from local to federal, private firms, coordination groups, military services, and intelligence agencies working together to address these problems moving forward. Booz Allen Hamilton has identified this coordination effort as a Megacommunity. As our society becomes more dependent on information technology, nothing less will be required to maintain our culture and way of life.

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