Frustration with the pace of integrating new technologies
within Army cyber can be likened to the "clockspeed
dilemma," a term applied recently to the auto industry, said
Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost.
The once innovative auto
industry has trouble keeping pace with new developments of
autonomous vehicles, sensors and information technology
gadgets going into their cars. Likewise, the Army has
trouble keeping up with new cyber technologies used by
adversaries against the United States, she said.
November 6, 2016 - Sgts. 1st Class Richard Miller (left) and Brian Rowcotsky (center) of the U.S. Army Cyber Protection Brigade discuss the response to a simulated cyber attack on the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division with Staff Sgt. Frederick Roquemore, a cyber network defender with the 1-82nd, during the 1-82nd's rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA. (U.S.
Army Cyber Command photo by Bill Roche)
Frost, director of Cyber, Office of the Deputy Chief of
Staff, G-3/5/7, spoke Oct. 5, 2016 at the Association of the
United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.
Army and the other services within the Department of Defense
are hobbled by a slow acquisition system and bureaucracy
that hamper the adoption of innovative ideas and new
technologies, she said. Adversaries are not as constrained,
she warned, and "they are leaping ahead at a speed never
seen in modern history."
Raj Shah, director, Defense
Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, who spent a decade as
an Air Force cyber operator, agreed with Frost's assessment.
He said he could provide many examples of technology the
Army has yet to adopt because of bureaucracy.
instance, he said, he recently visited cyber Soldiers in the
field, where he observed their intelligence, surveillance
and reconnaissance feeds running "slow and jerky." He asked
the Soldiers about the problem and found they were running
Windows XP, an old operating system. The Soldiers weren't
allowed to install the latest version because of the slow
way in which security concerns were being addressed.
Shawn Wells, chief security strategist at Red Hat, also
agreed with Frost and cited his own example of the
clockspeed dilemma. As an operator deployed to a combat zone
with Marines, he said, source code verification was held up
in the accreditation process.
In other words, the
enemy might have been using an iPhone for command and
control. Soldiers could monitor that. However, if the enemy
switched to Android devices, the Soldiers had no way to
monitor the traffic because they didn't have accreditation
to do so.
Wells said his company is now working to
eliminate that type of problem through a public-private
Gen. Edward C. Cardon, commander, Army Cyber Command and
Second Army, said public-private partnerships are critical,
because the Army and the Department of Defense can "never
keep pace with the innovations going on right now in the
tech industry, not in the [science and technology] world and
not in the [research, development, testing and engineering]
"That's a little bit overstated," he added,
"but not too much."
The Army, with a total science
and technology budget of $4 billion a year, -- a figure that
covers much more than cyber -- would never be able to go it
alone when it comes to introducing new cyber technologies,
he said. The science and technology budgets of Microsoft,
Google, AT&T and Verizon are all much larger than the
The challenge with public-private
partnerships in cyber is the current acquisition system, he
said. "It just doesn't work well."
the current secretary of Defense with allowing the Army to
use some innovative strategies outside of the current
acquisition process to fund cyber projects. They include:
- Defense Digital Service
- Stanford Hacking for Defense
- The Army's new Rapid Capabilities Office
- Hacking the Pentagon Project
- Army Cyber Silicone Valley Innovation Project
According to Cardon, each of these represents a way to conduct a
public-private partnership. "But we have to do more," he said.
"Cyber is no longer an intelligence problem or an electronic
warfare problem. It's a commander's problem," Cardon concluded.
By U.S. Army David Vergun, DMA
Army News Service
Comment on this article