DoD finalizes cyber warfighting strategy

Friday - 4/1/2011, 4:30pm EDT

Dr. Steven Bucci, IBM's Issue Lead for Cyber

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

As cyber criminals and terrorists become more adept at breaking into networks, the Defense Department is finalizing a cyber warfighting strategy.

The strategy calls for more international cooperation and partnerships with the private sector. The plan is awaiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates' final approval, expected in the coming days, Defense News reports.

Dr. Steven Bucci, IBM's Issue Lead for Cyber, said DoD's strategy will have to address the basic meaning of cyber war.

"One of the most interesting things about this area and one of the most daunting is that we don't have all the definitions set yet. There is very little agreement across the intellectual spectrum or the political spectrum of the definition of most of these terms," Bucci said in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

Some argue the country is at cyber war today, but Bucci said a "more precise" way to define cyber war is limiting it to the higher levels of cyber attacks.

DoD's cyber warfighting strategy will also lay out the department's plan for responding to cyber attacks.

Last month Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the Defense Department's Cyber Command, told Congress that he would give the military a grade of "C" in its ability to protect DoD networks.

"This is something we can't afford to kick down the road. These are things that need to be happening today," Bucci said.

The Pentagon has spent more than a year organizing itself for cybersecurity preparedness, including setting up the Cyber Command and individual cyber components for each service, Bucci said. Now is the time to execute those plans, he added.

But the future of cyber defense funding is caught up in the midst of a budget impasse. DoD simply cannot execute contracts if it doesn't have the funds appropriated.

The department "can't take the steps forward and develop the capabilities they need," Bucci said.

Read Bucci's posts for the Security Debrief Blog. This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update brought to you by Tripwire. For more cybersecurity news, click here.