The Department of Defense needs industry’s help to stop the more than six million cyber attacks hitting the Pentagon each day, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency said.
Alexander said DOD needs private sector cooperation in reporting computer network attacks in real time to stop what has been the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
“We need to see the attack,” he said. “If we can’t see the attack, we can’t stop it. We have to have the ability to work with industry — our partners — so that when they are attacked, they can share that with us immediately.”
Alexander said that he supports legislation that would require private companies to report attacks, and added that such reporting needs to happen before an attack is complete.
The general compared the current situation to a missile being fired into U.S. airspace with no radars to see it. “Today, we’re in the forensics mode,” he said. “When an attack occurs, we’re told about it after the fact.”
Alexander added, though, that industry should be monitoring their own systems with help from Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security. “I do not believe we want the NSA or Cyber Command or the military in our networks, watching it,” he said.
The Defense Department’s request of $3.4 billion for Cyber Command in fiscal 2013 is one of the few areas of growth in the DOD budget.
The command has made progress toward its goals of making cyber space safer, maintaining freedom of movement there, and defending the vital interests of the United States and its allies, Alexander said. The command also is working toward paring down the department’s 15,000 separate networks, he said.