Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, reiterated the Army’s commitment to expanding its cyber-capabilities as part of the service’s new grand strategy, known as regionally aligned forces.
Speaking to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Odierno said the Army’s ability to conduct both offensive and defensive cyber-operations will be critical to the military’s ability to remain a deterrent force to potential adversaries and to defeat future enemies.
“In some cases, you can consider it a new form of maneuver,” Odierno said. “It’s a relatively inexpensive way to attempt to impact issues around the world. It’s about a capability that people can now exploit in order to try to gain advantages.”
And while he said he didn’t want “to point fingers” at any particular country as a potential adversary in cyberspace, Odierno did mentioned China, Iran and Russia as having a military presence in cyberspace.
From a military perspective, Odierno said it will be critical for the Army to be able to protect and defend its networks and systems in order to operate effectively in the post-Afghanistan era. The Defense Department, he said, must think about how cyberspace will impact future warfare. “Because it is going to impact future warfare,” he said.
As a national security issue, the ability to protect and defend cyberspace is critical to preventing adversaries from gaining the ability to influence events and decisions in the U.S., Odierno said.
“It’s about our ability to protect our financial networks, our infrastructure,” he said. “And we have to recognize that this is a new form of people attempting potentially to influence what is going on in the United States.”
For its part in the national effort to bolster the nation’s ability to operate effectively and safely in cyberspace, Odierno said the Army plans to stand up an Army Cyber Center of Excellence. The center will focus on developing cyber-doctrine, innovation, integrating cyber-capabilities with Army forces, and training.
The move comes on the heels of the Army’s decision to consolidate all of Army Cyber Command under one headquarters located at Fort Gordon, Ga. Since its establishment in 2010, the Army’s Cyber Command has been located in seven buildings and leased office space scattered across the Washington, D.C., area, most notably an element at the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade.
“We’re doing this in order to create the capabilities and expertise to deal with [cyber-threats],” Odierno said. “We already have some significant capability, but we’re going to expand it.”
But Odierno acknowledged the Army and the nation as a whole will have to deal with “some very important and fundamental legal and policy issues” as the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities confront an increasing number of cyber-threats.