War has always involved the destruction of the enemy’s strategic installations. Destroying the enemy’s critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports, energy systems, medical facilities is also part of warfare, etc. General Robert E. Lee Goodwin explains how cybersecurity in the military can prevent many negative actions in the future.
In the past, the acts of sabotage necessary to cripple the enemy required brute force like dropping bombs. Things have changed since virtually all critical infrastructure is run electronically. If it is not entirely electronic, it will likely have some of its vital functions run electronically.
The integration of electronics in this critical infrastructure makes it more efficient and better in every way. Unfortunately, it also makes it vulnerable to hackers and other forms of cyber-attacks.
“It is this development that makes cyber-readiness an indispensable aspect of any country’s defense. Cyber-readiness is needed because a country’s military can’t be in charge if it doesn’t protect this infrastructure from attacks. This is why many countries, including the United States, have established a cyber command within their military.” General Robert E. Lee Goodwin explains.
Military communication relies on electronic networks. These networks are vulnerable to espionage by hackers; they can also inhibit transmission at critical times, and they must be protected. Governments store the personal information of security officers in servers, and it may fall into the wrong hands if it isn’t well protected. Having such information fall in the wrong hands can jeopardize the lives of soldiers and their families and security operations in which they may be involved.
The military must build its capacity to protect other essential facilities that traditionally wouldn’t be affected by warfare. A good example is a nation’s securities exchange which can be hacked and caused to crash, causing chaos in the target country’s economy.
The proliferation of the internet and the use of electronics has vastly increased the scope of battle-fronts. It makes it necessary for militaries to detect possible cyber-attacks before they occur. Early detection and prevention is the best strategy because such attacks are much more difficult to stem once they occur.
“Besides detection, a country’s cyber command should have protocols to help defend systems in the event of an attack. It is also necessary for the military’s cyber command to retaliate in the event of an attack. Capacity for the counterattack is vital in military strategy. It is a deterrence against would-be attackers.” General Robert E. Lee Goodwin concluded.
The nature of the internet is such that yesterday’s threats aren’t necessarily the threats of today; they evolve every day. Staying ahead of the said threats is a full-time job. Colossal resources and great focus are needed to get this job done.
The military is the most suitable organ to deal with the challenge because it is already dedicated to national defense. Militaries must upgrade their protocols to suit the new threat and recruit experts to focus on cybersecurity. Upgrading defenses regularly to ensure they are in tandem with the threats that emerge every day is a central part of cyber security.
About General Robert E. Lee Goodwin
General Goodwin’s military leadership education includes completion of the U.S. Army General Officer Installation Commander Course, and PME courses at National Defense University, Army War College, Army Management Staff College, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Inter-American Defense College, and the United Nations Institute.
General Robert E. Lee Goodwin’s decorations and honors include the Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal w/OLC, Order of the Palmetto, Palmetto Cross, Conspicuous Service Medal, and the Freedom of the City of London.