The U.S. is moving closer to addressing legal barriers to using resources to protect the nation against cyber attacks, according to Gen. Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff.
“To protect our infrastructure right now, that’s a Homeland Security issue, not a Department of Defense issue,” Odierno said May 29 during an event sponsored by the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
“We have to resolve that,” he says. “What are we doing with the Internet? What are we doing to protect ourselves?”
The Pentagon has “severalfold capabilities” that can be used to protect the U.S. against cyber threats, he says. “The issue is how do they want to use those capabilities.”
The government has to find a way to do that legally, he says. “It’s starting to get closer to resolution.”
The Army has its own cyber issues to resolve, like how to push information down to the lowest level possible. “We have to get information from theater down the squad level,” Odierno says. “In this [current] environment, sometimes squads or platoons make strategic decisions.”
The Army must also make it easier for squads to react as quickly as possible to the information once they get it. “We have to make these squads mobile,” he says, touting the capabilities of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) to do just that. Humvees and Bradley Fighting Vehicles simply cannot accommodate the information technology potential of the JLTVs or GCVs, he says.
The Army, he says, has had to sacrifice too much mobility for survivability to defend against improvised explosive devices and other threats in recent conflicts. Now, he says, the service wants to focus more on being mobile.