DoD preparing to release new cyber strategy

Officials at the Defense Department in the coming days will release a new cyber strategy that “will guide DoD’s activities in cyberspace in defense and support of U.S. national interests,” according to one official.

Eric Rosenbach, assistant secretary of Defense for homeland defense and global security, on April 14 told lawmakers in a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee that the new strategy is part of broader plans to strengthen the Pentagon’s cybersecurity posture.

“To show that we’re thinking very clearly about this, next week we’ll release a new strategy for the department that will guide the way forward for the next several years in cyber,” Rosenbach said, adding that Defense Secretary Ash Carter is driving the effort.

The new strategy will build on previous documents and initiatives in DoD.

“Over the past several years, DoD’s approach toward cyberspace has continued to evolve and mature,” Rosenbach said in his testimony. “Once approved by the Secretary, we plan to conduct a series of briefings and discussions with members of Congress and their staffs. This strategy builds upon our previous cyber strategy from 2011, the national security missions and objectives of the 2014 National Security Strategy, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review and the 2011 International Strategy for Cyberspace.”

Rosenbach’s testimony came on the same day that a Marine Corps official said the service is in the process of developing its own doctrine for cyberspace operations. The Marine Corps-specific plans will stem from DoD-wide cyber doctrine and weave cyber operations into traditional warfare, network security and electronic warfare – rather that stand as a separate type of capability.

The Marines’ cyber doctrine is still an interim draft document and will face ongoing fine-tuning, according to Col. Gregory Breazile, the commander of the Marine Corps’ cyber and electronic warfare integration division.

“We call it an interim publication because we know we’re going to learn over the next couple of years about how we operate in this domain,” Breazile said April 14 at the Sea Air Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland, according to a Federal News Radio report. “We’re going to have to continually reshape our doctrine as we go forward.”

Along with the cyber doctrine, the Marine Corps also is updating its electronic warfare doctrine, Breazile noted.

“It’s going to complement the cyberspace operations doctrine so that we are moving forward in a unified effort in which the commander understands the capabilities he has on the front end,” he said. “It’s an organizing concept that brings the intelligence, communications and operations communities together so that they can do better planning for cyberspace and electronic warfare capabilities.”