Carter: Cyber Domain
Presents Profound Challenges
By Claudette Roulo, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – March 13, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash
Carter gave his first domestic troop talk as secretary to the cyber warriors
assigned to U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Maryland, today.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses the workforce at U.S.
The mission of Cybercom is vital to the economic and physical
security of not just the nation, but to Americans in their individual lives,
Carter said. “With all that's going on in the world, from Iraq to Ukraine, to
the Asia-Pacific, the domain that you protect -- cyberspace -- is presenting us
with some of the most profound challenges, both from a security perspective and
from an economic perspective,” he told the troops.
National leaders at every level are “seized with the need to get on top of this
problem,” the defense secretary said.
Building Bridges to Society
The Defense Department must be open to sources of good people
and new technology to better position itself to defend the nation in cyberspace,
“And that means we need to build bridges to society. Bridges
that aren't as necessary in other fields of warfare that don't have a civilian
or a commercial counterpart to the extent that this field does,” Carter said.
Transparency is a difficult goal in cyber defense, the secretary acknowledged,
but added that the department must always be open to new ideas and people.
“We can't always tell them what we are doing,” the defense
secretary said, “but we need to be open enough with our government so that it
knows what it's doing.”
The department must also be open to the ideas of new
generations, he said. “We need people who grew up with technology that was not
available when I was growing up, and therefore have a sixth sense about it which
I can never have,” Carter said.
The development of the cyber workforce can be a model for
DoD, he told the troops.
“The freshness of approach, the constant effort to stay up [and]
reinvent, that your field demands is actually something we can use everywhere in
the department,” the defense secretary said.
The cyber skill set and professional orientation doesn’t have
a good analog in the traditional armed services, Carter said. “For the
institutions that you join, be they military services or field agencies or new
commands, they are trying to figure out how to welcome this new breed of warrior
to their ranks,” he said.
"We have to figure out how to get it to fit in, so that you
all have a full opportunity to bring to bear on your careers the expertise that
you gained here and that sense of mission that you felt here," the defense
Challenges always accompany doing something new and exciting,
Carter said, adding that he is determined to create a place where cyber warriors
fit. "We'll find the path together," he said.
The relationship between Cybercom and the National Security Agency is also a
work in progress, Carter said.
“My view is that we're doing the right thing in having the
leadership of those two organizations in the same place,” he said. “And one way
of thinking about that is that we just don't have enough good people like you to
spread around, and we need to cluster our hits.”
Ensuring that cyber troops have the training, equipment and
resources they need is a high priority for the department, he said.
Sequester ‘Terrible, Stupid’
“If you read about sequester, which is a terrible, stupid
thing that we are doing to ourselves -- I have nothing good to say about it,”
Carter said, referring to the across-the board government spending cuts the
Budget Control Act of 2011 is set to impose in October. “But I think that even
in the era of sequester, we understand that this mission area is one we cannot
afford not to keep investing in.”
The cyber mission force represents American ideals in
cyberspace, he said. Keeping cyberspace open and free for everyone is its
central focus, the defense secretary said.
“We're the ones who stand with those who create and innovate
against those who would steal and destroy. That's the kind of country we are,
and that's the kind of cyber force we are,” he said. “We're going to execute our
mission while being as transparent as possible, because that's also who we are,”
“And that's why I wanted my remarks to you to be public,” he
told the troops. “That's an unusual thing for you, and I know that some of you
can't be seen on television because of the nature of your work. And [that] it's
rare that media come into the premises of this organization, but I wanted not
only you to know how important we know what you do is for the country, but
everyone else to hear that as well.”
(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews)
Special Report: The Cyber Domain – Security and Operations
U.S. Cyber Command
Department on Facebook
Department on Twitter
DoD News on Twitter
DoD News Broadcast Channel