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However, though Cyber Command and NSA share technical similarities in their operations, they operate under distinct legal authorities for different purposes. NSA, with authority from Title 50 of the U. Code, is responsible for conducting signals intelligence collection , which involves accessing computer networks for the purpose of secretly gathering information from them. Conversely, Cyber Command primarily derives its authority from Title 10 and is responsible for conducting military computer network operations , which involves accessing computer networks for the purpose of creating noticeable effects on them.

Cyber Command, in its earliest days, was essentially an organizational arm of NSA established to provide legality for conducting operations that NSA possessed the technical capability to execute, but not the legal authority. The dual hat arrangement was never intended to be permanent. That NDAA established a specific set of criteria to terminate the dual hat relationship.

In addition to ensuring legal compliance with the myriad authorities and orders pertaining to cyberspace operations, review processes focus on risk management. Strategic-level operations conducted by Cyber Command undergo exhaustive review and approval processes meant to minimize risk to tradecraft, capabilities, and security.

Operational security is of critical importance to cyberspace operations, where the efficacy of a weapon system hinges upon its ability to operate secretly. For every operation Cyber Command executes, joint leaders and operations planners must meticulously calculate and evaluate the risk associated with that particular operation.

This is an exceedingly complicated task that requires detailed knowledge of the operations planning and approval process, in addition to technical familiarity with the underlying technologies associated with the operation. In developing this process, Cyber Command has relied heavily on the experience of NSA, using similar processes to ensure that risk is minimized. In the words of Gen.

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Imposing cost implies inflicting noticeable damage to a target in a manner that would typically be considered too noisy, risky, or noticeable in signals intelligence operations. When conducting offensive cyberspace operations, there are essentially two ways to acquire access to a target system: using credentials to masquerade as a legitimate user, and using a vulnerability to exploit a system. In a masquerade, an attacker uses valid credentials, such as a username and password, to log in to the target system as an authorized user.

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organize, train, and equip so that DoD can take full advantage of cyberspace's potential. 5. Strategic Initiative 2: Employ new defense operating concepts to. The U.S. Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace is a formal assessment of the challenges and opportunities inherent in increasing.

Conversely, an exploit relies on the existence of a technical vulnerability that allows an attacker to gain unauthorized access to a system. Exploitation relies on a system functioning incorrectly, and is significantly more likely to produce alerts that can expose an attack. To assess the risk associated with these types of operations, Cyber Command solicits approval from an array of staffs and reviewers.

U.S. Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace

In part because Cyber Command has relied heavily on NSA training, support, and experience to establish these processes, exploitation operations — which by nature carry a greater risk of detection — are subject to increased standards of scrutiny. Likewise, operations that produce a noticeable effect, such as a denial-of-service attack, are typically viewed with aversion.

In reality, the operations approval structure of Cyber Command is set up to prioritize the security of operations above all else, and is extremely risk-averse. However, as long as it relies on NSA tradecraft and expertise Cyber Command will continue to use a paradoxical operations process that is fundamentally opposed to the exact type of mission it is charged with conducting.

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  • Cyber Command, the NSA, and Operating in Cyberspace: Time to End the Dual Hat?

The review process for a Cyber Command operation also requires an equities review by a multitude of government, intelligence, and military stakeholders. The idea is that all relevant parties have an opportunity to address potential concerns with a proposed offensive cyberspace operation.

While one of the principal original concerns with the dual hat arrangement was the potential for unfair prioritization of Cyber Command support requests to the NSA, the equities review process has instead created the opposite problem. The responsibility of balancing the prioritization of the distinct missions of two different organizations should not be delegated to a single individual.

Other actors, such as North Korea and Iran, have similarly employed malicious cyber activities to harm U.

The DOD "seeks to preempt, defeat or deter malicious cyber activity targeting U. Because adversaries depend more and more on similar computing and network technologies that DOD uses for its Joint Force warfighting, the department noted that it would work to exploit this reliance.

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The administration's goals include: to secure federal networks and critical information, combat cyber crime, improve incident reporting, support a resilient digital economy, protect American ingenuity, provide attribution to cyber crimes and develop a superior workforce. As part of that process, the administration aims to modernize electronic surveillance and computer crime legislation.

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Under the SROEs, US forces may use all necessary means available and all appropriate actions in self-defense, as long as they are consistent with the LOAC requirements of necessity and proportionality. As an example, an attempted intrusion against an important military facility may be motivated by the desire to collect information without tactical military value. Eric L. Michael Sulmeyer. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, Katherine Carroll is an attorney with expertise in financial institution regulation and national security policy. There is a new generation that is making its way up through the system now, but without senior leadership these may never stay in the Department long enough and be stripped off to contractors or industry.

With the issuance of the new National Cyber Strategy, the president promises his administration "will act to further enable the Department of Homeland Security DHS to secure federal department and agency networks. Posted by Kimberly Underwood. Both strategies recognize the vital nature of necessary American action in cyberspace to defend its interests.