July 7, 2008
Following on the heel’s of General Lord’s interview on Slashdot some months back, the Army’s Lt Col John Bircher responds to questions about the Army’s role in Cyberspace.
I really like the fact that the armed services are making this effort to engage. We are no where near creating the kind of uniform to volunteer continuum that Richard Bejtlich discusses in his recent post about the USAF Cyber Symposium and I think there is much more practical day to day participation that can be done, but these kinds of baby steps toward are important and should be applauded.
On a recent panel at USAF Cyber Symposium I suggested that the USAF Cyber Command should avoid looking inward for the answers to every question and should look for opportunities to engage a wider community. As an example, I suggested that they make their Internet boundary router tap data available to researchers and volunteers as a way to get more eyes looking for patterns of potential intrusions. At one level this kind of proposal is simple pragmatism; get more eyes on the data ala wikipedia or Linux and do a better job solving problems. However, there is a an idealistic angle as well. I believe that in a Democratic Republic it is imperative that people stay involved at some meaningful and personal level with things like governance and defense. On an intuitive level I get nervous when the government and military turn inwards and see themselves as separate and distinct from the people they are governing and defending.
In his response to question number 8 Lt Col Bircher himself discusses this growing concern. There are things in the sphere of Cyberwarfare that are unlikely to become fully transparent anytime in the near future, but the more the membrane between the military professional caste and the people it supports is made permeable, the more room there will be for trust to develop and the more effective the military will be.
• • •