Tag Archives: DoD

US Military’s First Comprehensive Operational Energy Strategy Released

By Richard Andres, PhD; Christine Zaino, Research Assistant;
Kevin Ostlie, Research Assistant

Energy and Environmental Security Policy Program

 

For the first time, the Department of Defense (DoD) has published a comprehensive strategy for operational energy. Energy for the Warfighter: Operational Energy Strategy, published by the newly established Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs (ASD(OEPP)), was released last month. Initial reactions to the document were mixed: some welcomed the inaugural strategy, while others felt it lacked specific goals and performance measures. The criticisms, however, are misplaced. The strategy is an important and appropriate first step to improving and unifying DoD energy policy. The new strategy sets the stage for OEPP, mandated by Congress in 2009, to harmonize operational energy policy under an ASD-level office and allows greater opportunities for the military to act as a leader and first mover in the advancement of energy efficiency endeavors and technologies.

The Operational Energy Strategy (OES) focuses on operational energy use – “energy used by military forces in execution of their day-to-day missions.” This focus on operations rather than domestic installations is important because the Services—with the notable exception of the Marine Corps—have often placed greater emphasis on installations than operations.  The OES, on the other hand, attempts to “guide the Department of Defense in how to better use energy resources to support the Department’s operational needs and the Nation’s strategic energy security goals.” As the strategy points out, it is important that DoD align its energy policy with its core mission to ensure American security. Suboptimal energy use in the field contributes to vulnerabilities – more than 3000 military personnel were casualties of attacks on supply lines in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2007. The volatility of energy prices and global competition for scarce energy resources like petroleum also underscores the need to reduce energy consumption. Operational energy took up 75% of all U.S. military energy used in 2009, making it a crucially important focus in energy planning.

Beyond increasing the Department’s focus on operations, the new strategy also plays an important role in helping to coordinate action across the Services. As the leader and underwriter of global security across “the five domains” – air, land, sea, space and cyberspace – the U.S. military relies on energy to achieve its core mission. Before the creation of OEPP, each branch of the military had established energy visions that were compatible, but rarely synchronized. The OES builds on existing approaches by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps but is unique in that it provides direction across the Department.

In terms of its content, the new Strategy lists “3 Principle Ways” to improve DoD energy policy. These include: “More Fight, Less Fuel,” which addresses reducing energy demand; “More Options, Less Risk,” which focuses on diversifying energy sources; and “More Capability, Less Cost,” which emphasizes that future planning on “force structure, posture and strategy” should be done with energy in mind. These are all compatible with the key points of the military’s energy vision. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps all focus on using energy more effectively in order to serve their national security mission by increasing efficiency and curtailing use when possible to reduce demand, securing access to energy supplies including the development of alternative sources, and looking to the future – “serv[ing] as a model to the nation,” being “resilient to any potential energy future,” inspiring “cultural change,” and “instilling a warrior ethos” that values energy as a weapon of war, respectively.

While the OES has been criticized as too vague, the document should be understood as the first piece in the overall energy plan. As the OEPP’s inaugural strategy issuance, it lays the groundwork necessary for future undertakings of the office. For the past few years, the Services have frequently replicated each other’s work and failed to field promising new technologies—often simply due to a lack of coordination between Services and between domestic institutions and warfighters.  Among other things, the OES will help to optimize energy initiatives across the Services by lowering the chances of duplication of efforts and by highlighting and filling in the gaps that have resulted from stovepiped programs. In addition to providing an overarching direction for DoD energy projects, merging these efforts under the responsibility of OEPP will provide a level of transparency in energy policy that has not been prevalent in DoD culture. The new strategy is a step toward treating energy with the same respect that is given to other tools of war. New energy initiatives across the Services and in the civilian world can be better leveraged under a coordinated energy strategy. Successes like the Marine Corps’ SPACES technology (backpack-portable solar power units that can recharge batteries, lightening a soldier’s load by 10 pounds or more, and reducing the need to resupply) and promising advances like the Navy’s 50/50 bio-fuel/JP-8 blend jet fuels are more likely to be shared and diffused throughout the Department under a unified strategy.

It will be important to see how OEPP builds upon the foundational Operational Energy Strategy with its forthcoming implementation plan. Intended to be released 90 days following the OES, the implementation plan is slated to contain a set of goals with performance measurements and timetables. The OES indicates that the two documents should move forward together to create both short-term and long-term visions for operational energy, while establishing a viable roadmap containing the concrete goals and processes necessary to drive operational energy to the more efficient, diversified, and less costly institution conceptualized by the OES. Hopefully the implementation plan will address the criticisms voiced about the vagueness of the strategy.

The emphasis on long-term goals in the OES is a signal from OEPP that new ways of thinking about energy won’t be institutionalized overnight. The framework presented in the strategy is designed to be incorporated into training and curricula at the senior-level service schools so energy considerations become one of the routine factors of everyday decisions, evidenced under the third theme, which aims to include energy considerations in all future planning and training. General David Petraeus emphasized this approach when he issued a memorandum to the U.S. forces in Afghanistan that encouraged commanders to be mindful of routine energy consumption and ordered them to make “energy-informed” decisions in order to prevent energy consumption from limiting combat capabilities. The OES encourages this kind of attitude from high-level commanders across all Services and operations.

Although it was released months after its initial due date, the timing of the OES’s release may in fact be advantageous. One of the pressing issues facing new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is how to reduce the budget without reducing the capability and effectiveness of the U.S. military. Both Congress and President Obama have requested that DoD reduce expenditure both immediately and in the long-term, putting Panetta in a challenging situation. Finding more efficient, long-term energy solutions could become a significant factor in the budget equation. Given his energy conscious stances, Panetta is likely to make energy savings a high priority.

The release of the U.S. military’s first comprehensive Operational Energy Strategy will prove a valuable first step to increasing mission effectiveness in both the short and long terms. The forthcoming implementation plan is likely to do more. At the end of the day, what is most critical is that the new OEPP office acts as a coordinating force with and between the services that focuses on minimizing duplication, facilitating diffusion of new technology and techniques to the joint warfighting community and institutionalizing the Services’ successes.  All of this requires a light touch and an emphasis on the long game and the new strategy takes precisely this approach.

Dr. Richard B. Andres is Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College and Chair of the Energy & Environmental Security Policy Program at National Defense University.

Christine Zaino is a Research Assistant with the Energy & Environmental Security Policy Program at National Defense University. She is currently pursuing her MA in International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Kevin Ostlie is a Research Assistant with the Energy & Environmental Security Policy Program at National Defense University. He is currently pursuing his MA in Public Policy, concentrating in International Security and Economic Policy, at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

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South Korean Cybersecurity: Three Questions

By Brett Young, Research Assistant, American University, DC
Center for Technology and National Security Policy

 

The mid-April paralysis of the National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation (Nonghyup), South Korea’s fourth-largest retail bank, seemed to be another routine cyber incident in the same vein as recent, high-profile intrusions carried out against Sony (where attacks resulted in the breach of 100 million customers’ personal information) and Hyundai Capital (where hackers demanded a ransom for not releasing stolen information.) Preliminary investigations, however, showed that this was not the work of ordinary hackers. In early May, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office announced that the culprit was North Korea.

A network breach of the financial systems that underpin a vibrant modern economy, particularly one conducted not by a group of profit-seeking hacker-criminals, but by a sovereign nation-state with hostile intentions, raises a number of questions.

How should this alleged incident impact diplomatic relations with North Korea? After a bloody 2010, this year has seen a North Korean “charm offensive” with an emphasis on improving relations between the two Koreas. The North may be seeking food aid to stave off famine conditions, or may want a more stable situation for the 100th anniversary of Kim Il-Sung’s birthday in 2012. At the negotiating table, President Lee Myung-bak’s default position has been to seek apologies for the deaths of 50 citizens at the hands of the North in 2010. Yet any discussion of the Cheonan corvette sinking or the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island is met with vigorous denials and can lead to immediate termination of any talks by the North.

Nonghyup’s security breach was considerably more than a nuisance; since April 12, the bank has spent over $400 million on measures to prevent the loss of customer confidence. When the South sits down at the table with the North, should Nonghyup be on the agenda? Or is silence (or covert retaliation) best?

The North has shown the ability to change their diplomatic posture overnight; their “charm offensive” posture may not last. When dealing with a regime that specializes in provocation, South Korea needs to define what manner of cyber incidents will be permitted to derail ongoing negotiations.

At the national level, how should South Korea pursue cybersecurity down the road? The security team at Nonghyup ignored financial sector regulations regarding strength of passwords, and internally permitted use of passwords that were deemed too weak to be used by their own customers.

Previous cyber intrusions in the ROK were enabled by the malware spread through popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing websites. In the past, South Korea has tried to combat cyber intrusions by increasing public awareness through mass and social media. But the economic motivation to use P2P websites—and get goods for free—will remain, despite government campaigns. South Korea can create more vigorous laws regarding network protection, but must do so in a fashion that will not create a counterproductive environment where reluctance to cooperate is the preferred corporate response to a network breach.

Internationally, the Nonghyup case will never end up before the United Nations. Last year’s sinking of the Cheonan resulted in a UN Presidential Statement condemning the attack. But in cyberspace, attribution—being able to directly attribute an intrusion to a source—remains the thorniest in a thicket of issues. North Korea’s involvement has been alleged, not proven—as with two other previous cyber incidents in the South. Some experts and media outlets disagreed, noting that technical evidence cited by the National Police Agency can be manipulated by competent hackers. As a state with one of the highest broadband connectivity rates in the world, South Korea is better off continuing to bolster its defenses: it has both a Cyber Warfare Command and Cyber Terror Response Center, and roughly doubled funding for the former in April. 

Finally, there is the broader question of the gradual increase in cyber intrusions against states, and what states are to do about them. Recent years have seen increasingly brazen network intrusions, threatening state secrets, which costs time and money. Intelligence agencies, military planners, and policymakers are grappling with the question of how exactly to respond to certain types of intrusions—and what, if any, level of a cyber incident would require the answer of a real-world, kinetic response.

An event which broke as this went to press will certainly have the attention of Seoul. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Defense is soon to release its cybersecurity strategy, possibly containing precedent-setting answers to the question posed above.

All three questions bear close scrutiny not only by South Korean policymakers, but by those interested in shaping policy for effective cybersecurity around the world.

Brett Young is a graduate student at American University’s School of International Service, where he focuses on security studies in East Asia. He is currently researching aspects of cybersecurity for NDU’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy. He previously interned at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, DC.

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A Weapon of Biblical Proportions?

By Micah J. Loudermilk, Center for Strategic Research

abstract small blue technology imageThe past several weeks have witnessed an explosion of reports on the recently-discovered Stuxnet malware, referred to as the world’s first cyber super-weapon. Suspicions that the worm was custom-designed to target a nuclear facility in Iran – perhaps Bushehr or Natanz – have grown with the passage of time since Stuxnet infections appear heavily concentrated in Iran, perhaps reaching a breaking point since a text string was found deep inside Stuxnet’s code containing an allusion to the Biblical figure Esther, credited with saving the Jews from destruction by the Persians. As cyber experts worldwide race to decode and understand Stuxnet – numerous questions are arising regarding the incredible sophistication of the attacks, who is responsible for it, and what the end result will be when the worm finds its target. However, equally important and not yet analyzed are two important questions about the longer-term consequences of Stuxnet in the cyber sphere.

First, can cyber attacks be defended against? Troublingly, the short answer to that question appears to be “no” – at least not with any degree of consistency and reliability. Stuxnet opened the door on a whole new field of cyber warfare, previously considered impossible, and with it a slew of new possibilities for attacks. Operating without human guidance and capable of taking over industrial control systems, Stuxnet is a perfect example of how rapidly the cyber field is evolving, consistently leaving those seeking to defend against attacks playing catch-up.

On the surface, the superiority of offensive capabilities compared to their defensive counterparts is relatively simple: an offensive system is successful if it strikes once, but a defensive system has zero margin for error. This equation is magnified on the cyber front where new loopholes and critical vulnerabilities are found and exploited by attackers faster than they can be closed and protected. When coupled with the near-instantaneous speed at which networks operate, defense against attacks becomes infinitely more difficult.

Second, is the realm of cyber warfare officially open for business? Sure, for years the Chinese and other entities have been hacking DoD networks, the U.S. electrical grid, and other critical infrastructure, but the Stuxnet malware is potentially the first real-world case using a worm to destroy a physical target. While no mechanism exists by which to define at what point a cyber attack or infiltration becomes an act of war, it seems clear that there must be a line, but where should one draw it? Should Iran’s Bushehr or Natanz plant be destroyed by this cyber attack, is it necessarily any different from utilizing jet fighters or missiles to achieve the objective? These are all vital questions which must be addressed, not simply in the case of Stuxnet, but broadly speaking.

Notwithstanding of this episode’s outcome, the door into this terrifying world – where targets can be hit and critical infrastructure compromised without a nation or group taking any tangible action – is potentially open. The possibilities are immense, and the problems even greater – in large part due to the attribution problem. Regardless of whether or not the destruction of another nation’s nuclear plant crosses any arbitrary lines, absent knowledge of what country is responsible for unleashing it (without even addressing the possibility of rogue group actions), a concerted response is difficult. The danger here, and one already obvious from the cyber attacks directed daily at the U.S., is that countries can take actions against other states from the relative safety of anonymity, potentially giving rise to an increased use of cyber tactics as a means to asymmetrically attack one’s opponents.

Ultimately, it may never be known who perpetrated the Stuxnet worm or what, if any, the effects were on Iran’s nuclear program (assuming that is indeed the target). One can draw conclusions from delays to the launch of the Bushehr facility, but these delays have been persistent and Iran continues to deny that any of its nuclear facilities have been adversely affected (despite being infected). However, it is crucial to understand that cyber attacks of this type are now fully within the realm of possibility and, as ideas previously only imagined in science-fiction movies move ever closer to reality, the strategic calculus of U.S. policymakers must learn to adjust quickly and accordingly.

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Can a Cyber Warfare Strategy be Defined?

By Eric Crownover, Center for Technology and National Security Policy

Binary Code

Cyber Warfare

Throughout history, those who have studied war have sought to understand the nature of warfare. Strategists have frequently written on the development of military strategy whether it focuses on the principles of warfare or on the influence technological advances (i.e. sea power, air power, and nuclear power) have had on the development of military strategy. The nature of warfare is constantly being revisited and cyber warfare is of great importance in the discussion of future warfare.

Military strategists must develop an understanding of how cyber capabilities can be used in military strategy. The United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) will need to attempt to address this problem. After achieving Initial Operating Capability in May of 2010, USCYBERCOM is expected to achieve full operational capability this October.

USCYBERCOM’s focus is to centralize cyberspace operations, strengthen Department of Defense cyber capabilities, and bolster DOD’s cyber expertise utilizing components from all branches of the military. Securing cyberspace is a main objective of the United States. In order to achieve this objective, USCYBERCOM along with other components must be proactive and develop a comprehensive understanding of cyber warfare.

According to the United States National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, the United States is “now fully dependent on cyberspace.” Thus, the unimpeded successful functioning of cyberspace is crucial for everyday activities.  The threat has been identified but what now? Can the lessons of history help inform the development of a cyber strategy?

Military strategists have suggested that deterrence can be utilized in cyber warfare. Deterrence seeks to prevent a specific action from happening. For deterrence to work, the policymaker must understand what action will deter a specific actor. Even though a specific action has not occurred does it imply that deterrence worked? In order to apply deterrence to cyber warfare, who are the actors facilitating these incursions? What drives these actors? What actions will deter these actors? Deterrence has had historical value, but how or can the theory adapt to the cyber domain?

What is the difference between cyber warfare and cyber attacks? Clausewitz stated that war is an expression of politics by other means. Thus, war is an action between states. However, inherent to the attribution problem, is a cyber attack an attack perpetrated by an individual or is it cyber war perpetrated by a state? Cyber attacks occur over cyber networks; cyber attacks are not geographically bound; the networks are geographically bound but cyber attacks are a global capability. Thus, in order to create a strategy one must reliably discern the difference between a cyber attack and cyber war.

If cyber attacks and cyber war are discernible, can lessons learned from Thucydides and Sun-Tzu to present day nuclear strategists be applicable to cyber warfare? Or does a 21st century threat require unique 21st century thought?

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FOREBODING FAREWELL: DOD LEADERSHIP IN FLUX

by Kimberley Berlin & Jordyn Dowd

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announcement of retirement comes at a time when the DOD is facing increasing pressure in Afghanistan, looming budget cuts and discussions about its proper role in the future.

Appointed as SECDEF by President George W. Bush in 2006, the former Director of Central Intelligence, has proven himself to be a force in the political landscape. Asked by President Obama to stay on – an unusual request in the partisan politics of Washington – Gates’ performance has rewarded the President’s faith in him. Widely respected for providing exceptional leadership to a Department heavily stressed by multiple conflicts and major procurement problems, Gates has worked to prepare the Department for a future of continued conflicts, declining budgets and rising threats. While his retirement is no surprise, he will be a very tough act to follow.

Will his impending retirement adversely impact the Department and this administration?

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Confused Chickens Come Home to Roost

By Christopher J. Lamb, PhD, Director, Center for Strategic Research

This past month the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced that the term PSYOP, short for psychological operations, is being replaced by the term “military support to information operations” (MISO).  Stephen Walt writes amusingly in his July 7 blog for Foreign Policy that this is a classic George Carlin moment of euphemism trumping clarity.  Yes it is, but it also reflects a decade long lobbying effort from some PSYOP practitioners who are confused about the purpose of their own operations.   

 In 2003, after prolonged internal debate and review, the Pentagon approved the Information Operations Roadmap that focused PSYOP on “support to military endeavors in non-permissive or semi-permissive environments (i.e. when adversaries are part of the equation).”  Many PSYOP professionals refused to accept these constraints designed to draw a clear distinction between PSYOP and Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.  They argued PSYOP could be benign and employed for a wide range of information purposes and that it could include friendly forces and populations. 

 In April, 2005, I was asked by senior PSYOP leaders in the Pentagon to comment on a proposal to change the name of PSYOP to something “more benign.”  These officials argued “PSYOP carries negative connotations that have persisted since WWII despite successful and honorable DoD PSYOP employments in numerous peacetime and conflict environments for the past 70 years.  Until the term PSYOP is changed, the problem of image will persist.”  In other words, they thought the problem was one of image rather than substance.  Here are excerpts from my response that attempts to clarify the real issue (using PA to refer to public affairs and PD for public diplomacy):

 …My major comment is that I would have to disagree with the underlying premise in the paper, which is the argument that the real problem is misperceptions about the nature of PSYOP that can be corrected with name changes….  In my view PSYOP is a real, substantive discipline that can be and should be distinguished from PA and PD.  It is not just “all true information” from different USG sources.  This is the key issue, one that the paper glosses over.  Let me try to make my case to you that PSYOP is substantively different from PA and PD. 

 PSYOP is distinguished from PA and PD by its purpose and its TTPs [tactics, techniques and procedures].  The purpose of PSYOP is to support military operations, not promote American foreign policy.  It does the latter in support of the former, but the rock bottom reason we have military personnel conducting PSYOP is that other military personnel need their help, not because disseminating PA and PD in some environments is too dangerous and only military personnel are willing or asked to take those risks. 

 This is no minor issue.  Military operations are conducted primarily and ultimately to defeat enemies of the United States.  This means that in most, if not all situations, the purpose of PSYOP is to make military operations more effective, not look out for the interests of other parties.  Again, PSYOP may help others besides the US military, but this is incidental to their real purpose.  If you look at the professional literature on persuasive communications, most of the “ethics” discussion comes down to a question of whether you have the target audience’s best interests at heart.  PSYOP may provide information that is helpful to a target audience, but fundamentally it exists to further the interests of our military personnel and their endeavors, not those of the target audience.  This is why PSYOP is ethically suspect in PA and PD circles.  Both these disciplines can make a stronger claim to speaking in the interests of the audience; PD less than PA, but both much more so than PSYOP.  It is this real, substantive fact that makes PSYOP a problem for PA and PD, not just the label.  In short, the enduring image problem PSYOP has with PA and PD is related to its true nature, not just the edgy, manipulative implication of the PSYOP label itself.  (In fact, if you will forgive my saying so, I think we must keep the PSYOP name in the perhaps forlorn, even desperate hope that we can remind PSYOP personnel of their true calling!)

Concerning PSYOP TTPs, on the emotion-reason continuum PSYOP will be found to use more emotion, and on occasion deception, than PD or PA can tolerate.  There is no way to hide this fact.  It is possible to get around the minor deception problem by insisting that when PSYOP deceives, it is doing deception, not PSYOP.  This is the same argument the IO Roadmap makes for PSYOP doing PD by the way.  It is still a bit disingenuous.  Some PSYOP messages by their very nature lead the target audiences to untrue conclusions or conclusions that are not wholly true, and many would see a small element of deception (as in misrepresentation) in those tactics just as you would in much Madison Avenue advertising.  Obviously PSYOP avoids blatant untruths that would be counterproductive and undermine PSYOP credibility with the target audience. ….Again, changing the name to fool the other USG persuasive communication disciplines will not work.  As for the MIST team, it works not because the name is changed (although that helps), but because it is a free resource to help the embassy do PA and PD tasks for which it is not properly staffed.  The price PSYOP pays for giving the free resource away is not just less PSYOP talent focused on PSYOP, but confusion in the ranks of PSYOP about what PSYOP really is.

If PSYOP is substantively different than PA and PD in ways that require distinctions to be made between these disciplines, a name change will not solve the problem we have.  In fact, it will make the problem worse.  You won’t fool the PA and PD guys.  They may take free PSYOP resources if sufficiently disguised, but they will remain convinced that PSYOP neither understands nor intends to stay true to its purpose (or in its lane).  As a result, we will get less of the very important coordination that we need.

In short, this issue has been long debated, and apparently those within the PSYOP community who wanted the name change have finally prevailed.  It is unfortunate on several levels, but that would be the subject of a longer blog.  Here I just wanted to clarify the real issue that is behind the name change and share the lament of PSYOP icons like Alfred Paddock, Jr. who argued against the name change in Joint Forces Quarterly (“Legitimizing Army Psychological Operations” (JFQ 56, 1st quarter 2010) and in the pages of the Small Wars Journal: PSYOP: On a Complete Change in Organization, Practice, and Doctrine.  As a previous NDU Press blogger noted (at http://ndupress.blogspot.com/), “For Paddock and many others, MISO is likely to be a no-go.”  Ditto on the no go on MISO!

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