1 July 2013
Cyber Command Suffers Second Defeat, Dump It
First Cyber Command Defeat:
Cyber Command suffered its second defeat with the win of Edward Snowden.
The first defeat was won by Bradley Manning. This suggests Cybercom deserves
dissolution and a better command instituted, or, best, nothing like it.
The commander for both losses, General Keith Alexander, has to go. And a
new, agile Cybercom, if it is to endure, needs to be separated from
the venerable, deeply experienced, albeit sclerotic, National Security Agency.
Different missions require different enabling legislation, leadership, funding,
policy, staffing, training, operation and security.
An effective Cybercom may not be possible within the military culture of
tradition, over-staffing, minutely specified military occupation specialty,
heirarchical rank, medieval separation of officers from enlisted members,
advancement in rank by longevity and favoritism, special training for combat,
and further divided between military and civilian -- the latter further
fragmented between inside civilians and outside contractors with multiple
The legislation and implementation of this complex traditional, command-driven
organization assures it will not be capable of handling the challenges of
cyber swarming, rapid evolution of technology and techniques -- much of it
grown outside established institutions -- youthful contempt for authority,
national and international disloyalty and disinterest, and most of all, ingrained
For this insurgency, outwitting national security establishments is considered
to be sport, a game, a test of prowess, bragging rights, and it is winning
in cyber space, only periodically, laughingly infrequently, defeated, caputured
and imprisoned by use of legacy, lumbering, clumsy, expensive,
failure-and-excuse-prone mechanisms, in which legacy leaders like NSA, FBI,
CIA, White House and Congress -- supported by contractors, lobbyists and
donors -- can only dissimulate, apologize and promise to do better with more
funding and more draconian crack-down on civil liberties.
Cyber Command is a failure -- sibling of Department of Homeland Security
-- a boondoggle, a huge transfer of funds to the cybersecurity (and homeland
security) industry from legacy military pork barrels. Thousands of
suitably-skilled youngsters -- most self-trained by a subversive culture
hostile to authority -- have been enlisted, hired and contracted to run cyber
offensive and defensive operations under the rigidly ranked command of military
officers accustomed to obedience and respect of rank.
Cybersecurity contracting -- commercial and institutional -- is an equally
great failure. It too is a boondoggle, spoiled rotten with generous and
laxly-overseen funding, often led by ex-military officers and those long
accustomed to military grade perquisites, protected by secrecy, back-slapping,
insider favoritism, laziness, lack of competition, forgiveness of corruption,
shallow and classified IG investigation, all the attributes of its single
customer, the national security consortium beloved of governments and autocrats.
No wonder the coddled and well-paid youngsters defy, dance around, ridicule
and outrun these balloon-headed officers and liquored-contractors, this is
what they have done most of their teenage and adult lives. Their loyalty
is to their own culture, open, non-secret, disputatious, daring and fun-filled,
most emphatically not venerated-military or rich-contractor grade.
What would a replacement for Cybercom be like? Not military, not commercial,
not NGO, then what?
Plenty of cyber initiatives are underway which demonstrate effective alternatives
to heirarchical military, commercial and NGO cyber deadwood. They have been
created and are run by some of the most brilliant brains and imaginations
in the world, agile, cheap, mostly volunteer and leaderless, disputatious,
humorous, dismissive of authority of any kind, gov, mil, com, edu, org.
Don't expect to hire or contract or academicize them. The best of them do
not go inside institutions -- except to social engineer and disclose the
secrets of authoritative corruption.
Examples abound: just read the official demonizations of outsiders spilling
insider secrets of gov, mil, com and ngo.
Instead of wasting treasure on dim-witted cybercommands listen to those
secret-spilling demons, better understood as angels out-dancing the pinheads.