Healey(*): “With cyber, it’s not just that it’s classified, it’s that they really aren’t sure what the cyber domain is going to look like,

US spending on cyber, both defensive and offensive, will continue to grow in the coming years, including in the fiscal 2015 budget, officials said. But while the money has poured in, there are still questions to be answered as to how that money should be spent as the military settles what cyber preparedness really means.

US cyber Command (CYBERCOM) officially got more than $500 million for 2014, although experts say that number is dwarfed by the total spending on cyber, much of which is buried in areas of the budget that get lesser scrutiny and total in the billions.

Asked about the 2015 budget at a late February conference, acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox confirmed that cyber spending will continue to be strong.

The bulk of the money is going to training cyber teams, for offensive and defensive purposes.

CYBERCOM’s commander, Gen. Keith Alexander, acknowledged some of the work that’s required in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 27. “US cyber Command, with the services and other partners, are doing something that our military has never done before,” he wrote. “We are putting in place foundational systems and processes for organizing, training, equipping and operating our military cyber capabilities to meet cyber threats. USCYBERCOM and the services are building a world class, professional and highly capable force in readiness to conduct full spectrum cyberspace operations.”

To that end, he wrote that 17 of the planned 133 cyber mission teams are operating.

The emphasis on training new people makes sense given the previous shortage, said Ian Wallace, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Some have argued that service-specific cyber doesn’t make sense, given that networks are largely the same and a sailor can just as effectively defend an Army network as a soldier. The idea of creating a unified cyber force has been floated.

Most of these discussions are taking place behind the scenes. cyber, having come from the world of intelligence and still bridging the divide, with the National Security Agency and CYBERCOM sharing a commander, has been even more shadowy than most military realms. The secrecy, however, isn’t the primary problem, Healey said, “With cyber, it’s not just that it’s classified, it’s that they really aren’t sure what the cyber domain is going to look like,”

from ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS    defensenews.com

(*) Jason Healey, director of the Atlantic Council’s cyber Statecraft Initiative

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