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Ask the Air Force Cyber Command General About War in Cyberspace

Roblimo posted more than 6 years ago | from the play-the-ultimate-MMORPG dept.

The Military 315

We ran an article about the new Air Force Cyber Command and its recruiting efforts on February 13, 2008. Now Major General William Lord, who is in charge of this effort, has agreed to answer Slashdot users' questions. If you're thinking about joining up -- or just curious -- this is a golden opportunity to learn how our military is changing its command structure and recruiting efforts to deal with "cyberspace as a warfighting domain." Usual Slashdot interview rules apply.

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315 comments

Benefits? (0, Redundant)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603042)

What are some of the differences between this and other parts of the military, in terms of application requirements, benefits, pay, etc?

Re:Benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603138)

Is that William Lord or Lord William? In any case I welcome the new war over Lord!

Re:Benefits? (3, Interesting)

WeeLad (588414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603526)

What are some of the differences between this and other parts of the military, in terms of application requirements, benefits, pay, etc?


... and possibly as a follow up ... Why specifically is the Air Force the branch of the U.S. military to pursue this? Is there something about the USAF that makes it a better fit than the Navy or Army?

SLASHDOT USERS EAT MARE PUSSY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603076)

Degenerates, the lot of you.

Skynet? (2, Funny)

Trespass (225077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603078)

Have you heard enough Skynet jokes/references/analogies to make you want to kill the next guy that mentions it that thinks he's the King of Comedy?

Already in, how can I help? (4, Interesting)

whereizben (702407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603082)

General Lord, I am currently a member of the VT Air National Guard, and I have a bachelor's degree in computer science and work in IT for my civilian job - is there a good way that someone like me can be put to use in this effort without having to go onto active duty and relocate? Thanks - Ben

Re:Already in, how can I help? (4, Funny)

Catskul (323619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603288)

I for one welcome our new General (over)Lord.

Re:Already in, how can I help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603394)

I believe the proper manner of address is "O Lord".

Re:Already in, how can I help? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603436)

"Do you have information vegetable, animal and mineral?"

Re:Already in, how can I help? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603308)

I ignorant of the organizational relationship, but a friend of mine is Washington Air Guard, and attached to these people at McChord.

Re:Already in, how can I help? (1)

dedeman (726830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603498)

I don't know if you've even considered moving your reserve allegiance to a different state, but the RIANG has the 102nd Information Warfare Squadron. I used to be in it, and still have some friends that are.

It's a very cool position, but I don't what sort of particulars I should mention on here. Lots of contingency operations for organizations who deal with information warfare (network defense, etc).

I can put you in touch with people, if you'd like.

Re:Already in, how can I help? (0, Troll)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603608)

General Lord

Easy on the asskissing Ben, it won't land you a job. What do you think? That he's some sort of a Sith?
But best of luck in your future endeavors, just remember to stick to Unix, and not Windows.

Dear General Lord, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603632)

Why do you suck balding old men penises? Specifically, why do you suck the jism juice out of vice president cheyneys butthole after president bush blows his load inside?

Furthermore, I would like to know how many males in the American government you had to personally butt fuck to get to your position. Another question that comes to mind is, how often to do you look at the AT&T spy room in the name of terrorism, when in fact you are reading any information you like without a warrant?

Also how do you feel when Americans infiltrate your systems to spite your beaurocratically attempts to control 'cyber warfare'? How do you feel when Americans take down power grids in Florida to show that your 'government organization' is run by a bunch of monkeys with typewriters.

Finnaly, how much kiddie porn fo you view everyday on your government kiddie porn filters, and do you like 3 year old sex or kids fucking animals better?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Remote work? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603096)

Do you have telecommuting opportunities? Terrorists and criminals don't work out of a giant call center or office building, so I would hope that those fighting against them might not have to either.

Important question: (0, Offtopic)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603102)

To prepare against the eventuality of an attack upon our network infrastructure, exactly how much duct tape and plastic sheeting do you recommend we stock up on?

WHAT ARE THE NUCLEAR LAUNCH CODES? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603116)

what are they?

I NEED them.

for things.

As A Military Commander... (3, Insightful)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603120)

Does it ever wear you down that you have to look at anything and everything in the world as a potential tool or locale for warfare?

Re:As A Military Commander... (0, Redundant)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603198)

How did that get modded as a troll?

His job, as is the job of many military officials, is to look at EVERYTHING in the world as a potential weapon, to be used by or against "us". I am wondering how he carries on, after all these years, looking at things like the internet, which is inherently nonviolent, as a place for warfare.

Please try thinking beyond your screen when you mod.

Re:As A Military Commander... (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603466)

looking at things like the internet, which is inherently nonviolent, as a place for warfare

You probably got moddded down because your choice of language suggests a certain naivete.

The internet is nothing until someone uses it. Just like a roadside bomb, a watering can, a butterknife. Since it's pointless to talk about it unless you talk about how it's used, then what you're really talking about are the people that use it, and how they use it. To say that it's inherently non-violent is to say that the people who use it are. Which is demonstrably false. And before someone mentions the non-violence of ones and zeros, please remember that much of warfare (including heading it off before someone tries to start one) is communications, awareness, readiness, and the health of your government, industry and other large systems... all of which now depend on the network. War is about controlling, or denying other people the use of the things that allow them to have power or influence over others - and a mammoth, globe-spanning communications system is now forever going to be a central venue for things very much related to violence. It already is.

Re:As A Military Commander... (2, Interesting)

nexuspal (720736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603652)

Sure he can "Look", but in most instances anyone in the military would be unable to say, direct macro policy. Money can be used as a weapon, yet he, and everybody else in the military do not have the skill, or desire, to get involved with addressing the threats of monetary warfare... So in that regard, there are times when they don't even have the standing to recognize what is going on, let alone address ways to handle the threats that come in a non-direct way.

War on blogs? (4, Interesting)

KarMann (121054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603158)

So, what's up with that war on blogs [slashdot.org] we read about recently? You know, the one "so utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream." Not quite your area of responsibility directly, I believe, but certainly of interest to the crowd here.

As Kurt Tucholsky said (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603166)

"Soldiers are murderers" - Kurt Tucholsky (Source [wikiquote.org])

Disclaimer: Of course this does not apply to our brave freedom fighters :-/

Unplugging (3, Interesting)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603178)

Why has the DoD not simply disconnected from the Internet in light of all the threats and (apparently somewhat successful) attacks from abroad?

Re:Unplugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603412)

What makes you think it hasn't?

Already done (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603440)

The classified networks (such as SIPRnet [wikipedia.org] and JWICS [wikipedia.org]) are already not connected to the commodity internet. Only unclassified networks (which can still contain troves of sensitive and other information, and whose interruption can cause havoc in all manner of other ways) are connected to the commodity internet.

The answer is the same for anything else that is connected to the internet: that the benefits -- real or perceived -- of being connected to the internet on the unclassified side, with proper security controls, etc., outweighs the risks.

Re:Already done (4, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603728)

Actually, the SIPR net runs on top of the nipr net, the nipr net is the internet that is connected to the general internet, so technically, the SIPR net is connected to the general internet, but well secured... think of it as a giant closed VPN....

Re:Already done (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604240)

Thank you. I was going to respond that the GP was completely wrong, but you did it better than I would have. someone please mod Parent up.

How do we prevent "mission creep" (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603184)

It appears that the military is increasingly involved in areas who's jurisdiction was once considered to be wholly in the civil domain. Use of jargon like "cyberspace" seems only to obfuscate and distract from the core issue. This appears an effort to recruit public opinion and defuse the deeper questions that strike at the heart of a free and civil society. I think that if we had a statement that "The private mails are a warfighting domain" would generate a fair amount of debate on the role of the military as opposed to the police, the function of constitutional protection of liberties, and the question of what actually constitutes a state of war.

What are the limits on this jurisdiction? Who enforces these limits, and how is the public informed of that status? How are efforts to extend being safeguarded from creating mission creep that threatens all civil discourse in the United States and abroad form targeting, suppression, propaganda and extra-legal surbeillance?

Cyberwarfare Doctrine (4, Interesting)

jlaprise1 (1042514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603186)

Dear Major General Lord, I'm an academic who has been theorizing and writing about military doctrine in in cyberspace. One problem that I have encountered is in theorizing about what conflict in cyberspace looks like, though Libicki does a fine job. How does your command develop war fighting doctrine in the absence of actual conflict for cyberspace?

National Labs? (3, Interesting)

nitroamos (261075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603920)

Why doesn't AFCYBER fit at one of the national labs (e.g. LANL, or LLNL) or NSA?

I thought those were the popular destinations for educated people who want to serve their country, they're already technically oriented, and they already have a lot of really smart people, so it would have seemed to me a good fit. When I'm looking at my employment possibilities, I need a way to differentiate you.

Attacks on the US and its Allies by China (5, Interesting)

Yahma (1004476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603194)

There have been several recent news reports that China has and is engaging in a nationally funded effort to hack into and attack US government computer systems. The German government recently announced that they traced recent aggressive cyber-attacks back to the Chinese government. What, if anything, is being done against this type of cyber-terrorism against us and our allies? Why do we still confer most-favored nation trading status onto a Nation who is actively engaged in efforts to spy on and attack our government and corporate computer systems?

more political than military re: MFN/trade status (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603640)

Why do we still confer most-favored nation trading status onto a Nation who is actively engaged in efforts to spy on and attack our government and corporate computer systems?
That's more a political question than a military one (and is a loaded formulation; not that I really disagree with your implied bias both for the reasons you list and their horrifying human rights record). The answer is as simple as it is disgusting, I'm afraid. American business interests desire access to the Chinese market as a source for cheap labor/products to produce goods for the American market (and to a lesser extent as a market for our services, but frankly we're too expensive in most cases to be competitive). Those business interests ensure via campaign contributions and lobbying that the political class here maintains the status quo. Sell out human decency and your country for a dollar? To you or I, of course not, but to the right kind of person? Of course. These same types were behind the '30s anti-FDR Nazi-sympathetic coup that nearly happened.

Re:Attacks on the US and its Allies by China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603806)

If that was expected to be a barrier to trade, no one would ever trade with the US.

*waves to the NSA*

ironically, the captcha is "legally"

*waves to at&t*

Difference In Culture (5, Interesting)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603196)

Major, it seems to me (and others at /.) that the cultures that most geeks espouse run counter to the perceptions of the military. This being, for example, showing up at a consistent designated hour, opposition to wearing a standard uniform, having an overly strict form of discipline, etc.

How do you propose to reconcile those conflicts and establish your organization with any semblance of 'geek cred' to get the real talent you sound interested in attracting? What sorts of 'carrots' will you wave to attract people?

Re:Difference In Culture (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603268)

Major

A Major General is more properly addressed as General.

Ok, nit picking done, it's a good question.

Major-General Stanley (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603816)

He's the very model of a modern, Major General!

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
    I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
    From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
    I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
    I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
    About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news
    With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.
 
    I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;
    I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
    In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

Re:Major-General Stanley (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604088)

Oh for fuck's sake, at least do something with the song!

        I am the very model of a modern cyber-General,
                I've information on viruses, digital, and veneral,
                I know the pings of the LAN, and I know the games historical
                From Marathon to Pikachu, in order categorical;
                I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters quite impractical,
                I endlessly retell old jokes, both the tired and scatological,
                About conspiracy theories I'm teeming with a lot o' news
                My many fanciful facts pin it squarely on the Jews.

                Though I've never touched a woman i've watched a lot of porn;
                Gigabytes and gigabytes, a greater expert was surely never born:
                I've information on viruses, digital, and veneral,
                I am the very model of a modern cyber-General.

Re:Difference In Culture (1)

bjmoneyxxx (1227784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603428)

Don't worry, I'm sure the physical requirements are still in effect, so you better get jogging.

Re:Difference In Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22604260)

Not to nitpick, but his rank is properly addressed as "Major General" or simply "General" --- "Major" is an entirely different rank. I don't expect a civilian to know that, so that's why I'm correcting you now. I agree with your question, and just want whomever compiles questions to have the proper rank attached to it.

Thanks.

relaxing rules (5, Interesting)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603218)

Is it possible that rules would be relaxed to allow the types of people that can do the job already but may not be "fit" or a "good fit" for/in military service, or is the plan to take airmen and train them to do what you want them to be able to do? Would a civilian with the proper skillset be able to act as a contractor without enlisting, etc?

Older recruits? (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603232)

It seems that in the military traditionally it was always looking for people fresh out of highschool for EMs and if you wanted to get anywhere in the military you had to be either college educated or, to really have a high end military career, start really young in something like the Valley Forge Military Academy and work from there.

In a traditional branch of the army/navy/airforce that is probably as it should be.

But in this area people have to be trained for years, still not know as much as the older hands in the private industry, and before they really know enough their enlistment would be over. Also, it would be unacceptable for an older IT person to join but take a pay cut to a Private's level or perhaps even a Lieutenant's -- so I imagine this branch would have to be somewhat different.

Is the military going to do to reach out toward the older folks who have extensive experience and knowledge outside the military?

A question about requirements (4, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603236)

A great portion of the minds you would need in order to facilitate this are not of what is traditionally classified as "fit for service." Would those requirements be altered in order to cast a larger net for a talent pool?

Which acts of war should be illegal in cyberspace? (5, Interesting)

cohomology (111648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603240)

War is never clean.

In conventional warfare, certain actions such as hiding among civilian populations are forbidden. These actions are considered war crimes because of the collateral damage they are likely to cause. What actions in cyberspace do you think should be outlawed? How about intentionally bringing down hospital IT systems, or destroying undersea cables without regard to the effects on civilian populations?

Re:Which acts of war should be illegal in cyberspa (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603818)

What actions in cyberspace do you think should be outlawed? How about intentionally bringing down hospital IT systems, or destroying undersea cables without regard to the effects on civilian populations?
How is destroying an undersea cable any different from destroying power plants, water treatement centers, bridges, airports and other pieces of infrastructure... all of which are sound military tactics? Heck, taking out communications is more important that any of the other things I've listed.

The entire point of doing these things is to create an effect on the civilian population.
Civil chaos is a good way to draw resources away from the enemy's military effort.
Long story short: Minimize civilian casualties, but try to make them as miserable as possible


/this post is not a question

When will cyberspace arrive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603244)

William Gibson defined cyberspace as a reality indistinguishable from ours. Since it hasn't arrived yet, what do you intend to do while waiting for it to show up?

USAF Mining Data Useage Patterns to Find Thoughtcr (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603246)

If shutting down access [slashdot.org] to blogs isn't enough to create resentment, the Air Force is "developing data mining technology [cnet.com] meant to root out disaffected insiders based on their e-mail activity--or lack thereof." With "Probabilistic Latent Semantic Indexing" [spacewar.com] a graph is constructed of social network interactions from an organization's e-mail traffic "If a worker suddenly stops socializing online, abruptly shifts alliances within the organization, or starts developing an unhealthy interest in "sensitive topics," the system detects it and alerts investigators."

Non-affiliated allies (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603306)

Would there be any room in the paradigm that you envision for 'cyber command' for outside contractors in the security field to make a contribution to the war effort via their own network of contacts etc.?

Would such external-to-the-organization security contractors and consultants have the potential to be paid for their information and efforts?

Cable cutting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603316)

Is there anything at all to the stories of the recent spate of undersea cable cutting being some kind of deliberate act?

Physical Fitness (5, Interesting)

spacerog (692065) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603320)

General, You were recently quoted in Wired as having said "So if they can't run three miles with a pack on their backs but they can shut down a SCADA system, we need to have a culture where they fit in." Is this an accurate quote? As a former member of the US Army I must say that passing a PT test is not very difficult and the suggestion that some soldiers should be exempt from basic minimum requirements is rather upsetting. Are you actually advocating the relaxation of military physical fitness standards for 'cyber warriors'? Would this not create a double standard and animosity between the cyber command and other sections of the military? Surely there must be other recruitment incentives that can be applied to attract the talent you need.

- Space Rogue

Re:Physical Fitness (1)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603564)

When I was in basic (not long ago - 03) The requirements went WAAAY up, and I'm quite fit (by geek standards, at least). Most slashdotters wouldn't make it in the door. Not saying that they should be exempt, but the standard is high.

Re:Physical Fitness (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603970)

I thought requirements were relaxed in the mean time to attract recruits because of Iraq (and even the age requirement got greatly bumped up).

When the USA finally gets "IT"... (2, Interesting)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603326)

When the US military is run by people who are representative of their population, and understand the composition of their country, they may be successful in persuading the best and brightest minds to work for them. As an observer here in canada (and we're not THAT much better for this), the american system tends to use the stick, not the carrot, in order to persuade its citizens to do the right thing - which discourages experimentation! The US military is percieved as being much worse.

Basic Training (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603328)

My question would be, what can I expect training to be like? Obviously I would expect to go through some kind of basic training similar to regular recruits, but what kind of technical training would occur? If I'm in ROTC and getting a Bachelors or Associates in Computer Science or Math, is there some form of advanced training that is necessary? What platforms/technologies can I expect to use? Are there different types - networking, application security or even some form of hardware protection? How about encryption?

Preferred Skillset? (2, Interesting)

katch22 (1248646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603340)

General Lord, I am currently a Computer Science student attending a U.S. university, and I am curious as to what skills you would like to see in potential recruits for the USAF Cyber Command. What areas of expertise are preferred over others?

Recruiting Foreigners? (1)

prxp (1023979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603348)

Usually government branches that deal with intelligence matters require US citizenship for recruitment. In realizing that the intellect power regarding information security/hacking throughout the USA is not exclusive to US citizens, but in fact it is spread out through a group of people that includes many international students and/or workers, how do you plan to structure this task force towards recruiting foreign nationals?

Are you prepared for this? (5, Interesting)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603370)

Security professionals thrive in an environment where authority is questioned, basic assumptions are always challenged and diversity of thought is critical. Even the idea of uniforms is going to drive away the professionals you need to set up this type of institution. Do you believe that setting up this type of institution within the military is even a good idea? Do you think that perhaps there's a more appropriate environment for it? Are you entirely aware of what kinds of challenges you face in recruiting top-notch people for this type of thing? Would you even know a top-notch security professional if you saw one? They're not easy to identity unless you're another security professional. Are you? Do you really have what it takes to try and lead this type of organization?

If so, can you tell me why you chose ASP to run your website? Won't you have enough trouble recruiting as is without alienating some open-source loving folks right off the bat?

So far everything I've seen about this organization is riddled with basic mistakes. I wish you the best of luck but I'm just not convinced you have any idea what you're getting yourself into with this initiative.

What tech do you have that came from the stargate? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603396)

What tech do you have that came from the Stargate? and what is really going on at Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center?

Any Specific things your looking for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603404)

What kind of programing languages is the air force looking for in it's programmers or are they looking for patriotic black hat's or hackers?

I ask this mainly because I'm curious and will either go Army or Air force depending on the up coming election.

Name Change (3, Informative)

spacerog (692065) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603424)

General,
Perhaps the reason you are having difficulty in attracting top talent is partly due to the name of your unit. Cyber Command? Sorry, but that just sounds soooo 1980's. How about Electronic Defense Command or something, anything without the word 'cyber' in it. Seriously, have there been any thoughts about a name change?
- Space Rogue

It is good war is so terrible... (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603432)

I wise man once said "It is good that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it". If cyberwarfare ever becomes a reality, how do we respond to the fact that is isn't "terrible"?

The direct damage from such warfare would be primarily economic or data security related (rather than a cost in human lives) how do you feel we can prevent it from becoming a monthly, yearly, or daily occurance?

Criminal vs Warlike Actions (5, Interesting)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603446)

General Lord,

Does the AFCC have a mandate to pursue criminals that use information infrastructure to commit crimes, or is your group intended to defend against warlike attacks only?

If the latter is true, how would you distinguish between criminal activity and warlike activity in cyberspace?

Rules of Engagement (1)

knight24k (1115643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603502)

What rules would be put in place to differentiate between a simple hacker and an attack by a foreign or domestic agency?

What targets would be off-limits and what targets would you feel would be classified as targets of opportunity in retaliation to a cyber attack?

What targets in the U.S. do you feel are the most vulnerable to cyber warfare presently and what can be done to alleviate that threat?

Will the USAF Cyber Command be full of TPS reports (3, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603512)

Will the USAF Cyber Command be full of TPS reports and other crap like long wait times with lots of paper work to get small thing like adding ram, getter better systems, install new software and other things?

Will you be forced on to the standard USAF window base image with limited admin accounts like how the navy and marine systems that are a Big mess are setup?

Will you use mac and linux like how the army does?

Legal Hacking... (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603514)

Just post a list of the stuff you want hacked and the more patriotic hackers will enjoy doing it for free.

Due to the nature of hacking and what many people do to acquire such skills, they may not want to 'join up' and all that.

But if you post a list of IP's that are okay to bring down, and networks you want information stolen from, with the understanding that the US will not condemn any attacks, and I'm sure more than enough people would do it for free.

Is there anything like this already in place? Cause I got nothing better to do this weekend. Or most any weekend.

Ciber - hiring ? (1)

JoeZ99 (999617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603530)

It occurs to me that you may have thought that this new "Cybernetic division" should be not only new in the kind of activity, but also in the way you hire & check for background... Have you consider these two new approaches to your hypothetical "cybertroops". 1.- They do not need to be "onsite" (at least not part of them). they can be located everywhere in the world, provided the can make a secure link (what they -of course- can). 2.- The "background checking" process doesn't need to be the "traditional" way. maybe there are another means of getting the same certainty about a candidate's background through "net researching" (probably with more accurate results). Is it absolutely true that internet & digital world have put incredible powerfull tools in the hands of potential threads, but those tools are also at the "good people" disposal, so you may start using them with these two new approaches. Oh god, this no-good-english-talker is a big s*$#t, hope I made myself clear.

Great stories (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603534)

This is a great opportunity to hear military propaganda. For those interested, the simple truth is that the Air Force is finally acting reducing the number of programmers and other computer-related jobs and contracting them out, and trying to look "tough" by deploying to forward locations. You know -- the type the Army and Marines are trained for.

Will you be forced on to the standard USAF window (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603538)

Will you be forced on to the standard USAF window base image with limited admin accounts like how the navy and marine systems that are a Big mess are setup?

Will you use Mac and Linux like how the army does?

Could a Cyber Attack Trigger a Real War? (5, Interesting)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603548)

General Lord,

I'm curious to know if you have have any criteria that would enable you do decide when a cyber attack is an act of war. Would it be possible for some kind of action inside a network to lead to a shooting war without some kind of overt physical threat occurring first?

Former Army Research Lab SLAD/IO (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603558)

General Lord,

I spent some time in the Army Research Lab's SLAD/IO Division in New Mexico. When I joined I thought I would be doing exploit development, reverse engineering and so forth. But it never seemed like the direction of the organization was going in going in a way that seemed to take the mission seriously. There were smart people there but they weren't being driven in the right direction. I don't think it was management's fault, either. There just were no hackers there. I still sometimes wonder if I misunderstood during the interview.

So what is life going to be like at AFCC? I know there is work to be done but is it the kind of thing a hacker would want to do? Is it going to be more development, reverse engineering, etc? Also, is it going to *pay* like I would expect?

Altered Emails - Abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603574)

When a malicious data stream hacker has altered my emails to or from a client or friend... or I notice the content in a website changing that is using unencrypted XML feeds... who do I report it to without being laughed at?

How Will You Ensure Proper Talent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603624)

General,
        Having worked with the DoD and the Air Force for over a decade now (Active, Reserve, Contractor), the biggest challenge is finding and retaining qualified professionals, especially in the techonlogy sector. The majority of your trained and qualified personnel are junior officers, who are on a three to four year hitch, who have promotion requirements that they have to meet. That is to say, AFCOT trains them to be managers of technicians, not to be technicians. Even the Communications Engineers are expected to become management once they reach Field Grade.
        Is there any intention of having a non-standard recruitment / application / promotion track for personnel within Cybercommand? Regardless, where would one find information on positions there, as Contract, Civilian, or Reserve?
Thank you for your consideration,
Paul

Contractors? (1)

spazmolytic666 (549909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603646)

Why have this as a branch of the military at all? Why not just use contractors, that seems to be working so well in Iraq.

great googly-moogly (0)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603702)

Genearal Lord of Air Force Cyber Command? Does the propeller beanie come with the uniform or do you have to buy it separately? Have you yet formulated a plan to deal with Serpentor and Cobra-La?

CyberCommand Location (4, Interesting)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603722)

General,

Can you explain some about the situation developing between Barksdale AFB and Offutt AFB as they try to fight over the eventual final location for CyberCommand? My thoughts are that finding and recruiting talent, and laying the foundation for such a large wired infrastructure in the Omaha, Nebraska area may be easier to accomplish than in and around Shreveport, LA. What types of things is the DoD looking for when they choose the final location for this new Command?

International Development and AFCC's Tool Set (4, Interesting)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603730)

General Lord,

Some of the "hacker" types that I understand the AFCC is looking for probably will prefer to work with Linux and Linux applications.

Due to the international nature of software like Linux that has been developed through the "free" paradigm, would this be allowed? These tools will have been produced by nationals from many different countries, perhaps even those that the United States could find itself fighting a cyber war against.

SCADA Warfare (1, Interesting)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603780)

General, during current war operations it is common procedure to target areas of enemy infrastructure (electricity, water, gas, transportation, communications) with the intent to disable or destroy. As the systems being used to control this infrastructure are becoming more and more interconnected, and increasingly use standard computers and interconnections (i.e. TCP/IP and Internet), this could potentially become another method of attacking enemy infrastructure.

Will there be a doctrine for cyber attacks on enemy critical infrastructure systems for the Air Force Cyber Command? If so, what efforts are currently in place/planned to support war fighter knowledge in the arena of SCADA and control system security, and the methods for causing damage to enemy infrastructure? What importance, if any, do you and Cyber Command place on the having the capability to destroy or disable the SCADA systems that control enemy infrastructure via CyberWarfare?

~Sticky

FOSS Roles (1)

jander (88775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603832)

Sir,

It has been my experience that the DoD is generally antagonistic towards the use of Free/Open Source Software in the commands.
Do you envision a wider adoption of Open Source systems in your command, or will it be a .Net-centric (or Microsoft flavor of the day) environment?

Additionally, will you be looking to Civilian contractors to supplement the Active Duty service members?

AFIWC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22603842)

General, How would this new team interact with the currently existing Air Force Information Warfare Center?

Accept, Retain, Solicit good people? (4, Interesting)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603958)

General,

      Some of the most talented people in computer security tend to have the sort of records that prevent them from getting clearance. Maybe nothing heavily criminal, but enough of a colored background that traditional security clearance mechanisms would throw them out of the room before they get started. Often the same types of minds that are really good at computer security are also the rebel types, who'll have some history. Will you work to get these people in, or are we looking at a bunch of off-the-shelf programmers/admins who've taken a few simple courses in computer security?

      Also, how do you plan to attract/retain them? Again, rebel types are some of the best hackers, and they're not likely to go in without incentives. Not due to any lack of patriotism per se, but an unexplored understanding of it. More importantly, they're likely to be anti-establishment types who aren't comfortable in the strict traditional chain of command. Finally, usually the outside industry pays quite well for the good ones. Are you prepared to financially compete for the best?

      Finally, will there be any connections back to the research/academic community? You may find academics more happy to help than usual, as cyber warfare can often be nonviolent. Also, will the existing (and immense) capability within the NSA be properly leveraged?

      I'm glad to see our DoD taking our nation's networked security seriously. Right now it's just a bad, bad joke.

Best of Luck!

-Lally Singh

My question is: (2, Insightful)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603978)

I have no doubt that when stockpiling security researchers and analysts, much as Google do and other companies do, will result in lots of creative projects and ideas regardless of what the military's goals are; however, are these going to be returned to Americans, educational institutions and the international community?
Or will it be another case of knowledge hoarding with no return to the tax payers who funded it?

The joys of an 'off' button. (1)

christhegoth (1248672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604132)

Now I'm pretty sure you yanks ( sorry, limey over here ;) ) have thought of an intranet and keeping the interface between it and the internet as small as possible. Add to that selective levels of network to control data flow even more. Here's the thing. If you go target a Chinese node and take it down, that could be construed as an act of war. If it's just cyber us non-combatants get to sit around and wonder why You Tube is running a bit slow, but if it escalates we have a real problem. So a good offensive is not the best defence. Sitting behind a defence so good no offence can get in is the best defence. Then you keep logs and simply ask china why these IP's in their patch are doing naughty things. Nothing like a decent papertrail and all that. As a qualified electrician the best bet is simply to not be connected. No connection, no signal get's through. And no chance of server failure leaving you with your pants down ( english definition ). Problem is how do those pesky emails get to where they need to be? Manual transfer. KVM switches to jump between desktops, and a flash drive on a key to transfer the data manually. No direct connection and the data still get's to the right inbox in the end. Simple eh? The problem is when you have a network with multiple firewalls. Sure it's multi-layered ( and let's face it discs in the post are not the best of plans ) but it can still be hacked. With manual transfer of data the two machines on their separate networks can be sat next to each other, with one monitor, keyboard, and mouse. How easy is that. Use a decent size flash drive and warn staff there will be delays in mails getting to destination. Do a transfer every half hour by copy and paste. You could even auto-create an archive to shift stuff over as one file. Get it built into the mail servers by some aspiring geek. Just a thought, but if they can't get in they can't get in. And then you are the one being provoked, not the provoker. By the way I'm not good enough to build this, but an electricians best friend is a plug you can simply pull out. Greetings form Blighty :)

Why was the Air Force tasked with this? (5, Interesting)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604154)

Why should the US Air Force be tasked with this, instead of DISA or NSA, neither of which is tied to a specific branch of the military?

Random Questions (1)

Ilan Volow (539597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604160)

1. Is there any age limit? Would someone who is in their mid-30's still qualify?

2. Would the Cyber Command overlook the policy on those with ADD who take a medication (Ritalin, etc) for this condition?

3. Can I get caffeine-laced MRE's?

4. What are Rules Of Engagement in Cyberwarfare?

5. What will Cyber Command's relationship be with regards to Homeland Security's Cyber Sercurity divison? What steps will you take to ensure sharing of information while not stomping on each other's toes?

Nature of Warfare: Offensive and Defensive (1)

kstatefan40 (922281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604168)

I have done a significant amount of research into the idea of Information Warfare on an international scale.

First off, the government has been shown to have numerous points of entry to their networks, which would be a problem. Also, the number of agency setups are so diverse, will the CyberCommand provide a strict set of guidelines for all equipment used on the network? It seems rather risky to me that there is such a variety of hardware used by all the different agencies in the government. A standardization of network and computer equipment would be a vital task, and I would say the CC would have a unique opportunity - and responsibility - to define these standards and enforce them.

Secondly, the nature of information warfare shows that there are blurred boundaries between military and civilian attacks, and where the DOD has jurisdiction to operate. I believe in order to protect the critical national infrastructure, the CC would operate domestically as well as abroad to prevent catastrophic network failure in any of the critical infrastructure. How do you view these gaps in traditional military wisdom?

Thirdly, I am a 17 year old student in Kansas. I have been programming as a job for around two years, working at a company that does internet security. I will be getting a degree from Fort Hays State University (hopefully in four years) in Information Networking Telecommunications with an emphasis on Advanced Networking and Information Assurance. What exactly would I need to learn or look into in the future that could be useful to the CyberCommand? I am extremely interested in participating in the Command - as long as the two year relocation standard is *not* enforced.

Lastly, we have been provided very sketchy details about the job descriptions for positions in the cyber command. I assume network engineers, software engineers, information security analysts, and other technical positions will be needed. Can you provide a brief overview of the positions you are interested in filling for your Cyber Command, and what they would be doing?

Thank you for your time,

Tyler A. Thompson

Rules of Engagment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22604186)

I fear this will be viewed an illegitmate too many multi-part question...

What are the Rules of Engagement?

What exactly is the Field of Operations?

What is CyberWar? What triggers a CyberWar? (e.g., entering foreign soil is a de facto act of war.)

Is CyberWar separate and distinct from conventional warfare? (e.g., if we get hacked, is bombing a warranted response?)

How is collateral damage defined?

Is CyberCommand strictly a monitoring agency? If not, how agressive are counter-measures?

Is CyberCommand a tactical assault squad?

Are there field offices (ala the Radome listening stations)?

Is there field work (ala Black Ops)?

Why is the Air Force tasked with CyberCommand? (Sorry, had to ask.)

How are you doing... (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604210)

Infiltrating encryption and security software at the source, have you noticed large amounts of server corruption to distribute compromised software.

Are there any plans to put backdoors in domestic encryption software?

Why are you lying?

Why? (0, Flamebait)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604258)

Why would you want to militarise the internet? Nothing better do? Isn't this sort of thing best left to Intelligence Agencies like the CIA and NSA who have a long-standing mandate on managing and analysing ICT data? Why do you feel the need to militarise data? Isn't this just another aspect of the Bush Administration's misguided militarisation of civilian functions?

RS

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