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DoD’s ‘Hybrid’ Cyber Policy

Robert J. Butler

A top Defense Department official for cyber policy emphasized the need for collaboration across federal agencies and “hybrid models” to deal with cybersecurity.

“For the past 14 months, we have been trying to continue to grow [U.S.] Cyber Command and its capabilities, at the same time looking at strategy and policy,” said Robert J. Butler, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy. “We need to find ways to operate more effectively in cyberspace.”

DoD’s focus on cybersecurity all boils down to the warfighter, he said before a group of reporters at the Defense Writers’ Group on Oct. 20.

Cyber defense is about ensuring the armed forces can deploy with all the information they need, the technological capacity to track supplies and other logistics, and the ability to remain in contact with neighboring units, he explained.

Butler also touted the cooperation between the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department on renewed cyber efforts. Last week, DoD and DHS announced a shared framework on cybersecurity, which laid out plans for information- and personnel-sharing.

Butler said the recent Cyber Storm III exercise was particularly helpful.

“We were able to work out what the threat was, what the appropriate response was, who takes action, how do you determine conditions and postures,” he said, and it provided a “huge learning experience for the department.”

Nextgov reported Butler’s remarks “downplayed the need to define clear lines of authority for federal authorities.”

Instead, the focus was on information-sharing and collaboration across agencies.

“The question is what kind of hybrid models, what kind of rules, what kind of things do we need to counter a threat that continues to advance?” Butler said. “We’ve got congressional support. We got a blueprint, and we’re working on it.”

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