Time for Nation to Create Cyberspace Doctrine, Military Thinkers Say

By Magnuson, Stew | National Defense, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Time for Nation to Create Cyberspace Doctrine, Military Thinkers Say


Magnuson, Stew, National Defense


* First, there was the Monroe Doctrine, which was designed to keep European powers out of Latin America. Later, the Truman Doctrine, or Doctrine of Containment, sought to halt the global expansion of the Soviet Union's brand of Communism.

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A group of retired military and intelligence officials believe that now is the time for the nation to write a "cyber doctrine," which is needed to deter network attacks on the homeland.

"The fact is, the government works well, or at least works better, when there is a doctrine that is governing where we're going. And without it, we tend to get into situations that we wish we hadn't," said Tim Sample, vice president and manager of special programs at the Battelle Memorial Institute.

Battelle and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies are spearheading an effort to prod the government into creating a doctrine to guide it in the rapidly changing, relatively new world of cyberwarfare. They have produced a collection of essays, "#CyberDoc No Borders--No Boundaries: National Doctrine for the Cyber Era," in an effort to get the ball rolling.

"We are simultaneously the most advanced and the most vulnerable country when we consider our reliance on cybertechnologies," Sample said. "And today if you look around, we have scads of strategies, policies, authorities and ideas that are working separately without a common basic framework."

Chairman and CEO of the Potomac Institute Michael Swetnam said "Doctrine is more a statement of what we believe, the principles by which we're going to base our actions on."

It is not the two institutes' goal to prescribe what they think the doctrine should be, rather it is to spark the debate. The government needs a "prime directive," from which policies, plans, and procedures can flow, Swetnam said.

The experts made their case in December, only a week after Congress failed to pass legislation designed to increase government and private sector cooperation and information sharing on threats they are seeing.

Ronald Marks, president of Intelligence Enterprises LLC, said the founding fathers tasked the government with "the common defense and to promote the general welfare of the United States."

The problem was that the Internet grew mostly in the private sector, with little security built in. …

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Time for Nation to Create Cyberspace Doctrine, Military Thinkers Say
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