Air, sea, land ……space…… and now cyber. And it turns out that this fifth domain represents one of the most challenging adversaries for military.
“The Cyber domain is unique in that it is active every minute of every day and requires personnel to be on guard, even when off duty”, says Major General Ferus McLachlan, Head of Modernisation & Strategic Planning at the Australian Army.
“We all know to wear helmets and body armour on a battle field, but in the cyber domain (metaphorical) armour must never be removed”.
“An undisciplined soldier watching a late night movie could become a victim of malicious malware, for example. When it comes to cyber defence, we have to be prepared at all times and from all angles”.
So how do the Australian Army prepare for potential cyber warfare attacks, arising from all angles?
“Firstly, we are developing a very sophisticated command and control network – or battle management system. It is imperative we are able to defence this network from cyber-attack.” says Major General McLachlan.
“We are also making sure to align our processes with the Navy and Air Force, through common training”.
“It is essential that all areas of military operation function in a coordinated fashion and take each other into account when responding to a threat.”
“In detecting the penetration of a network, for example, an individual or organisation may be tempted to shut down that portion of the network, to alleviate risk.
“This very action may cause disadvantage to another operational area, which is reliant on that system at that particular time.”
In addition, the Australian Army are building a strong reservoir of technical expertise, with many of their reserves already having relevant skills such as white hat security hacking.
Their recent collaboration with the University of NSW also successfully fostered the upskilling of existing technical teams, within the Army.
Hear more from Major General McLachlan about the Australian Army’s cyber defence strategy, and their implementation of recommendations from the 2016 Defence White Paper, at ADM’s forthcoming Cyber Security Summit.