Strengthening Cybersecurity through Industry Partnerships and Deterrence

December 9, 2023 By PHepTIgh

USCYBERCOM and Industry Partnerships to Strengthen Deterrence and Deterrence

Malicious cyber activity – hacking, cyberespionage, equipment malfunctions – has made cybersecurity a pressing concern. That reality drove the Department to design USCYBERCOM to engage adversaries in persistent campaigns below the level of armed conflict to strengthen deterrence and gain advantages.

The Department now integrates these operations into campaign and contingency planning as part of integrated deterrence. Our 2023 cyber strategy outlines how we will adjust our enterprise to advance these priorities.

Defend the Nation

The Department of Defense requires full-spectrum capabilities to defend its information networks and critical infrastructure from cyber espionage, sabotage, and influence operations that originate abroad. These capabilities need to be developed and refined through whole-of-nation plans, including a new set of priorities outlined in the 2023 National Cyberspace Strategy.

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission recommends that the Department develop comprehensive national cybersecurity operations to deter adversaries and promote a secure and resilient digital ecosystem for U.S. government and commercial systems alike. These operations will complement concurrent actions by the diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence communities, enabling the Department to leverage its unique advantages in a contested cyber domain.

Cybersecurity efforts will include pursuing investigations, prosecuting criminals, and developing policies that disrupt the online infrastructure that facilitates cyberattacks and enables them to be financially profitable for cybercriminals. The Department will also support whole-of-Government efforts to raise cybersecurity standards in order to reduce the utility of malicious cyber activity and make it more difficult for adversaries to disrupt the vital services Americans depend on every day.

Support the Joint Force

Many states and non-state actors see cyber means as a powerful force multiplier in achieving their objectives. They target our nation’s critical infrastructure, disrupt our operations, and erode our military advantage.

The Department’s National Mission Force teams defend the nation by seeing adversary activity, blocking attacks, and maneuvering to defeat them. Combat mission teams conduct military cyberspace operations in support of combatant commands. And Cyber Protection Teams defend the DoD Information Network, protect priority missions, and prepare cyber forces for combat.

The Department also bolsters interagency and international collaborations to aid attribution, defend networks, sanction bad behavior, and take the fight to our adversaries overseas. This includes the Department’s continued efforts to align DIB contract incentives with cybersecurity requirements, as well as its ongoing partnership with small-to-medium-sized businesses to improve information-sharing and encourage reporting of suspected malicious cyber activity.

Enable and Empower Allies and Partners

Achieving a safe, stable, and secure cyberspace requires cooperation from partners around the world. NSA works with allies and industry to share vulnerability information, promote cybersecurity awareness and research, and build partnerships that enhance capability.

As the world becomes increasingly connected, adversaries seek to undermine democratic societies and our way of life. From ransomware gangs to state-sponsored attacks, these threats present complex challenges for the Department and its partners.

USCYBERCOM is transforming to address these new, cross-domain challenges. The Command is expanding its mission capabilities with two components – the Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) and Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Network (JFHQ-DoDIN). These efforts support the Department’s 2023 Cyber Strategy of “Defend Forward.” They also enable all of DoD to operate more effectively in this dynamic, contested domain. The Command’s growing partnership with industry, academia, and all of civil society helps defend against emerging threats. The Command’s “whole-of-society” approach is exemplified by the Cyber Civil Defense initiative, launched in 2022.

Enable the Defense Industrial Base

Many companies in the defense industrial base (DIB) rely on information systems to conduct their business, including providing critical products and services to DOD. They invest in cybersecurity despite lack of traditional economic incentives because it’s the right thing to do for our warfighters, it protects brand credibility with top customers, and it reduces risks in their supply chains.

Adversaries like Russia and the People’s Republic of China see cyber activity as a key part of their strategies to challenge our conventional military strength and degrade our operational capabilities. They are launching prolonged campaigns of espionage, theft, and compromise against our key networks and the broader DIB.

To enable the DIB, the Department is implementing a range of cyber threat information-sharing efforts, including aligning contract incentives with cybersecurity requirements for small-to-medium-sized businesses. Similarly, DOD continues to expand the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Program to offer no-cost cybersecurity services to qualified small-to-medium-sized businesses that do business with the Department.

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