April 24, 2014

CNAS Experts on Decentralizing Cyber Command and Control

Washington, April 24, 2014 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Technology and National Security Program released a new report today titled "Digital Theaters: Decentralizing Cyber Command and Control." The Technology and National Security program explores the nexus of strategy, technology and business to develop practical ideas that capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate risks, associated with the rapid pace of technological change. Written by Technology and National Security Program Director Ben FitzGerald and Senior Military Fellow Lt Col Parker Wright, USAF, the report offers potential models, key considerations and recommendations for establishing a mature and effective theater cyber command and control (C2) structure.
The authors summarize cyber security as a key priority for the DOD and one of the few areas experiencing budget, personnel and capability increases. They focus on C2 of theater cyber forces as the first area needed to help mature cyber capabilities in a strategically coherent manner. Mr. FitzGerald and Lt Col Wright suggest, “DOD must find a balance between centralizing C2 at US Cyber Command and pushing C2 to the combatant commanders.” They go on to examine four existing C2 models considering the trade-offs that the DOD must deliberately balance: demands for unity of effort, force responsiveness, force availability and organizational versatility.
Download a copy of Digital Theaters: Decentralizing Cyber Command and Control in PDF, Kindle or iPad format.
Lastly, the authors provide recommendations for DOD and Congress to help responsibly decentralize C2 of theater cyber forces, concluding that C2 structures must constantly evolve to remain effective and relevant.  The authors believe, “failure to commence this process in an intentional, collaborative manner risks creating, and locking in, ineffective or inappropriate C2 and technical architectures that will be difficult to change in future.”