Category Archives: Cybersecurity

“I have found Vol. 4:1 of the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, the Cybersecurity Symposium, to be an invaluable resource. I use many of these articles in my research and clinic preparation, and am glad to have a bound, hard copy that I can grab from my shelf and mark up as I like.” -Eric J. Lobsinger, Teaching Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center

Outsourcing the Cyber Kill Chain: Reinforcing the Cyber Mission Force and Allowing Increased Contractor Support of Cyber Operations

The United States is under a growing and constant threat of cyberattack. US cybersecurity strategy has evolved in response, adapting to the new threat climate by committing US Cyber Command to more aggressive and persistent peacetime cyber operations. However, the Department of Defense Cyber Mission Force (CMF) has been stretched thin attempting to carry out its new mission, requiring additional commitments to resourcing, force size, and capabilities.

Homer A. La Rue argues that increased participation of private contractors in US cyber operations is the best way to bolster the CMF’s capabilities, at least in the short term. Contractors may be particularly useful in “gray-zone” operations, that is, operation in the area that exists beyond the threshold of conventional diplomacy but falls short of conventional war.

Although there are challenges and risks to increased contractor participation in cyber operations—particularly related to command and control—La Rue argues that methods of managing these risks already exist and that the benefits of outsourcing cyber operations outweighs the risks.

Active Cyber Measures: Reviving Cold War Debunking and Deterrence Strategy

By Nicolas Aalberg

Department of Justice and National Intelligence Center reports on active cyber measures (ACMs) carried out by U.S. adversaries on social media display a staggering manipulation of American conversations, journalism, and electoral processes. Unlike Cold War active measures conducted through human intelligence (HUMINT) operations, creating or manipulating an online intelligence asset requires exponentially fewer resources and yields results with far greater scale. However, the U.S. responded to Cold War active measures through defensive counterintelligence and misinformation-debunking programs and through offensive, active HUMINT deterrents, and that same strategy can be used to combat ACMs today.

The Intelligence Community (IC) must work defensively using signals intelligence (SIGINT) and open-source intelligence (OSINT) to detect and neutralize enemy social media accounts, and Congress must create a bipartisan committee (the “Committee”) to communicate declassified information to the American public to expose manipulation of online conversations. At the same time, USCYBERCOM and CIA must work in tandem offensively through a new blend of cyber warfare and HUMINT to deter ACM proliferation and respond in kind, and once again set global military and intelligence standards on U.S. terms.

I.   Defensive Posture: Congress Must Create a Bipartisan Committee to Counter Active Cyber Measures

Given that U.S. adversaries are successfully laying siege to the fabric of American political conversations, the U.S. needs to adopt a Cold War-era defensive posture consisting of counterintelligence efforts and increased transparency with the electorate about manipulated conversations. Historically, CIA has collaborated with FBI on counterintelligence efforts to remove compromised and planted HUMINT assets. NSA, CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) must similarly identify active personas and botnets through a combination of SIGINT and OSINT and collaborate with the social media industry to remove these accounts.

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Comparing the Strength of SEP Patent Portfolios: Leadership Intelligence for the Intelligence Community

The next generation of mobile broadband, 5G, is emerging as a major area of competition between the United States and China. 5G technology promises vast improvements not only to the speed of commercial cellular connections, but also to governments’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Leadership in the development of 5G technology has thus been deemed critical to U.S. national security and global economic competitiveness.

5G competition is often judged by the number of patents in a given country’s standard essential patent (“SEP”) portfolio. This metric, David J. Kappos argues, is a misleading and unreliable guide to assessing the state of global 5G competition. Rather than focusing on the quantity of 5G patents in an SEP portfolio, it would be more useful to examine the quality of SEP portfolios. These assessments must be made by trained professionals capable of discerning the strength of each individual patent by comparing patent claims to the required specifications of the 5G standard. Developing reliably accurate assessments of SEP portfolios will be critical both for future 5G investment and for U.S. national security.