General Keith Alexander speaks cyber security at CSIS

General Keith Alexander, current Director, National Security Agency (DIRNSA), Chief, Central Security Service (CCSS) and Commander, United States Cyber Command, spoke about cyber security and U.S. Cyber Command at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The event was held today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC and his General Alexander’s first public speaking engagement after his recent promotion to the Commander of US Cyber Command.

The video, published on the CSIS web site, is embedded below.

He starts with a brief introduction on events that led to the setting up of the US Cyber Command. He then goes on to define the scope of the role played by Cyber Command as “centralise command of military cyberspace operations, strengthen DoD cyberspace capability and integrate DoD cyberspace expertise.” He mentions the scale of DoD systems – 7 million machines, 15,000 networks, 21 satellite gateways and 20,000 commercial circuits. He mentions that DoD systems are probed by unauthorised people 250,000 times an hour, over 6 million times a day.

General Alexander then goes on to explain a shift in the attack patterns from network penetration targeted at exploiting data to targeting systems for remote sabotage. Cyberspace differs from likes of land and sea in that it is a man made domain and a hotly contested domain. He tries to dispel the concerns of co-locating the cyber command along with NSA, thus involving the intelligence community in securing nation’s cyber infrastructure, by has robust and rigorous procedures to minimise the effect of the intelligence activities on US persons. See the video for more.

From Indian perspective it is interesting that he mentions that cyber command will exercise its power to protect the cyber infrastructure of not just US military but also help allies to do the same. I wonder how much of engagement with India would that translate to and for that matter how much would countries of interest like Pakistan squeeze out of this overture.

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