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General James E. Cartwright, USMC on Information Operations

The full committee met to receive testimony on the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the U.S. Strategic Command, Northern Command, Transportation Command, and Southern Command, March 21st 2007..

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SHIFTING NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGE

While we continue to focus on the need to deter non-state actors through effects-based operations and remain vigilant with regard to those nations that possess large inventories of nuclear weapons, recent events in Iran, Lebanon, North Korea and China, if unchecked, foreshadow future critical challenges.

Daily cyberspace intrusions into civil, military, and commercially networked systems; the nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Korea, in open disregard of broad international opinion; the firing of rockets and cruise missiles from Lebanon and Gaza into Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas; the unannounced and irresponsible launch of North Korean missiles in the vicinity of Japan; and China's controversial launch of an anti-satellite missile, which has subsequently endangered routine use of space, demonstrate the range of challenges facing America.

Today, we live in an Information Age where communication through cyberspace has forever changed and flattened our world. Free and open use of cyberspace has become an essential tool of the global economy and connects people throughout the world to each other. In fact, most Americans can no longer imagine a world without instant communications and the freedom to access goods, services, and information at will. However, not unlike the targets of pirates or train robbers of the past, America is under widespread attack in cyberspace. Our freedom to use cyberspace is threatened by the actions of criminals, terrorists, and nations alike. Each seeks their own form of unique advantage, be it financial, political, or military, but together they threaten our freedom to embrace the opportunity offered by a globally connected and flattened world. The magnitude of cost, in terms of real dollars dedicated to defensive measures, lost intellectual capital and fraud cannot be overestimated, making these attacks a matter of great national interest. Unlike the air, land and sea domains, we lack dominance in cyberspace and could grow increasingly vulnerable if we do not fundamentally change how we view this battle-space.

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INFORMATION OPERATIONS

We made progress in growing Information Operations Capabilities into core military competencies. We will continue to develop these and related Strategic Communications planning capabilities to ensure that all Joint Force Commanders gain and maintain the information advantage over our adversaries throughout the entire spectrum of regional and trans-regional engagement. As our capability centers, specifically for Electronic Warfare and Strategic Communications planning support, reach maturity, we will be able to provide trans-regional planning and integration support and strategic effects assessments responsive to the demands of the new Triad.

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CYBERSPACE OPERATIONS

Earlier in this statement we noted that attacks in cyberspace are a matter of great national interest. Cyberspace has emerged as a war-fighting domain not unlike land, sea, and air, and we are engaged in a less visible, but none-the-less critical battle against sophisticated cyberspace attacks. We are engaging these cyberspace attacks offshore, as they seek to probe military, civil, and commercial systems, and consistent with principles of self defense, defend the DoD portion of the Global Information Grid (GIG) at home.

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace describes cyberspace as the nervous system of our country and as such, essential to our economy and national security. It describes a role for all federal departments and agencies, state and local government, private companies and organizations, and individual Americans in improving cyber-security. The National Security Strategy to Secure Cyberspace lays out a framework that seeks to deter our adversaries and assure our freedom of action in cyberspace. Fundamental to this approach is the integration of cyberspace capabilities across the full range of military operations.

Strategic Command is charged with planning and directing cyber defense within DoD and conducting cyber attack in support of assigned missions. To date, our time and resources have focused more on network defenses to include firewalls, anti-virus protection, and vulnerability scanning. While generally effective against unsophisticated hackers, these measures are marginally effective against sophisticated adversaries. History teaches us that a purely defensive posture poses significant risks; the “Maginot Line” model of terminal defense will ultimately fail without a more aggressive offshore strategy, one that more effectively layers and integrates our cyber capabilities. If we apply the principles of warfare to the cyber domain, as we do to sea, air, and land, we realize the defense of the nation is better served by capabilities enabling us to take the fight to our adversaries, when necessary to deter actions detrimental to our interests. Our adversaries seek to operate from behind technical, legal, and international screens as they execute their costly attacks. If we are to take the fight to our adversaries, we will need Congress' help to find solutions to penetrate these screens.

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Complete Testimony