IWS - The Information Warfare Site
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Information Warfare
(Continued 3 of 3)

Next Steps and Philosophical Crossroads
Both NEWS and DRIW are prototype systems for now. Where to take them next is the subject of lively philosophical discussion. There may be a conflict between economy and security, says Zavidniak. "We want to stretch COTS solutions to fit the warfighting environment," he says. "We want to buy COTS-but as soon as it's available, everyone owns it. Do we want to sell that capability overseas? If we're doing our own reconnaissance, do we want COTS users to predict our own attack?" It is, he says, "a tough part of the decision tree."

But the Northrop Grumman researchers are also well aware that the issue has another dimension. "If you look at open source, unclassified data on what potential adversaries are doing in this area, it's hard to differentiate between military and economic warfare," says Zavidniak. "If I am an attacker with a mission," notes McCallam, "I don't need conventional weaponry. I can attack the bank, the power company, the warehouses where a grocery chain stores its food, the credit and debit card systems." In a crisis, with U.S. forces preparing to deploy forward, an attacker could target telephone and air traffic control systems around major bases. Military commanders could not reach their people with deployment orders. Personnel would be less effective, wondering whether their families would be able to find food or when the power might be restored. Military flights might be able to operate, but the chartered civil aircraft needed to deploy key people could be mired in chaos.

When civilian infrastructure becomes critical to the military's ability to do its job, it may make sense to protect those systems as well as those owned by the Pentagon. Zavidniak and others believe that the concept of information resiliency and the kind of tools being tested by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force will eventually find their way into commercial systems, but that some of the more advanced technical approaches will remain exclusive to the military. The Central Intelligence Agency's establishment of InQTel, a Silicon Valley venture firm with the goal of adapting commercial technology to unique government needs, is an example of such a government/commercial partnership. Northrop Grumman, with a strong background in government and industry solutions and its links to the closely related world of electronic warfare, will be in a strong position to compete in such an environment.

"To confront this enemy we must tolerate intrusion-even welcome it," says the Air Force's Taylor, "as a means to discover, subvert, and aggressively respond. The intrusion-tolerant battle management system is the first of a new generation of technologies based on the notion of information resiliency-the ability of a system to tolerate, dynamically reconfigure, and repair itself in response to an attack."

 
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