Analyzing the use of Cyber in Warfare at the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Levels
Wallach, Daniel S.
Doctor of Philosophy
The United States relies on networked computing for all manner of economic, social, and civic activity. However, cyberspace also presents potential adversaries with an avenue to overcome the overwhelming advantage enjoyed by the US in conventional military power. The introduction of cyberspace has blurred the edge of the battlefield; allowing an adversary to use easily procured equipment and from anywhere attack the process of a commercial or government target. This addition has introduced challenges to many traditional military concepts at each level of warfare: strategic, operational, and tactical. This thesis investigates and presents solutions to three of these challenges. At the strategic level, the DoD has declared cyberspace as a war-fighting domain. The ultra high-speed, fluid, and omnipresent nature of cyberspace makes it fundamentally different from the traditional domains. Strategic thinkers cling to ideological legacies of the past regarding problems, innovations, and strategies. So before imposing past tenets of and terminology onto the new field, these legacies need to be examined to see if they are pertinent and to what degree. At the operational level, the DoD relies heavily on networking technologies to efficiently conduct missions across the globe. This dependency places the nation at risk of a loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its critical information resources; degrading its ability to complete the mission. I introduce the operational framework for establishing situational awareness in cyberspace. Using this framework will provide the nation’s leadership timely and accurate information to gain an understanding of the operational cyber environment to enable decision-making at all levels. In regards to social media, there has become a growing tension between military users’ personal needs and military operational security at the tactical level. Like everyone, military members post seemingly trivial information and pictures; which can be aggregated and augmented by an adversary to determine possible intelligence targets. I investigate the current state of DoD social media policy, use an automated approach to determine the amount of openly available information provided by U.S. military members, analyze it through content analysis, apply machine learning techniques, then finally rank the vulnerability of each individual.
Cyber Warfare; Cyber Domain; Cyber Situational Awareness; OpSec; Social Media