Read Macgregor & Steele for the Other Half
January 1, 2011
I like the book and I like the authors and I do NOT like the fact that neither decision-support nor intelligence (decision-support) nor M4IS2* are in this book. Retired Reader’s review–at five stars–is the review I would have written were I to read the book rather than just appreciate it via Look Inside the Book, and he and I have discussed the intellectual and leadership vacuum we all have in cyberspace where most simply have no idea what they are doing.
* Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2)
I must defer to Retired Reader and Bob Gourley on the good of this book, and hence five stars from em as well. However, and with proper regard for the the vastly experienced and well-intentioned authors, it troubles me that they do not include core concepts and context such as were developed by Robert Garigue, who died at the age of 55 before being able to produce his master work. His Preface to my third book, Information Operations: All Information, All Languages, All the Time and a couple of his briefings that I have featured at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, are all that we have to remember his towering genius. As with all my books, all free online.
Here is Robert Garigue’s bottom line: cyber-power–and cyber-security and what some would call today cyber-command (actually an oxymoron) are about TRUTH & TRUST. All this stuff about protecting legacy systems that are 90% rubbish or interdicting and interfering with the 10% of our enemies that have sophisticated system, is out of touch with reality. The Chinese have whipped our butts on both stealth and riding electrical circuits into NSA’s computers and they did it because we pretend that spending money on contractor vapor-ware (SAIC’s Trailblazer comes to mind) is somehow equivalent to being competent at something useful.
This brings me to the bottom line: cyber-power does not exist in a vacuum. It is, like a weapon, an extention of the humans that it serves or empowers. Right now US cyber-power is–to the extent it is even relevant or effective–being managed by gerbils (Madeline Albright’s term, not mine) for utterly unsound and intellectually as well as morally bankrupt ends–and it is not doing a single thing to help infantry squads see over the next hill, survive improvised explosive devices that still cannot be detected (on behalf of the Marine Corps, my #1 requirement for MASINT in 1988 after seeing the wood-encased IED’s in El Salvador in 1979-1980) and on and on.
I take the time to provide this extended comment here because I agree with Retired Reader and Bob Gourley and others–this book is important. It is however, terribly incomplete and out of context, and that is something I would like to see NDU correct as soon as possible. Cyber-power is strategic, operational, tactical, and technical; it should TRANSFORM how we do policy, acquisition, and operations, to include enabling multinational “eight-tribe” operations in which cyber-power HARMONIZES a shared view of the challenge, the solution, and the campaign.
I have a graphic at Phi Beta Iota that I used in my presentation to NSA in Las Vegas, from Mich Kabay, on Cyber-Threat 101. FIFTY PERCENT is from errors and omissions–and I will just quote Paul Strassmann, at the time (1992) Director of Defense Information–“Information Technology makes bad management worse!” We are throwing money at vendors in the name of cyber-power when there are only 67 people in the USA doing code-level research on information security, and none of them work for a vendor. [See my piece 2010: OPINION–America’s Cyber Scam in Homeland Security Today.] We are doing nothing on the tri-fecta of cyber-power, open spectrum, free/open source software, and open source intelligence. The government managers do not have a strategic framework (cyber is about humanity, not computers), they have no clue how to evaluate the vapor-ware claims of the vendors, and they will all be long-retired before they can be held accountable for blowing hundreds of millions of dollars (witness the last five or six NSA chiefs).
I could go on but I will save the rest for anytime in the future that NDU wants to think about Round II.
Argh. 5 stars for intent, 4 stars for missing half the picture, 5 because Retired Reader and Bob Gourley cannot be denied.
Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights
Breaking the Phalanx: A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century
Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainaabilty