In regards to U.S. cyber policy from both a civilian and a military perspective, the strengths or what is being done to strengthen cyber security it consequently the weaknesses associated with that as well. Companies and countries both rely on cyberspace for everything from financial transactions to the movement of military forces; with the U.S. committed to maintaining an open, secure, interoperable, and reliable Internet that enables prosperity, public safety, and the free flow of commerce and idea. With this in mind internet use is prevalent amongst 94 percent of jobholders across industries, including non-technology firms, big corporations, and small businesses in urban and rural settings, and places in between” (Byrum, 2015). In the year 2000, according to the Internet Usage and Broadband Usage Report, the U.S. population was at 281,421,906, with 124,000,000 or 44.1% of the total population being internet users. The percentage of internet users nearly doubled by the year 2014. The U.S. population in 2014 was at 318,892,103, with 277,436,130 or 87% of them being internet users. As of June 30th, 2017, the U.S, population was at 363,224,006 with 320,059,368 or 88.1% of the population being internet users.
Being as the this cyber technology is so deeply embedded into our everyday activities, the Department of Defense (DOD) was made responsible for the defending of nation from cyber treats as well as the nation’s interests from such attacks. In a manner consistent with U.S. and international law, the DOD seeks to deter attacks and defend the United States against any adversary that seeks to harm U.S. national interests during times of peace, crisis, or conflict. To this end the DOD has developed capabilities for cyber operations and is integrating those capabilities into the full array of tools that the United States government uses to defend U.S. national interests, including diplomatic, informational, military, economic, financial, and law enforcement tools. The cyber operations developed to strengthen and improve cyber policy involves information sharing, building bridges, and building alliances.
“To secure and advance U.S. interests in cyberspace, DoD seeks to share information and coordinate with U.S. government agencies in an integrated fashion on a range of cyber activities”<w:sdt>(The Secretary of Defense, 2015). Just like with the development of Fusion Centers, the idea is to spread as much pertinent information as possible across all levels of law enforcement and private sectors to ultimately increase protection, prevention, and awareness of the threats and risks that present themselves. The weakness associated with this operation is the breakdown in communication. Often time’s agencies are reluctant to share information with other entities due to the fact that the information may be deemed privileged or classified; limiting the amount of available intelligence, thus defeating the purpose of this tactic.
From software developers to Internet Services Providers and even to the hardware manufactures, private companies provide the goods and services that make cyberspace available. “The Defense Department relies on the private sector to build its networks, provide cybersecurity services, and research and develop advanced capabilities”<w:sdt>(The Secretary of Defense, 2015); building that bridge to the private sector. The weakness associated here is the dependency and reliance on the private sector. Generally speaking, this makes the DOD slave to the public sector because the private sector can ultimately decide what quality product, the price of the produce, and how much of the product they are willing to sell to the DOD; not to mention that the private sector is free to sell such products to the competition or the malicious users.
The “DoD helps U.S. allies and partners to understand the cyber threats they face and to build the cyber capabilities necessary to defend their networks and data. Allies and partners also often have complementary capabilities that can augment those of the United States, and the United States seeks to build strong alliances and coalitions to counter potential adversaries’ cyber activities”<w:sdt>(The Secretary of Defense, 2015). Reasonably enough this will help strengthen both cyber security and international cyber policy, but the fact remains that we as a nation are revealing our tactics and vulnerabilities to nations that are now considered allies; but could one day change. For example, use the agreement made between former President Obama and Chinese Prime Minister Xi. The agreement reached stated that there should be increase in communication and with the cooperation between the two nation to better facilitate the investigating and prevention of cybercrimes threatening each nation. The second interest / agreement is that neither the U.S. nor the Chinese government will knowingly conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property. Lastly, “they also agreed that both sides are committed to identifying, developing, and promoting appropriate norms of state behavior in cyberspace within the international community and establishing a high-level joint dialogue mechanism on fighting cybercrime and related issues” (Brown & Yung, 2017). This sounds like an argument to be made in favor of this tactic strengthening cyber policy, but keep in mind that China is responsible for cyber attacking the Sony Company for its creation of the movie, “The Interview”.