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Cyber Operations Bridging from Concept to Cyber Superiority
Joint Forces Quarterly (2013)
  • Jan Kallberg, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Bhavani Thuraisingham, University of Texas at Dallas

The United States is preparing for cyber conflicts and ushering in a new era for national security. The concept of cyber operations is rapidly developing, and the time has come to transpose the conceptual heights to a broad ability to fight a strategic cyber conflict and defend the Nation in a cohesive way. Richard M. George, a former National Security Agency official, commented on recent developments: “Other countries are preparing for a cyberwar. If we’re not pushing the envelope in cyber, somebody else will.”1 Therefore, increased budgets are allocated to cyber operations research and education. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Plan X Cyber Operations Bridging from Concept to Cyber Superiority By J a n K a l l b e r g and B h a v a n i T h u r a i s i n g h a m Dr. Jan Kallberg is a Research Associate in the Cyber Security Research and Education Center in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham is the Louis A. Beecher Jr. I Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Executive Director of the Cyber Security Research and Education Center. (for which a formal solicitation has not yet been issued at the point of authorship) will, according to media outlets, give an additional infusion of $110 million to research in pursuit of cyber operational capacities. Herbert S. Lin of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences commented, “They’re talking about being able to dominate the digital battlefield just like they do the traditional battlefield.”2 Plan X adds to the DARPA budget of $1.54 billion for cyber research in the period 2013–2017.3 Additional funds are allocated for a variety of Federal agencies. The most desirable goal is to acquire cyber supremacy—global U.S. dominance in cyberspace that permits the secure, reliable conduct of operations by U.S. forces and related land, sea, air, and space forces at a given time and sphere of operations without prohibitive interference by an adversary.4 Universities are instrumental in bridging from concept to methodology, tools, and implementation. They are the force multiplier of the cyber defense doctrine as research hubs, educating thousands in the civilian and military-contractor workforces, and as a provider of technical solutions to ensure mission success. It is pivotal for cyber superiority that institutions of higher learning are aligned with the strategic goals of our national cyber defense strategy and clearly understand its doctrinal underpinnings. Put differently, if cyber security research is driving in a different direction than the national cyber strategy, we are getting in trouble by creating a gap and a weakness that can be exploited by hostile parties. Not only do we lose the opportunity to acquire cyber superiority, but we also become the prey in cyberwar.

  • cyber operations,
  • offensive cyber,
  • cyber defense,
  • counter cyber,
  • cyber defense workforce
Publication Date
Winter January 5, 2013
Citation Information
Jan Kallberg and Bhavani Thuraisingham. "Cyber Operations Bridging from Concept to Cyber Superiority" Joint Forces Quarterly Vol. 68 Iss. 1st Quarter 2013 (2013)
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