SAN DIEGO, Feb. 18, 2009 -- Speaking at the 2009 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics (AFCEA) West Conference here Friday, Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Linda A. Mills, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector, called for greater development of a "cyber intelligence" capability to monitor activity by the nation's adversaries on U.S. networks.
Mills' remarks are available at: http://www.northropgrumman.com/presentations
In a speech outlining the defense and security challenges the nation faces in these turbulent economic times, Mills emphasized the need to adapt defense investments and planning for a new economic era by investing in technologies and people and developing deeper government-industry partnerships. She pointed out that defense spending is largely domestic, high-tech, high value-added, distributed across the country and often "a catalyst for enduring benefits to the civilian economy that far outlast temporary economic conditions."
Mills cited the Global Positioning System and packet networks as two examples of technologies originally developed for military uses that have become "thoroughly embedded in our cars, our BlackBerries and PDAs." She expressed confidence there would be ever greater demand for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) technologies, which provide the capability to find "the proverbial 'needle in a haystack.'"
Mills commended President Barack Obama's administration for declaring the nation's cyber infrastructure a strategic asset. She illustrated the threat by citing the case of "Terrorist 007" who used phishing schemes to funnel money to al Qaeda and scrutinized home movies from U.S. soldiers to blueprint military bases; the compromise of as many as 100 million identities in a months-long undetected cyber penetration of a large credit card payment system; and U.S. Air Force estimates that a foreign government has stolen 10 to 20 terabytes of information from unclassified military networks.
Because networks are so critical to national security and the threats so pervasive, she called for greater development of "cyber intelligence" along with more traditional forms of intelligence gathering, such as communications intelligence (COMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), and others.
"Our growing dependence on networks is making the 'I' part of C4ISR a vital tool in tracing their nefarious cyber-activities -- to the point that 'cyber-int' may merit designation among our classical 'ints' or intelligence collection disciplines," Mills said. "Whatever the budget constraints of the future, it's a safe bet we're going to need more, not less, C4ISR. Our leaders will demand it."
Mills compared C4ISR technologies to the five senses of the human body.
"In an overall sense, C4ISR does for military forces what the five senses, the brain and the nervous system do for the human body -- providing awareness, facilitating decisions, and enabling the desired action or reaction, all with seamless integration," Mills said. "It allows complicated systems to act as one -- whether land-based, sea-based, space-based or cyber-based-for our operations or those of our allies."
Mills pointed out that the rapid reaction rescue efforts following the crash landing of a U.S. Airways plane was made possible partly because the various agencies involved used the common and interoperable communications equipment.
Among those technologies needed, Mills suggested the further development of "cyber ranges" to help assess the cyber threat and also highlighted as "our next great need" the capability to "integrate, analyze, and interpret distinct climate data streams into a comprehensive picture of climate developments."
Meeting these challenges will also require making the next generation of employees, the "first generation to grow up in a fully digital age," a priority and greater investments in math and science education. "We will need to do more than just educate our young people for defense work. We will also have to educate ourselves about how to engage them, motivate them and even to follow them as well as to lead them.
"This is already an era of tremendous change and uncertainty. It is also a great opportunity to assert leadership -- for industry and government leaders and for the nation as a whole. This is the time for us all to step up and demonstrate innovation, courage and reinvention," Mills concluded.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Janis Lamar Northrop Grumman Information Systems (703) 345-7046 firstname.lastname@example.org