Space, Cyber Security, Our Military…..What Is the Next Step
Looking at the military, we need to not only give more strength to it, in a more mission specific way, we also need to look at what it is missing. The military we see now is what was set up at the end of the second world war; before this, we have the navy that dates to the revolutionary war. We saw the rise of the marines which were part of the navy, the army, added to this you had the coast guard, which started after the revolutionary war, this was due to a call from Alexander Hamilton, it was set up to protect our ports and collect customs.
These four services were the entirety of the US forces until after World War 2; then a new force was created due to the advent of the fighter and bombers. Each branch set up in a structure that was created at the end of the second world war, but with new technology, a growth of new tech in ways our founders, let alone the leaders in the 1950s could have imagined, is there a need to do some restructuring to meet the needs of the modern age?
The army is the oldest of our military branches, the first army as a unified command was created by the continental command on 14 June 1775 under the unified command of General of the Armies Washington (he was awarded the rank after his death, under the law, he will always hold the highest position ever held).
We saw after the war was finished the army be reduced in size and function, this was due to the mistrust of the time of a large standing army, our founding fathers felt such a force was a threat to our democracy, how times have changed. We saw the rise and fall of the size and scope of the army until the second world war; it grew during the war to a size never seen before, over 8 million men, then was reduced to still very high strength after the war due to the cold war. We also saw the army split up; the army air corps was broken away from the army and given its command.
The Navy like the army was started as well in the revolutionary war; this was due to a need to halt smuggling and raids by the British navy, at first, each state created and commanded their navy, then on 13 October 1775 the first unified naval command was created. Like the army, it saw its ranks rise and fall from times of war to times of peace, but since the US had a strong trade economy, and our only means at the time of trading overseas was by ship, it was paramount to have strong navy force in hand to protect our shipping.
After the war, the US due to financial struggles decided to keep a navy in force to prevent smuggling, this, for the most part, was what kept this command going until the War of 1812. In that time we did see the construction of a six-ship navy (that is when the USS Constitution was built), We saw an expansion after the War of 1812 when Congress saw what the navy had accomplished in that war, while we saw a rise and fall in the size and scope of the navy, it was never like the land forces.
The navy then grew from the civil war, with innovations causing a shock to the world as the old capital sailing ships were shown to be outdated, a rapid technological growth than experienced with the industrial age, ships grew from wooden ships with sales to steam-powered metal behemoths with large guns capable of firing on ships many miles away. This advancement continued through the first world war with submarines showing their worth, then the second world war with the advent of aircraft carriers as capital ships, the navy changed in 100 years in ways that were not even though of 100 years before. But after the second world war, while technology has changed things, we still have aircraft carriers as capital ships, as much as they have changed things have stayed the same.
We also have the Marines, they are a service of their own, although they are under the US Navy. They were founded in 1775 as a service to their own, it was an act of Congress on 30 June 1834 that put them under the control of the navy, but they still have their command. As such they are under the Secretary of the Navy, their commander does sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while they work with and coordinate their movements with the navy, they do have their ships for their use, they are owned by the US Navy, these are set up for amphibious operations. They have their command, but they still are under the command of the Sec of Navy. They too have seen growth and then shrinking in size from times of war to peace, but since many times they are the first force called upon at the beginning of a war, they are and have been kept strong enough to take on the missions they are called upon to perform.
The youngest of the military branches, the US Air Force were the first part of the army, but due to the scope of their mission and the size of their force Congress in the National Security Act of 1947. Prior to this they were part of the Army, were looked upon as they grew from the Wright brother’s wood and cloth bi-planes to the second world warfighters and bombers, since prior to 1900 there was not even a plane in the sky, it would make sense as the complexity and capability grew, so would the need for the use of this new tech. They evolved from their humble origins to where they are today. The air force within the army started and grew as follows:
- Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps (1 August 1907 – 18 July 1914)
- Aviation Section, Signal Corps (18 July 1914 – 20 May 1918)
- Division of Military Aeronautics (20 May 1918 to 24 May 1918)
- U.S. Army Air Service (24 May 1918 to 2 July 1926)
- U.S. Army Air Corps (2 July 1926 to 20 June 1941)
- U.S. Army Air Forces (20 June 1941 to 18 September 1947)
In October of 1947, the US Congress set the Air Force up as its own command, while it worked with the US Navy and the Army, as such it was set under its own direction, not subservient to either branch. We have since seen the Air Force grow with the Space command under them, they also have their own cyber command, but all are within the Air Force, just like it was part of the Army until 1947.
While most think these are the only military commands in the US, lesser known is the Coast Guard, this protects our shores from smuggling and terrorist attacks in times of peace, in times of war they are transferred to the US Navy and placed under their command to give a unified command over all our sea assets.
The problem lies in the cloud, computing, and the advent of the internet. None of this was envisioned in 1775 let alone 1947, even during the cold war, the thought of attacking an enemy with massive cyber-attacks was not even though of, but today we have small countries like North Korea, Iran and others whom while not strong militarily have top notched cyber commands.
China has a whole section of its security dedicated to not only protecting their country from cyberattacks but has been very active in its capability to launch such themselves.
Israel, a very close ally of the US has seen this need, they have taken and put it as a national priority, thus even though they are small in size, they are one of the leaders in this field. They have not only set up protection for their own network security but have helped both nations and private individuals to set up and take part of what today is an $82 billion industry, due to complexity and growth with state players coming into this field, this is going to grow to this size today will be dwarfed by what is to come.
Yet today each branch in the military has their own cyber command, so does organizations like the FBI, CIA, DOT and then the private organizations, but are they capable of coordinating together to work to prevent a state actor from shutting down our electricity grid? What about the pipelines we have all over that ship oil underground from one part of the US to another, this is how all our area hubs receive their fuel supplies, then trucks or trains ship from the hub to gas stations, power plants, and other fuel users, what would happen if this was attacked.
And worse of all, the internet, you hack through a virus, is it possible to shut down the world web, and what would happen to us as a society, who are at the point of dependency on the Web if it was shut down? Further, if you attacked our power grid, would it matter, if you have no electricity, no means to power cell towers or servers, how are you going to access it anyways? And what if we were hit with an EMP type device, how much of our access to anything we hold of importance would be accessible?
There is not only the internet but today most of nation’s military runs off of GPS, from fighters knowing where they are to bombs being dropped with precision. We have spy satellites that keep an eye on not only what the enemy is doing, but where they are, large radar satellites keep an eye over large area’s of the ocean to keep an eye on enemy ships, keep command apprised of where they are, but what would happen if we lost these? From GPS to the world wide web, news feeds, international communications are all totally dependent on space assets, yet we treat this with a casual attitude that is surprising. If you took these assets out you would not only change in a drastic fashion how Americans live their life (it would put us back in the ’50s, waiting for underwater lines to communicate with Europe and other parts of the world, or dealing with less secure long-range communications), think what today’s younger generation would react to this, you think they are out of control now, what would follow would make this look tame. Yet when it has been breached, we need to have a branch dedicated to only safeguarding space and our access to it, naturally even the most advanced technologically or our military branches, the Air Force is resistant to it, but what we have is not adequate to handle the needs that this county has.
So what should we do? The answer is real simple, when you have a branch in the military, they have what direction they want to head in, they prioritize their spending to that goal, many times at the need of other needs, this is not a fault of theirs, they are given a directive, what they are supposed to do in the realm of their capabilities to aid in our national defense.
If you are the Air Force, you want Air Power to be of utmost importance, like the Navy with their ships, the Army with their land forces, this is both great for the country, but in times of need can be very resistant to any changes that need to be made, it is for this reason we need Congress to look at putting in place two new branches in the military, one for Space Command, I don’t think it is an issue if they are placed like the Marines are, having their own command but being placed under the Sec. of the Air Force, they then would receive a budget that would place their emphases on protecting their space assets, providing secure access to space, to deny our enemy in times of war that same need.
We also need to put in place even a more robust cyber command, this needs to be taken out as just a DOD organization, although I think it would be great to have them work together, instead it needs to be set up as a cabinet-level structure, not only to have the ability to tie in with the Military cyber command, and that I will get to in a minute, but it needs to be civilian in structure. Further, as we have tied all the intelligence together under one head to give direction, this way you don’t have three to five intel organizations running the same investigation, refusing to share information, wasting resources, not to mention productivity, like they have an IDF Cyber-Command, we need to bring the US into a modern age where we do the same.
It is my belief that with this we should not only look at the protection of our space assets, which would face attacks from two fronts. an attack from hackers, hostile military powers, but also from natural events, such as solar flairs, not bring in space junk, meteors, and such natural items.
The reality is today we are so dependent on space-based assets, the loss would cause irritable harm to the US, due to this we need an agency that can give 100% of its attention to this, work with spy agencies like the NSA, the military, have them work together with this agency help coordinate the services together in protecting our space assets rather than have multiple programs, many times working on the same thing, would aid in protection, also could save money by stopping duplicity.
Cyber Command would be better suited to be set up with a set up as Israel has, they have their cyber command work with their military branches, their civilian sector, and their government agencies, each working together to achieve the same goal. While Israel is decidedly smaller then the US is in both size, population, the complexity of its government set up, not to mention the industrial scale, we could still do something like this here.
We could set up one Department of cybersecurity, have it tied to Cyber Command, this, in turn, could work with Space Command to keep our access to our space command secure, could work with each branch of the military, tying in efforts to prevent each from repeating the same process, also if you had a single command, you could put the assets to work on different area’s in a time of crises rather then them all working on the same thing with five different branches. It also could not only work with private enterprises to protect our businesses from being hacked and trillions work of R&D stolen from the nations like China, but it could also work with their cyber teams to enhance what we already have in place.
Last, they could work with government agencies like DOT, DOE, along with all the others to help aid in a coordinated working of keeping all our infrastructure secure can free from foreign control through hacking, this would only increase in need in times of conflict. Would also be necessary to aid in setting up on a national scale to secure our energy and communication infrastructure not only from cyber attacks, but to harden them against attacks from EMP devices.
“Not doing anything can be worse then doing the wrong thing.”
Would making this happen this take money from other agencies and the DOD? Of course, it would, but it also would give each the ability to not have duplicate programs in place, would aid in national coordination, thus saving them money in the long run.
If we could secure our space assets from both physical and cyber attacks we would keep our military at its optimum operational capability; it would also save trillions in stolen tech, hardened our infrastructure from EMP type attacks, thus continuing to enable this nation to operate even in times of conflict. The choices are rather stark, we can do nothing and hope for the goodwill of our enemies, only a fool would think this is acceptable, or we can look to the future, we will not be fighting the wars of yesterday with sword and spear, we will be doing most of the fighting within the confines of the cloud, instead of bullets we will be firing worms and system denial attacks. It is up to us to instill the need of this on our leaders if they can’t see it maybe it is time to replace them with someone that does.