Thursday, June 13, 2013

General Keith B, Alexander - June 13, 2013 - Cyber Security










12 JUNE 2013
Thank you very much, Chairwoman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby, for inviting

me to speak to you and your colleagues. I am here representing the Department of Defense in

general and the men and women, military and civilian, who serve at U.S. Cyber Command

(USCYBERCOM) and the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS). It is

my honor to appear today with colleagues from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its Federal

Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National

Institute of Science and Technology (NIST). I hope to describe some of the challenges we face

in performing the difficult but vital missions of keeping U.S. national security systems secure,

helping to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from national-level cyber attacks, and

working with other U.S. Government agencies, state and local authorities, national allies, and the

private sector in defending our nation’s interests in cyberspace. Together we make up a team

deeply committed to compliance with the law and the protection of privacy rights that works

every day with other U.S. government agencies, industry, academia, citizens, and allies, for only

our combined efforts will enable us to make progress in cybersecurity for the nation as a whole.
Defending the Nation in Cyberspace
I would like to start today by discussing the two elements of this team that I lead.

USCYBERCOM is a sub-unified command of U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, though we

are based at Fort Meade. USCYBERCOM’s mission is to plan, coordinate, integrate,

synchronize and conduct activities to direct the operations and defense of Department of Defense
information networks. We also prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military

cyberspace operations in order to enable traditional military activities, ensure U.S./Allied

freedom of action in cyberspace, and deny our adversaries the ability to harm us or our allies.

USCYBERCOM has three operational focus areas: defending the Nation, supporting the

Combatant Commands, and defending DoD Information Networks. As I noted when I testified

before the Armed Services Committee in March, USCYBERCOM will address these three

operational focus areas with its new Cyber Mission Forces, organized into National Mission

Teams, Combat Mission Teams and Cyber Protection Teams.

Due to the intersecting responsibilities of the two organizations, USCYBERCOM was

placed at the headquarters of NSA/CSS at Fort Meade. NSA/CSS collects signals intelligence on

our cyber adversaries; and provides information assurance strategies and technologies to protect

our national security systems. The conduct of these two missions is critical to enabling cyber

operations. NSA/CSS also has multiple, technical capabilities critical to the cyber mission area,

such as high-performance computing and large-scale, distributed processing and data storage.

These are just some of the components of what we call the cryptologic platform; it constitutes the

collection of signals intelligence and communications security capabilities that since 1952 have

served users ranging from national customers, to departmental analysts, to battlefield

commanders. The defense of U.S. military networks depends on knowing what those who would

harm us are doing in cyberspace, which in turn depends on intelligence produced by NSA and

other members of the Intelligence Community regarding adversary intentions and capabilities.
Cyberspace is characterized by high levels of convergence of separate and different

networks and technology that have come together to form something greater than the sum of the

parts. In this regard, USCYBERCOM’s co-location with NSA/CSS mirrors the convergence in

cyberspace and is a direct result of that technological shift. What we have learned is that if

convergence is the reality of the cyber environment, then integration must be the reality of our

response. Co-location promotes intense and mutually beneficial collaboration in an operational

environment in which USCYBERCOM’s success relies on net-speed intelligence. Although

they are separate and distinct organizations with their own missions and authorities, NSA/CSS is

a major force multiplier for USCYBERCOM, pairing the Command’s operators, planners, and

analysts with the expertise and assistance of NSA/CSS’ cryptographers, analysts, access

developers, on-net operators, language analysts, and support personnel. These are close working

relationships that enable seamless, deconflicted operations that are vital to the success of the

cyber mission. Co-location also improves the deconfliction of operations; physical proximity

enhances mutual understanding and awareness of mission areas and helps forge effective

partnerships that serve both organizations and the nation well. Only a tightly integrated team,

and tightly integrated solutions, can do what is required to address cyber threats at net speed.

I serve as the dual-hatted Commander, USCYBERCOM, and Director, NSA/Chief, CSS.

The dual-hatting unifies the capabilities for full-spectrum cyber operations under a single

official, maximizes the leverage of NSA/CSS cyber capabilities, capacities, and authorities, and

establishes unity of effort in cyberspace for the Department of Defense. It allows deconfliction

of the use of the cryptologic platform to occur with full knowledge of the needs of both

organizations on a timely basis. Together, the people under my command and direction at
USCYBERCOM and NSA/CSS work in concert but always under their respective authorities.

They direct the operation of the Department’s information networks, detect threats in foreign

cyberspace, attribute threats, secure national security information systems, and help ensure

freedom of action for the United States military and its allies in cyberspace—and, when directed,

defend the nation against a cyber attack.

In keeping with the DoD’s Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, USCYBERCOM and

NSA/CSS are together assisting the Department in building: 1) a defensible architecture; 2)

global situational awareness and a common operating picture; 3) a concept for operating in

cyberspace; 4) trained and ready cyber forces; and 5) the capacity to take action when

authorized. Indeed, with another key mission partner in DoD—the Defense Information Systems

Agency (DISA), also based at Fort Meade—we are finding that our progress in each of these five

areas benefits our efforts in the rest. We are improving our tactics, techniques, and procedures,

as well as our policies and organizations. This means building cyber capabilities into doctrine,

plans, and training – and building them in a way that senior leaders can plan and integrate such

capabilities as they would capabilities in the air, land, and sea domains.

The imperative to accomplish this mission grows every day. We operate in a dynamic

and contested domain that literally changes its characteristics each time someone powers on a

networked device. Make no mistake: in light of the real and growing threats in cyberspace, our

nation needs a strong DoD role in cyberspace. While we feel confident that most foreign leaders

believe that a devastating attack on the critical infrastructure and population of the United States

by cyber means would elicit a prompt and proportionate response, it is possible, however, that
some regime or cyber actor could misjudge the impact and the certainty of our resolve. In

particular, we are not yet deterring the persistent cyber harassment of private and public sites,

property, and data. Such attacks have not caused loss of life, but they have been destructive to

both data and property in other countries. The remote assaults last summer on Saudi Aramco

and RasGas, for example, rendered inoperable—and effectively destroyed the data on—more

than 30,000 computers. Cyber programs and capabilities are growing, evolving, and spreading;

we believe it is only a matter of time before the sort of sophisticated tools developed by wellfunded

state actors find their way to groups or even individuals who in their zeal to make some

political statement do not know or do not care about the collateral damage they inflict on

bystanders and critical infrastructure. The United States is already a target. Networks and

websites owned by Americans and located here have endured intentional, state-sponsored

attacks, and some have incurred degradation and disruption because they happened to be along

the route to another state’s overseas targets. Our critical infrastructure is thus doubly at risk. On

a scale of one to ten, with ten being strongly defended, our critical infrastructure’s preparedness

to withstand a destructive cyber attack is about a three based on my experience. There are

variations in preparedness across sectors, but all are susceptible to the vulnerabilities of the


Let me draw your attention to another serious threat to U.S. interests: the continuing and

systematic cyber exploitation of American companies and enterprises, and the resulting theft of

intellectual property. Many such incidents are perpetrated by organized cybercriminals, but

foreign government-directed cyber operators, tools, and organizations are targeting the data of

American and Western businesses, institutions, and citizens. Certain nations have a resourced
national strategy to grow their economies by intellectual property (IP) theft. They target any

company with valuable IP or a leading position in its sector—and not just that company itself.

Even companies that have protected their information have partners that could be “soft” targets.

Are we susceptible? In the U.S., intrusions have occurred against the best in the security

business. The collective damage that such intrusions inflict on America’s economic

competitiveness and innovation edge is profound, translating into missed opportunities for U.S.

companies and the potential for lost American jobs. Cyber theft jeopardizes our economic well

The U.S. Federal Cybersecurity Team
No federal department or agency is solely responsible for addressing the cyber threat, and

none has been designated as the federal cybersecurity lead because each brings unique

authorities, resources, and capabilities to the effort. Cybersecurity requires a team approach,

where the leadership and support roles change depending on the nature of the threat and the

required response. Together, three departments carry out important roles and responsibilities as

part of the broader U.S. federal cybersecurity team in order to provide for the nation’s


The DOJ is the lead federal department responsible for the investigation,

attribution, disruption and prosecution of cybersecurity incidents. Within the DOJ, the FBI

conducts domestic collection, analysis, and dissemination of cyber threat intelligence.

The DHS is the lead federal department responsible for national protection against,

mitigation of, and recovery from domestic cybersecurity incidents. The DHS is also the lead

for securing unclassified federal civilian government networks and working with owners and

operators of critical infrastructure to secure their networks through risk assessment,

mitigation incident-response capabilities.

The DoD is ultimately responsible for defending the nation from attack in cyberspace, just as

it is in all other domains. In the event of a foreign cyber attack on the United States with the

potential for significant national security or economic consequences, the DoD, including

USCYBERCOM with the support of NSA/CSS, will be prepared to respond.

These efforts depend on shared situational awareness and integrated operations across the

U.S. government, state and local authorities, and international partners. Together, we are helping

to increase our global situational awareness through our growing collaboration with federal

government mission partners and other departments and agencies, as well as with private

industry and with other countries. That collaboration allows us to better understand what is

happening across the cyber domain, which enhances our situational awareness, not only for DoD

but also across the U.S. government.

Under the joint leadership of DHS and NSA, the FBI and the other Federal Cybersecurity

centers created a framework to describe cybersecurity functions and information exchanges and

are now developing an implementation plan for an information sharing environment that will
create a cross-government shared situational awareness that is extensible to other partners such

as the state and local governments and our allies. Implementing this capability to improve our

collective response actions is one of the President’s top cyber priorities for Fiscal Year 14.

Successful operations in cyberspace depend on collaboration between defenders and

operators. Those who secure and defend must synchronize with those who operate, and their

collaboration must be informed by up-to-date intelligence. I see greater understanding today of

the importance of this synergy across the Department, the government, and our public at large.

Last fall the departments negotiated, and the President endorsed, a broad clarification of the

responsibilities of the various organizations and capabilities operating in cyberspace, revising the

procedures we employ for ensuring that, in the event of a cyber incident of national significance,

we are prepared to act with all necessary speed in a coordinated and mutually-supporting

manner. USCYBERCOM is also being integrated into the National Event response process, so

that a cyber incident of national significance can elicit a fast and effective response, to include

self-defense actions where approved, necessary, and appropriate.

As part of this progress, we in the federal government are working with state, local,

international, and private partners. NSA/CSS, for example, is defining security dimensions that

government and private users can utilize for “cloud” architectures, and has shown how we can

manage large quantities of data and still preserve strong security. We have even shared the

source code publicly so public and private architectures can benefit from it. USCYBERCOM

has sponsored not only an expanding range of training courses but also two important exercises,

CYBER FLAG and CYBER GUARD. The former is USCYBERCOM’s major Command-level
exercise, the most recent iteration of which brought in international partners to practice force-onforce

maneuvers in cyberspace. The latter assembled 500 participants last summer, including a

hundred from the National Guards of twelve states. They exercised state- and national-level

responses in a virtual environment, learning each other’s comparative strengths and concerns

should an adversary attack our critical infrastructure in cyberspace.
For the past five years, federal cyber-related spending and performance reporting have

been organized around the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), from which

NSA/CSS received a significant amount of funding to provide specialized capabilities and

foundational support to address the cyber threat. Last summer – and planned as a yearly exercise

- the Administration issued a data call, which includes CNCI and non-CNCI investments, in

order to better understand and track cybersecurity and cyberspace operations funding.

NSA/CSS’s budget under this taxonomy represents spending under the major cybersecurity

categories: (1) Prevent malicious cyber activity, (2) Detect, Analyze, and Mitigate Intrusions,

and (3) Shape the Cybersecurity Environment. These investments are fundamental to our overall

cybersecurity strategy to develop and deploy unique cyber capabilities that leverage the use of

signals intelligence to enhance network defense. Additional investments in cyberspace

operations provide the foundational infrastructure necessary to build those capabilities as well as

support full spectrum cyberspace operations in direct support of Combatant Command
requirements (e.g., cryptanalysis, net-centric capabilities, data repositories, sensor deployments,

and research).

From the operational perspective, the ultimate objective of cybersecurity is to deny the

adversary any opportunity to exploit our systems. Doing so requires that we protect ourselves

from both known and unknown threats as we execute our comprehensive strategy of hardening

our networks, defending our networks, and leveraging all instruments of national power – both

within our own networks and beyond. We have made significant progress in realizing the

mission capabilities and cryptologic capacity required to meet the demands of operating in

cyberspace. While there is still much work to do, I’d like to highlight a few of the ongoing

efforts in implementing our strategy.

The Department of Defense is responsible for seven million networked devices and

thousands of enclaves. USCYBERCOM and NSA/CSS work around the clock with DISA to

monitor what is happening on global networks and the functioning of DoD’s information

enterprise. We are also helping the Department build the DoD Joint Information Environment

(JIE), comprising a shared infrastructure, enterprise services, and a single security architecture to

improve mission effectiveness, increase security, and realize IT efficiencies. The JIE will be the

base from which we can operate knowing that our networks are safer from adversaries. Senior

officers from USCYBERCOM and NSA/CSS sit on JIE councils and working groups, playing a

leading role with the office of the DoD’s Chief Information Officer, Joint Staff J6, and other

agencies in guiding the Department’s implementation of the JIE. NSA/CSS in particular serves

as the Security Advisor to the JIE, and is defining the security dimension of that architecture.
Moving to the JIE will make sharing and analytics easier while also enhancing security. I know

this sounds paradoxical but it is nonetheless true, as NSA/CSS has demonstrated in its cloud

capability and its support for the Intelligence Community’s growing Information Technology

Enterprise (IC ITE). Let me emphasize our confidence that the JIE will save resources for the

Department—moving to it will give us greater capability and security at less cost.

Our progress, however, can only continue if we are able to fulfill our urgent requirement

for sufficient trained, certified, and ready forces to defend U.S. national interests in cyberspace.

Last December, DoD endorsed the force presentation model we need to implement this new

operating concept. We are establishing cyber mission teams in line with the principles of task

organizing for the joint force. The Services are building these teams to present forces for

STRATCOM in support of USCYBERCOM-delegated Unified Command Plan mission. They

will soon be capable of operating on their own, with a range of operational and intelligence skill

sets, as well as a mix of military and civilian personnel. They will also have appropriate

operating authorities under order from the Secretary of Defense and from my capacity as the

Director of NSA/CSS. Each of these cyber mission teams is being trained to common and strict

operating standards so that they can be on-line without putting at risk our own military,

diplomatic, or intelligence interests.

I must also mention our concerns over the ongoing budget uncertainty. Foremost in the

minds of many of our people are the looming furloughs which entail up to 11 days without pay

between 7 July and 21 September. While many of our personnel are exempted from the

furloughs, others are not, and their absence will degrade our mission readiness and performance
this summer and beyond, and make the development of a strong and capable cyber force more

problematic. Our people truly are our most important capability. We can and have showcased

the incredibly valuable contributions made by our entire workforce daily in securing our

networks, supporting our war fighters, and providing unique insights into foreign intelligence

targets. I want to emphasize the harmful impact of furloughs on the vital mission and functions

we perform and on the people we have entrusted to perform or enable them. Furloughs make

hiring new personnel harder and will drive our best personnel away to jobs awaiting in the

private sector. Our USCYBERCOM and NSA/CSS workforce, regardless of funding stream, is

one that by definition seamlessly collaborates across the many functions and disciplines that

constitute our capabilities and operations. All are essential to the whole.
Guarding Privacy and Civil Liberties
Let me emphasize that our nation’s security in cyberspace is not a matter of resources

alone. It is an enduring principle and an imperative. Everything depends on trust. We operate

in a way that ensures we keep the trust of the American people because that trust is a sacred

requirement. We do not see a tradeoff between security and liberty. It is not a choice, and we

can and must do both simultaneously. The men and women of USCYBERCOM and NSA/CSS

take this responsibility very seriously, as do I. Beyond my personal commitment to do this right,

there are multiple oversight mechanisms in place. Given the nature of our work, of course, few

outside of our Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branch oversight bodies can know the details

of what we do or see that we operate every day under strict guidelines and accountability within

one of the most rigorous oversight regimes in the U.S. Government. For those of you who do,
and who have the opportunity to meet with the men and women of USCYBERCOM and

NSA/CSS, you have seen for yourself how seriously we take this responsibility and our

commitment to earning and maintaining your trust.
Although the February 2013 Executive Order will help raise the nation’s cyber defenses,

it does not eliminate the urgent need for legislation in these and other areas of cybersecurity.

The Administration’s legislative priorities for the 113th Congress build upon the President’s

2011 Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and take into account two years of public and

congressional discourse about how best to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. We support

legislation that:

1. Facilitates cybersecurity information sharing between the government and the private sector as

well as among private sector companies. We believe that such sharing can occur in ways that

protect privacy and civil liberties, reinforce the appropriate roles of civilian and intelligence

agencies, and include targeted liability protections;

2. Incentivizes the adoption of best practices and standards for critical infrastructure by

complementing the process set forth under the Executive Order;

3. Gives law enforcement the tools to fight crime in the digital age;
4. Updates Federal agency network security laws, and codifies DHS’ cybersecurity

responsibilities; and

5. Creates a National Data Breach Reporting requirement.

In each of these legislative areas, we want to incorporate appropriate privacy and civil liberties


The Administration wants to continue the dialogue with the Congress and stands ready to work

with members of Congress to incorporate our core priorities to produce cybersecurity

information-sharing legislation that addresses these critical issues.
Thank you again, Madame Chairwoman and Members of the Committee, for inviting me

to speak to you today. I also thank you on behalf of the men and women of USCYBERCOM

and NSA/CSS for your support, and for the support of Congress. We are working to mitigate the

vulnerabilities inherent in any networked environment or activity while ensuring that the benefits

that we gain and the effects we can create are significant, predictable, and decisive. If I could

leave you with one thought about the course of events, it is that we have no choice but to

“normalize” cyberspace operations and to make them part of the capability set of our senior

policymakers and commanders. We are working closely with our interagency partners as well as

other DoD elements. This is a necessity, for, as I suggest above, our nation faces diverse and
persistent threats in cyberspace that cannot be defeated through the efforts of any single

organization. Most cyber operations are interagency efforts, almost by definition. We have

gained valuable insight from the great work of partners like the Departments of Justice,

Commerce, and Homeland Security, as well as from the collaboration of industry, academia, and

allies. Indeed, the flow of information and expertise across the commands, agencies,

departments and foreign mission partners here and overseas is improving slowly but steadily.

We have much to gain from this partnership, but perhaps not much more time left before our

situation in cyberspace becomes even more worrisome than today. And now I look forward to
your questions.

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