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National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations

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Citation Edit

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations (NMS-CO) (Dec. 2006) (full-text).

Overview Edit

The NMS-CO describes the cyberspace domain, articulates threats and vulnerabilities in cyberspace, and provides a strategic framework for action. The NMS-CO identified six enabling ways to maintain superiority in cyberspace, including:

  1. Investment in science and technology;
  2. Partnerships with industry, government agencies, and other nations; and,
  3. Investment in a trained workforce.

There are four strategic priorities of the NMS-CO:

This is the U.S. Armed Forces' comprehensive strategic approach (circa 2006) for using cyberspace operations to assure U.S. military strategic superiority in the domain. The integration of offensive and defensive cyberspace operations, coupled with the skill and knowledge of those people working on the matter, is fundamental to this approach.

Five elements comprise this strategy:

  • Strategic Context provides the working definition and cyberspace characteristics.
  • Threats and Vulnerabilities creates a common understanding of the context, threats, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for cyberspace operations.
  • Strategic Considerations provide additional clarity to identify priorities.
  • Military Strategic Framework presents end, ways, and means.
  • Implementation and Assessment identifies areas where change is needed and establishes a mechanism to measure progress toward achieving the strategic goal.

This document demonstrates DOD's recognition that clear command and control relationships are necessary for the successful application of military power in cyberspace. The purpose of this strategy is to establish a common understanding of cyberspace and set forth a military strategic framework that orients and focuses DOD action in the areas of military, intelligence, and business operations in and through cyberspace.

According to the strategy, the United States can achieve superiority in cyberspace only if command relationships are clearly defined and executed, and must support unity of effort in achieving combatant commanders' missions as well as maintaining freedom of action in cyberspace. The strategy also states that cyberspace provides the foundation for command and control of military operations in other domains and that, due to the nature of cyberspace, command and control requires extremely short decision-making cycles.

According to the strategy, effective command and control integrates, deconflicts, and synchronizes cyberspace operations at the speeds required for achieving awareness and generating effects, while failure to establish an integrated structure can hinder collaboration and lengthen decision-making cycles.

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