[ISN] Army Signal Command protecting networks from hackers

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Mon Feb 15 1999 - 20:43:45 PST

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    Army Signal Command protecting networks from hackers
    by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Ward
    FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., (Army News Service, Feb. 11, 1999) -- Soldiers on
    patrol in countries spanning the globe are the sentries who keep enemies
    at bay. Even as they stand guard at the dawn of the new century, a system
    called information assurance is doing likewise -- with them in mind. 
    Information assurance is the umbrella term for what is a new way to ensure
    that the military's computer networks withstand withering attacks from
    foreign and domestic hackers. 
    Leading the charge in this effort is a team of computer networkers and
    specialists with the U.S.  Army Signal Command. This team has been working
    since March 1998 to accomplish a mission handed down from the highest
    levels of the defense leadership. 
    According to Lt. Col. James M. Withers, the head of the team, the team's
    charter is simple: devise a strategy that will keep critical networks as
    safe from intrusion as possible, and an action plan to help get there. 
    "Our mission, as outlined by the Army vice chief of staff is to implement
    near real time, worldwide, common picture of the Army's Military
    Information Environment," Withers said. 
    This was done by combining the Army's Information Service Provider
    functions with the Army Regional Computer Emergency Response Team. This,
    according to Withers, ensures that reporting of this common picture of
    this Military Information Environment to a central coordination center,
    located at Fort Huachuca. 
    "This action provided the Army Signal Command with an enhanced acquisition
    of unified and global near-real-time protect, detect and react
    capabilities through the lash-up of these two functions,"  Withers said. 
    Withers said that this process involves computer systems specialists from
    around the world. These personnel, in tandem with the Army Regional
    Computer Emergency Response Team, combine forces to detect hackers and
    others as soon as possible before damage can be done. 
    Computer systems specialists with the 1st Signal Brigade in Korea, the
    516th Signal Battalion in Hawaii and the 5th Signal Command in Germany
    operate and maintain Network and Systems Operations Centers. These
    soldiers and civilians are responsible for the detection effort in their
    theaters and report activity to the Army Signal Command headquarters. 
    Once at the ASC level, Army Network and Systems Operations Center staff
    performs over-watch on most of the Army's networks. This is an effort to
    keep the networks humming along, providing the information lifeline
    soldiers rely on as they perform their peace enforcement role around the
    All of this, Withers said, is being done to ensure the Army's critical
    circuits and information systems don't fall prey to "cyberterrorists," who
    wish to do damage to the Army's ability to protect America. "The Army is
    in the lead in this battle thanks to the can-do attitude of the team that
    assembled here at ASC headquarters several months ago," Withers said. 
    Now that the team has slammed the door on these terrorists and locked up
    the networks, the need for constant vigilance goes on. That's where the
    Regional Computer Emergency Response Team and its theater-level
    counterparts come in. 
    "Without the human element, this mission won't get done. The soldier is at
    the tip of the spear,"  Withers said. "Our team is a part of the process
    -- from fort to foxhole." 
    (Editor's note: Ward is with the U.S. Army Signal Command's Public Affairs
    Office at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.) 
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