Cyber Situational Awareness

In recent years the topic of situational awareness (SA) has received increased attention given the complex environments that our militaries and intelligence services operate. SA is the field of study concerned with perception of the surroundings and derivative implications critical to decision makers in complex, dynamic areas such as military command and security. Given the positive outcomes of SA, it is now being applied to cyber space.

Cyber Situational Awareness (CSA) involves the understanding of what is happening around a specified domain in an effort to understand just how information, events, and anticipated results of actions initiated by command on projected goals and objectives that have been established by command. Having a complete, insightful, accurate and timely CSA is essential for decision makers requiring changes to our decision and command infrastructure. This will require an expansion of the current C4ISR framework to one that integrates aspects of the cyber environment. During our collaborative research one individual proclaimed it C8ISR - (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat systems, Collaboration, Coordination, Code, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) all adapted to the cyber warfare operational domain.

Given the U.S. Military is the most modern, computerized force in the world, the challenge of situational awareness in the cyber domain is far greater and more important than for any other military in the world. The C8ISR environment consists of all fourteen elements of what is referred to as PROMISE.

P rocess and Procedures R oles and Responsibilities O rganization and Operations M anagement and Measures I nformation and Infrastructure S ystems and Software E ducation and Employees

The dynamic situations created by the adversaries and the cyber domain conditions are unpredictable, and generate huge time pressures, increase existing workloads and tax our mental models that are based on past experience. The integration of cyber acts of aggressions will undoubtedly require change to decision making constructs currently in use. Given the current threat conditions and operations going on in the cyber domain, the adaptations of the decision making constructs will not occur in the research labs, but on the frontlines of cyber space.

-- Kevin Coleman

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