Cyber Leadership Needs to Evolve

By Kevin Coleman – DefenseTech Cyber Warfare Correspondent

Our Nation’s Biggest Threat when it comes to cyber space is the closed minded individuals that fall back on old, outdated mental models and force-fit. It has recently become evident that a large percentage of these “influencers” stuck with a cold war mentality and are forcing a square peg into the round hole when it comes to addressing the threat of cyber warfare. One such “influencer” was not interested what so ever in what was contained in the encrypted portion of STUXNET.  Think of it this way, the cyber threat environment is moving at 80 miles per hour. The vast majority of those actively involved in cyber defense and intelligence are moving at 78 miles per hour. The influencers described above are moving at 50 miles an hour.  As the cyber threat environment continues to evolve at break-neck speed, the influencers are falling further and further behind. What is concerning is that the influencers of the past don’t recognize this or accept their cold war mental models are outdated. One individual in a recent cyber warfare training program was quick to point  out that most of our current leadership were of the generation before the computer revolution much less the Internet age and this was why they failed to update their mental models.

Change is difficult. Individuals and groups resistance to change is caused by their perception that the change occurring is a threat to them. Changing one’s mental models requires you to move in the direction of the unknown when it comes to cyber conflict which has limited history. The change requires new skills and knowledge and in the cyber arena requires innovation, creativity and thought leadership. All of this is critical if the United States is to remain a military leader in the new global environment.

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