Hacking Into Tradition

The services’ cyber security commanders told the House Armed Services Committee’s emerging threats panel this week that cyber warfare called for an irregular skill set, and perhaps atypical individuals. That led Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Tex) to ask them whether the structures of military life were barriers to recruiting and retaining these types of individuals. The commanders gave mixed responses during the July 25 hearing, but emphasized the difficulty and importance of balancing tradition and flexibility. “In wearing the uniform, there is great pride. There is also great responsibility,” said Maj. Gen. Vautrinot, who, as commander of 24th Air Force at JBSA-Lackland, Tex., leads the Air Force’s cyber operations arm. She added that cyber specialists “have the advantage of serving the nation with extraordinary capabilities that are often not available in industry.” This was a “retention factor,” she noted. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who heads US Cyber Command, will deliver a speech at DEF CON, a famous hackers’ conference in Las Vegas that runs through month’s end, reported Reuters. It described Alexander’s visit as “the highest-level visit to date by a US government official to the colorful gathering.” (Vautrinot’s written statement)