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Video Above: Assistant Sec. of Army Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Talks Cybersecurity

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

Missiles destroying targets with advanced precision-guidance systems, tanks adjusting navigation in response to uneven terrain or enemy obstacles and real-time drone video arriving in vehicles and command centers … are all operations now heavily reliant upon effective and secure computing. 

Cybersecurity, therefore, is no longer limited to the realm of IT persay but expanded to encompass operations such as networked weapons systems, platform sensor information processing and even precision-weapons delivery.

Naturally, this dynamic further underscores the importance of “securing,” “hardening” and “protecting” a network from unwanted intrusions, hacking, jamming or other kinds of enemy intrusions.

Video Above: Top Army Weapons Buyer discusses Cybersecurity, Project Convergence, Hypersonic Weapons, Abrams Tank and more

“You're gaining capability by having a network of communications, you're also creating a vulnerability that if exploited by an enemy could degrade your forces. So not a new problem. But I think the cyber world opens it up to kind of a scale we're not we haven't seen before. So it is critical,” Douglas Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics & Technology, told Warrior in an interview.

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A key element of this is that cyber technologies are by no means limited to transport layer systems, meaning methods of “transmitting,” “sharing,” or “streaming” data but also performing critical performance upgrades. Radar systems, artillery and even large armored platforms such as tanks can operate with breakthrough sensors, fire control and weapons guidance systems through ongoing software upgrades.

Service members from the Wyoming Army and Air National Guard, plus Wyoming state employees, gather together to participate in a Cyber Shield exercise at the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security on Sept. 28, 2020. (Cpl. Kristina Kranz)

Service members from the Wyoming Army and Air National Guard, plus Wyoming state employees, gather together to participate in a Cyber Shield exercise at the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security on Sept. 28, 2020. (Cpl. Kristina Kranz)

“Software, of course, relates to all of our weapons systems, which now have a cyber aspect to them. Software is really how the network functions. Getting the Army better and more efficient in terms of software acquisition is one of my highest priorities,” Bush said.

Success in this area, Bush describes, pertains to an ability to sustain an continuous modernization process and not necessarily separate software upgrades in increments of several years. It is something which can be done in more rapid succession, depending upon the efficiency of the acquisition apparatus.

“One of my number one priorities is maintaining pace and speed in finding ways to improve our pace and speed of acquisition. My second one, though, is software across the board. We have to get better at doing software, both how we acquire it and how we maintain it. I think that's a major push and I brought in additional leadership here to focus on just that,” Bush said. 

Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Warrior Maven and the Center for Military Modernization support the US Military and the need for continued US Modernization. However, Warrior Maven and the Center for Military Modernization do not speak for the US military or any US government entity. The Center is an independent entity intended to be a useful and value added publication for thought leadership and important discussion about modernization. Warrior Maven discusses and explores technologies, strategies and concepts of operation related to modernization and the need for deterrence and continued US military readiness, training and preparation for future conflict in a fast-changing threat environment. Warrior Maven does receive some support from private industry but all thoughts are those of the authors.