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Cyber Students Learn While Gaming
By Matthew Schehl
Naval Postgraduate SchoolMONTEREY, Calif., — Two students at the Naval Postgraduate School here have created a way to bridge a training gap in U.S. military cyber operations -- through a game.
For their master's thesis, Army Master Sgt. David Long and Army Capt. Chris Mulch designed and developed CyberWar 2025, a computer-based strategy war game that challenges players to navigate through the core concepts of the cyber realm.
"The goal of CyberWar: 2025 is to stimulate and increase players' knowledge and experience of cyberspace operations," Mulch said. "The basic idea is to learn as you play."
In approximately 30-60 minutes of turn-based, 'sandbox' gameplay, players employ a range of the basic concepts laid out in Joint Publications 3-12(R) Cyberspace Operations. A deft combination of offensive cyber operations, defensive cyber operations and computer network exploitation can lead a player to victory, even if in a relatively weak position.
"Everybody starts out on a level playing field," Mulch explained. "Players utilize resources in a way they see fit, whether those resources are put into offense, defense or reconnaissance."
Long and Mulch developed CyberWar: 2025 at a critical time.
A sense of urgency has burgeoned in the United States over the last decade as adversaries – state and non-state actors alike – have increasingly turned to the cyber domain to actively work against U.S. national security interests.
In a recent speech at John Hopkins University, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis reiterated that the Defense Department absolutely must "invest in cyber defense, resilience, and the continued integration of cyber capabilities into the full spectrum of military operations."
"Our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare – air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace," he said. "And it is continually eroding."
President Donald J. Trump echoed this in his fiscal year 2019 budget request to Congress, calling for a 4.2 percent increase in the Pentagon's cyber funding to $8.5 billion as U.S. Cyber Command approaches full operational capability as a newly-unified combatant command.
"What's going on in cyber policy is a big question right now in DoD," Mulch said. "What does our competitive balance look like? Should we be strong? Should we be putting time and resources into defense, reconnaissance or research?"
And yet, there remains a critical gap in how DoD goes about preparing the military to engage in this domain. Several educational courses and training exercises have been developed to prepare leaders to plan and execute cyberspace-based effects to support operations, but there are no virtual simulations used by the military to train and educate service members in the basic concepts of cyberspace operations.
Filling a Gap
When Long, a cyberwarfare practitioner at Fort Meade, Maryland, and Mulch, an information operations officer, arrived at the Naval Postgraduate School in June 2016 to begin their graduate work in information strategy and political warfare, it didn't take them long to turn to solving this.
"People would say I'm the cyber guy, even though I really don't like that term," Long said. "When I came to NPS, my promise to myself was to [impact] the Army cyber mission; I had a lot of ideas about how we can educate people about cyber operations, and how we could do it correctly."Attending a game theory course, they encountered an article exploring the strengths and weaknesses of American cyber capabilities vis-a-vis Russia and China. Over spirited arguments over how much emphasis the U.S. should be placing on offense, defense or reconnaissance, the
Interesting change of responses to Putin ...
anon post on Drudge:
yes... DOWN IN THE WEST TEXAS, TOWN OF EL PASO, I FELL IN LOVE WITH A MEXICAN AK47... NIGHTIME WOULD FIND ME IN SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL, MUSIC WOULD PLAY AND MY AK WOULD WHIRL. ... JUST FOR A MOMENT, I STOOD THERE IS SILENCE, SHOCKED BY THE FOUL EVIL DEED I HAD DONE, I HAD BUT ONE CHANCE AND THAT WAS TO RUN. JUST AS FAST I COULD FROM THE WEST TEXAS TOWN OF EL PASO, OUT TO THE BADLANDS OF NEW MEXICO, I SEE THE WHITE PUFF OF SMOKE FROM THE RIFLE, THE FEEL OF THE BULLET GOING DEEP IN THE CHEST OF THAT FOOL. THERE WAS NO GOOD GUY WITH A GUN, TO STOP THE BAD GUY IN SCHOOL!
"El Paso" was originally recorded by Marty Robbins, and first released on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs in September 1959... It is the first song of the...
THERE WAS NO GOOD GUY WITH A GUN, TO STOP THE BAD GUY IN SCHOOL!
Seems there were a couple of good guys with guns but not enough? The answer is more guns!