Evaluation of the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy: Mild Progress in a Complex and Dynamic Military Domain

  • November 02, 2017
  • Mr Jeffrey L Caton

In 2011, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, which officially recognized cyberspace as an operational domain akin to the traditional military domains of land, sea, air, and space. This monograph examines the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy to evaluate how well its five strategic goals and associated implementation objectives define an actionable strategy to achieve three primary missions in cyberspace: defend the DoD network, defend the United States and its interests, and develop cyber capabilities to support military operations. This monograph focuses on events and documents from the period of about 1 year before and 1 year after the 2015 strategy was released. This allows sufficient time to examine the key policies and guidance that influenced the development of the strategy as well as follow-on activities for the impacts from the strategy. This inquiry has five major sections that utilize different frameworks of analysis to assess the strategy:
1. Prima Facie Analysis: What is its stated purpose and key messages?
2.  Historical Context Analysis: What unique contributions does it introduce into the evolution of national security cyberspace activities?
3.  Traditional Strategy Analysis: Does it properly address specific DoD needs as well as broader U.S. ends in a way that is appropriate and actionable?
4.  Analysis of Subsequent DoD Action: How are major military cyberspace components—joint and Service—planning to implement these goals and objectives?
5.  Whole of U.S. Government Analysis: Does it integrate with the cyberspace-related activities of other U.S. Government departments and agencies?
The monograph concludes with a section that integrates the individual section findings and offers recommendations to improve future cyberspace strategic planning documents.