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Accountability

This post documents some thoughts I have about accountability within my organization, and how I plan to speak to the team about accountability.


Accountability is vital in an organization. Within an organization members must be able to work together with trust. Trust often manifests as the belief that individuals will operate within a set of expectations. When behaviors deviate from those expectations, trust within a team is broken. When behavior deviates from expectations, accountability can bring team trust back into balance.

Almost everybody experienced the dreaded “team project” during high school. When the teacher picked the team members and you divvied up work you almost certainly had that one member, “Skip”, who did not pull their weight. Your team assigned them an entire section of writing, but the night before the project was due they didn’t turn anything in. They didn’t pick up their phone. They didn’t respond to email. You may have spent an all-nighter fixing the problem they caused just so your grade wouldn’t suffer.

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Cyber Capability Test Philosophy

I am fortunate enough to lead the 90th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, a unit that delivers software to enable cyberspace operations for combatant commands and the military services. Testing is a vital part of delivering software successfully, but there are many philosophies around how to do so. Our needs around testing are somewhat unique. This post describes how we need to shape our thinking for the future. Today Today we are in a fortunate position regarding test.…

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Ten Dimensions of Cyber Threat

Dr. Kamal Jabbour and Dr. Erich Devendorf have characterized the cyber threat the DoD faces. They describe threats as having these ten characteristics:

  • Highly educated on the science of information assurance
  • Doctrinally trained on the art of cyber warfare
  • Adequately resourced in talent, time, and treasure
  • Thoroughly briefed on target missions and systems
  • Mathematically specialized in architectural properties
  • Superiorly skilled in byzantine failure analysis
  • Intricately involved in protocol specification and analysis
  • Critically embedded in the supply chain
  • Strategically postured in command and control
  • Conveniently situated for access and persistence

The paper uses these points to demonstrate how an adversary thinks about attacking our systems. However, I see a lot of ways in which these should coerce the DoD to make serious changes in how we build and maintain our cyber professional workforce.

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Thoughts on SWAP

I just finished reading the SWAP study. The thrilling congressionally-mandated “Software Acquisition and Practices” study conducted by the Defense Innovation Board. 292 pages of discussion about the US government’s software acquisition practices. It’s actually quite a bit funnier than you’d expect. Admittedly, it helps to be in on the jokes. These are the same folks that brought us: Detecting Agile BS. A document which is unexpectedly funny, for a government report, and accurate.…

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The Cyber Sim

This is a fictional imagining of what could be. Dear Journal, I took a refreshing break from my staff job today to keep up my “mission qualification”, and it really re-centered me. Sim time is something only pilots used to talk about, but the new “cyber sim” concept has brought that idea into the info ops world. Stupid name, great concept. I took my laptop out to the local library and sat in a back room one of the squadrons borrows regularly.…

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Star Trek Had it Right

Star Trek had it right. They were a bunch of peace loving (except for Worf) scientists roaming the universe in a war ship. They always kept their cool when someone faced them down, but if they needed to Jean Luc had no problem blasting the enemy out of the sky. I’ve been reading Animal Farm recently, and it has impressed upon me the need to maintain arms and a force capable of using them no matter how peaceful society gets.…

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