After many years of watching senior leadership ignore cyber, operational military commanders are finally beginning to understand their gaps and weaknesses in cyber security, and the impact this has on mission readiness and effectiveness:

“While we’ve held a decisive and dominant advantage in all the other domains, that’s not necessarily the case in the cyber domain,” Brig. Gen. Robert Skinner, deputy commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, told a conference on Thursday.

“The cost of entry in this domain is very minimal, which enables individuals or groups to generate effects that take a significant expenditure of resources to respond. The value curve is in the wrong direction,” he added.

Skinner’s department was launched in January to shoulder some of the responsibility for cyber operations in the Defense Department.

“We are conducting thousands of defensive operations each and every day … and countering millions of cyberattacks annually,” Skinner said. “We are in constant contact with agile, learning adversaries in cyberspace, and their learning curve has turned upside down.”

Additionally, officials said, the integration of technology, bureaucracy and personnel represent a challenge for the U.S., even as cyberattacks grow.

Lt. Gen. Ed Cardon, the leader of Army Cyber Command, said, “If [we] have all these technologies, but you can’t connect these to a command operation, how are we going to integrate all this stuff so that it accomplishes an effect?”