Nextgov reports on a Pengaton report from 2000 predicting how cyber would be leveraged in the future:

The report, which Staniford co-authored with military and intelligence veterans Sami Saydjari and Ken Williams, was released this month within the first tranche of Rumsfeld’s “snowflakes”—the Pentagon nickname for the short email memos the secretary routinely blasted out to staff and advisers.

Roughly 59,000 pages of such snowflakes and their connected documents are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by George Washington University’s National Security Archive.

Among other things, the report argues that:

  • The basic functions of critical infrastructure, such as dams, energy plants and airports, should be segregated from the internet. This is now considered conventional wisdom, though vulnerable, internet-connected front office tools frequently worm their way into the industrial control systems that operate critical infrastructure.
  • Over-classification of digital security information by the government might make it difficult to share vital information with companies that they can use to defend themselves. This remains a major problem, especially as the Homeland Security Department tries to ramp up cyber information sharing with the private sector.

It really is interesting how far advanced the US Department of Defense is in some way, while completely backwards in others. The two specific bullet points above are extremely prescient, and demonstrate the Pentagon’s ability to develop highly intelligent analysis.

Unfortunately, as is all too often in DoD, there are leaders who discard the information as either unnecessary, or they fail to take the time to fully comprehend its meaning and potential consequences. Far too much intelligence is discarded by leaders who cannot comprehend technical data, and thus we end up in a situation like this: accurate estimations primarily ignored.