Diagnosing Misfits, Inducing Requirements, and Delineating Transformations within Computer Network Operations Organizations

Diagnosing Misfits, Inducing Requirements, and Delineating Transformations within Computer Network Operations Organizations

Nikolaos Bekatoros HN (Naval Postgraduate School, USA), Jack L. Koons III (Naval Postgraduate School, USA) and Mark E. Nissen (Naval Postgraduate School, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-326-5.ch010
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Abstract

The US Government is moving apace to develop doctrines and capabilities that will allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to exploit Cyberspace for military advantage, and the role of computer networked operations (CNO) has taken on greater importance with the rise of network-centric warfare. Unfortunately, extant CNO organizations are slow to anticipate and react, and as such do not operate well within their highly dynamic environments. Contingency Theory research provides considerable knowledge to guide designing organizational structures that fit well with various mission-environmental contexts, and as such it offers excellent potential to inform leaders and policy makers regarding how to bring their CNO organizations and approaches into better fit, and hence to improve performance. In this chapter, we identify a candidate set of organizational structures that offer potential to fit DoD better as it strives, and struggles, to address the technological advances and risks associated with CNO. Using the Organizational Consultant (OrgCon) expert system to model and diagnose key problems and misfits associated with extant CNO organizations in the DoD, we propose a superior organizational structure for CNO that can also be applied to organizations in the international environment. Results elucidate important insights into CNO organization and management, suitable for immediate policy and operational implementation, and expand the growing empirical basis to guide continued research.
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Introduction

The Internet has become the new frontier where nation states and stateless actors can communicate on a global scale and with a rate of speed and security as never seen before. The Internet has been operational since 1969 in one form or fashion, and over one billion people are said to use the Internet today (estimated at 1,407,724,920 as of March 2008, Internet Usage Statistics, 2008). Nation states in particular are becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet and Cyberspace for infrastructure to support economic and security interests.

In addition to nation states, the rise of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, and other nefarious groups such as mafia crime families, would have been unable to reach current epic proportions without such modern means of global communications. To counter threats from both nation states and nefarious groups, the US maintains numerous organizations (e.g., National Security Agency, military service network commands) charged with the protection and defense of the communications and network infrastructure enabled by the Internet. Indeed, one can argue that a plethora of different, often non-cooperating organizations (e.g., Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency) seek simultaneously and with minimal coordination to accomplish efficiently and effectively computer network operations. This confusion and uncoordination between them serves to slow responses to network attacks and intrusions, particularly where more than one organization strives simultaneously to provide critical infrastructure, expertise and technology.

To reverse this trend in part, the US Government is moving apace to develop doctrines and capabilities that will allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to exploit Cyberspace for military advantage. Within the broad rubric of Information Operations (IO), there is increasing effort devoted to shaping the organizational structures of Computer Network Operations (CNO) at the joint, combatant command, and service levels, and the role of CNO has taken on greater importance with the rise of network-centric warfare. Comprised primarily of defense, attack and exploitation, the technological capabilities are growing exponentially, as is the rate of data exchange, yet the organizational structures supporting CNO are slow to anticipate and react. This presents a serious issue in terms of mission-environmental fit, as such organizations do not operate well within their highly dynamic environments, nor are they suited well to the missions and expectations placed upon them.

A half century of Contingency Theory research (e.g., Burns & Stalker, 1961; Harvey, 1968; Galbraith, 1973) provides considerable knowledge to guide designing organizational structures that fit well with various mission-environmental contexts, and as such it offers excellent potential to inform leaders and policy makers regarding how to bring their CNO organizations and approaches into better fit, and hence to improve performance. The key research question is, which organizational configurations provide the best CNO performance within the network-centric environment?

The purpose of this chapter is to identify a candidate set of organizational structures that offer potential to fit DoD like agencies, and international organizations as they strive, and struggle, to address the technological advances and risks associated with CNO. Using the Organizational Consultant (OrgCon) expert system to model and diagnose key problems and misfits associated with extant CNO organizations in the DoD, we propose a superior organizational structure for CNO, and we outline a three-step transformation plan to guide movement toward such structure.

In the balance of this chapter, we first review key background literature on CNO and the OrgCon expert system. We then describe a grounded CNO organization model specified via OrgCon, and depict such model in two, contrasting, network-centric environments. Results follow to elucidate important insights into CNO organization and management, suitable for immediate policy and operational implementation, and expand the growing empirical basis to guide continued research along these lines. Hence, the potential contribution of this research has both theoretical and real-world implications, and should appeal to both the academic and practitioner communities.

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