Outdated organizational structure? [Commentary]


Some very interesting discussions began to take place about 18 months ago, and they continue today. Perhaps the biggest change that has taken place in those conversations are the intensity of the discussion when the topic of organizational structure arises. An internet search brought back multiple organizational charts (under images) for a number of militaries around the world as well as for NATO. Review of those diagrams were the result of sometimes heatedly discussed concerns. Most surrounded operations that were in the cyber domain. Arguably the most interesting observation was the absence of a liaison function with the private technology sector (commercial businesses) given the significant influence they have on all sides of the challenge of protecting cyberspace.

Another highly debated issue was concern over the ability for near-real time decision-making surrounding cyber operations. This concern is clearly complex and multidimensional. Cyber operations are not specifically identified on many (OK, most) of these diagrams found online. The closest thing when it comes to cyber is a block that identifies information systems — this clearly because its location is related to traditional systems, not what we mean when we discuss cyber operations (offensive, defensive and intelligence-gathering technology).

Does all of this mean that cyber is fully integrated into current organizations to the point where they are not separately called out? That is highly doubtful. Few would dispute the impact of cyber when it comes to the military and national defense. There is little doubt that cyber impacts military strategy, policy, decision-making, training, equipment/weapons, as well as organizational operations. Given the magnitude of impact, it should be addressed organizationally.

Clearly, cyber (offensive, defensive and intelligence) is a horizontal function/capability that cuts across traditional military domains of conflict and supports the entire military organization. The time hasn’t come — it has passed when this organizational/operational issue should have been addressed! One has to wonder when it will be addressed.