The Department of Defense’s (DOD) network is a system of unique systems, applications and tools, each designed with specific requirements, accesses, interfaces, and expected outcomes. Together the system is so large and complex that no single entity can appreciate or control it. As such, it becomes sensitive to emergent behavior and vulnerable to an increasing number of sophisticated threats. Technological improvements are underway but alone, can’t be considered complete solutions to this problem.
To improve the DOD network’s reliability in the face of threats, leaders must take a broader view of this “system of systems.” They should recognize that the technology challenges, characterized by the physical complexity and distributed nature of military networks, are also accompanied by similar, overly complex governance, management, operational, and control mechanisms.