Navy publishes inaugural cyber strategy with seven lines of effort

By Nick Wilson / November 28, 2023 at 3:07 PM

The Navy last week published its first comprehensive cyber strategy detailing seven lines of effort to ready the service for a global operating environment where cyber capabilities are increasingly important for national defense.

With an eye toward deterring China, the seven lines of effort are: “improve and support the cyber workforce; defend enterprise IT, data and networks; secure defense critical infrastructure and weapon systems; conduct and facilitate cyber operations; partner to secure the defense industrial base; and foster cooperation and collaboration,” according to the strategy report.

“The next fight against our major adversary will be like no other in prior conflicts. The use of non-kinetic effects and defense against those effects prior to and during kinetic exchanges will likely be the deciding factor in who prevails,” the report states.

“The side that most effectively sequences and synchronizes non-kinetic effects will have a decisive advantage. We must ensure our capabilities to project power and defend in cyberspace take top priority to ensure the success of the traditional power projection capabilities of our naval forces,” it continues.

The strategy arrives several months later than service officials initially predicted and follows the Defense Department’s release of a Pentagon-wide cyber strategy emphasizing lessons learned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and underscoring a need to protect industry from cyber espionage.

The Navy’s strategy was developed jointly by the service’s chief information officer, Jane Rathbun, and its principal cyber adviser, Chris Cleary.

“Achieving a competitive advantage in the cyber domain is critical to strengthening our maritime dominance," Rathbun said in a statement included in the release. "The Cyber Strategy sets the DON on a course to more effectively defend our Information Ecosystem and emphasizes the importance of our cyber workforce."

According to a forward in the report authored by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, the strategy’s development was prompted by a review of the Navy’s cyber readiness posture that began in 2019 and revealed the need for rapid mitigation of cyber vulnerabilities.

“This inaugural strategy builds on years of lessons learned from cyber domain operations across the globe,” Del Toro said in a statement included in the release. “We are focused on aggressively enhancing our cyber enterprise, while fostering cooperation and collaboration with our allies and partners.”