Abstract: The United States military is currently one of the most powerful forces on the face of the planet. It achieves this in part through a high level of organization and interoperability borne through the use of the continental staffing system by the U.S. and many of its NATO allies. This system is meant to separate functions and facilitate efficient flow of information to those who need to make command decisions. While it has proven effective in prior conflicts, it has become outmoded in the information age, instead stifling necessary coordination and collaboration through isolation and insulation between roles. This paper contends that the constructs used by the continental staffing system, like that of area of operation, and rigid segregation of duty through tradition, expose a seam in the system which leads to unanticipated and negative consequences on friendly forces referred to as “cyber fratricide.” Cyber Fratricide may be considered the unintentional impedance or interference between operational/tactical elements of friendly forces in the cyber realm involving the compromise or liquidation of assets, information, or capabilities of those forces. This is especially important when considering active or transactional hostilities by multiple actors. This is especially true in the case of shooting back in cyber space or active defence. By observing the most common possible forms of cyber fratricide and their enabling factors, conclusions may be drawn on possible mitigations through technical controls and reengineering of the continental staffing system to reduce cyber fratricide in active defence. This paper is a discussion of one issue in active defence and is not meant to be a complete treatise on the topic.
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Slides Cyber Fratricide