The Security Challenge to National Cyberspace Defense

The Security Challenge to National Cyberspace Defense

Chappy Hakim. (CSE-Aviation)

The national security challenge of cyberspace was highlighted by the British Air Force chief of staff to officers to be involved in air warfare exercises while clearly warning of the importance of "information warfare." The chief of staff remarked that nowadays, one cannot withdraw money from ATMs in the absence of information coming from the satellite to them.

Rapid progress has been achieved in the field of advanced aerospace technology. If all officers fail to realize this aspect, then winning wars, especially air wars, would become a distant dream. It should be borne in mind that the British Air Force is one that has incised gold ink in the history of air wars when it conquered the German Luftwaffe Air Force in 1940, known as the Battle of Britain.

During a discussion with several Aviation Experts in the United States in 2019, I received an explanation that in the near future, Black Boxes would no longer be required on airplanes. All aircraft movements recorded on the Black Box could be streamed down in real-time by using satellite-based equipment. Hence, it will greatly facilitate the process of investigating the causes of airplane accidents. Once again, advanced technology has made the work of many people easier, especially in the world of aviation.

Yesterday, on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at the Indonesia Center for Air Power Studies (ICAP) Monthly Meeting titled "Regional Security and National Air Defense", an interesting recommendation was put forth by Tommy Tamtomo from the ICAP Roots Research for the TNI to immediately form a National Cybernetics Defense Command to improve the quality of the national air defense commando ranks.

On the similar lines, the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) was formed in the United States on May 21, 2010. USCYBERCOM is one of the 11 unified combatant commands of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). It coalesces the direction of cyberspace operations, bolsters DoD cyberspace capabilities, and integrates and boosts DoD's cyber expertise. The commander was also assigned to a 4-star General.

The three aspects above clearly illustrate how the cyber world has significantly influenced the civil aviation industry and simultaneously had a major influence on a country's defense and security system. Indonesia in its current position needs quick steps to be able to adapt to technological developments, especially in the cyber sector, which has become the 5th domain after land, water, air, and space. If not accomplished, then regardless of the number of modern weapons that can be purchased, all will be in vain. Once again, the cyber world can devastate a country's defense and security system that is lagging behind in adapting itself.

In order to realize this, Research and Development activities as well as the Education and Training process for human resources in the field of defense and security, especially in air and space, must be mobilized immediately. Nationally, Research and Development activities as well as Education and Training Programs for human resources should be stepped up, so that efforts to catch up so far can be aligned to global developments. Long-term planning that is consistent and sustainable must be drawn up on a road map.

The irony is that recently, institutions that were involved in the development of science, technology, and research are now merged and grouped into other institutions. Depanri and LAPAN as well as BPPT and BRIN are in the process of disappearing from the surface. A very unfortunate setback move of course.

However, this cannot simply be blamed on the decision makers. It could be, because in reality, these institutions have not been visible or their activities are less noticeable in the wider community and of course in the government. This situation may have resulted owing to flawed assessment that such institutions are of no use and considered a waste of allocated budget. It seems to make sense that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has encumbered the world, the government should aim for efficiency and effectiveness to tackle the current difficulties being faced.

A state institution should surface with a mission and vision that is crucial for the welfare of the wider community and also for the defense and security aspects of the country. If it fails in its performance, which is visible to the public and more so by decision makers, then it is not surprising that these institutions are simply dissolved.

The reality that we face is that the world is rolling towards the 5th domain called cyberspace.

Like it or not, if we are left behind in anticipation, then get ready to become a coolie nation. Change will continue to roll, and change will not wait for anyone, who does not want to follow it. The show must go on. Take it or leave it.

*Chappy Hakim is an Indonesian Air Force Air Chief Marshal Ret'd, Honorary Pilot in the US Air Force and Chairman of Indonesia Center for Air Power Studies

The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ANTARA News Agency

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