What’s keeping the Military off the IoT?

Connected Life

The U.S. Department of Defense played a “pioneering” role the development of technology now utilized by the IoT — including the sensor and computer networking — but today “few military systems leverage the full IoT stack.”


“Security is the most significant challenge to broader IoT adoption across the military, with the large number of simple devices and applications raising unique vulnerabilities to electronic and cyber warfare.”

That’s the main reason the Pentagon has been slow to adapt to the Internet of Things, according to a Center for Strategic and International Studies report on “Leveraging the Internet for a More Efficient and Effective Military (PDF).”

In order seize the imperative to use machine learning to “revolutionize modern warfare,” the report calls for developing “Common Standards and Protocols” along with “new security techniques that can be applied to commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) devices and applications, including those hosted in the cloud, focusing on invest- ing in scalable security measures instead of securing individual systems.”

The problems of IoT security cut two ways for the U.S. military presenting outside risks and limiting adoption of new technology.

 Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, head of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, argues that national security requires increased monitoring and securing the internet wherever it exists to counter the risks that come from the end of any illusion of compartmentalization that is fading as the IoT emerges.

“What we’re starting to realize is an event that happens in the commercial space could be happening in the government space and could be happening in the military space,” Cardon said at the Institute of World Politics in Washington last month. “So it’s not like it’s all compartmentalized.”

A boundary-less internet presents a whole world of security issues and privacy issues for early adopters. And failing to address them is leaving the world’s best funded military struggling to catch up.


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