The Department of Defense (DoD) this week sent Congress a classified version of its 2023 cybersecurity strategy, and said an unclassified summary of the strategy will be rolled out in the coming months.

The classified 2023 DoD Cyber Strategy provides direction to the agency to operationalize the concepts and defense objectives for cyberspace outlined in the 2022 National Defense Strategy and the 2022 National Security Strategy.

The cyber strategy also builds upon the direction set by the 2018 DoD Cyber Strategy. It also complements the components outlined in the 2023 National Cybersecurity Strategy, according to the Pentagon.

The 2023 DoD Cyber Strategy, the agency said, is grounded in real-world experience specific to DoD cyberspace operations.

“Since 2018, the Department has conducted a number of significant cyberspace operations through its policy of defending forward, actively disrupting malicious cyber activity before it can affect the U.S. Homeland,” according to an unclassified fact sheet on the strategy.

“This strategy is further informed by Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which has demonstrated how cyber capabilities may be used in a large-scale conventional conflict,” it reads.

These experiences, DoD said, have shaped the agency’s approach to the cyber domain. The strategy intends to maximize DoD’s s cyber capabilities “in support of integrated deterrence, employing cyberspace operations,” the agency said. DoD will also campaign in and through cyberspace below the level of armed conflict to reinforce deterrence and frustrate adversaries.

The strategy also recognizes that the United States’ international allies and partners represent a foundational advantage in the cyber domain that must be protected and reinforced.

The strategy pursues four lines of efforts: defend the nation, prepare to fight and win the nation’s wars, protect the cyber domain with allies and partners, and build enduring advantages in cyberspace.

Defend the Nation

Under its “Defend the Nation” line of effort, DoD plans to campaign in and through cyberspace to generate insights about malicious cyber actors. The department also plans to defend forward to disrupt and degrade these actors’ capabilities and supporting ecosystems.

Additionally, DoD plans to work with its interagency partners to leverage all available authorities to enable the cyber resilience of U.S. critical infrastructure and to counter threats to military readiness.

Prepare to Fight and Win the Nation’s Wars

The Department plans to ensure the cybersecurity of the DoD Information Network in the second line of effort as well as further invest in the Joint Force’s cyber resilience. Additionally, DoD plans to use cyberspace operations to generate asymmetric advantages in support of the Joint Force’s plans and operations.

Protect the Cyber Domain with Allies and Partners

The department will also assist U.S. allies and partners in building their cyber capacity and capability and expand avenues of potential cyber cooperation. DoD also plans to continue to conduct more operations to build cyber resiliency. And it plans to reinforce responsible state behavior by encouraging adherence to international law and internationally recognized cyberspace norms.

Build Enduring Advantages in Cyberspace

Under the fourth line of effort the department plans to optimize organizing, training, and equipping of the Cyber Operations Forces and service-retained cyber forces. DoD will also invest in the enablers of cyberspace operations, including intelligence, science and technology, cybersecurity, and culture.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.