Nakasone says Cyber Command did nine 'hunt forward' ops last year, including in Ukraine

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May 4, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

National Security Agency Director and U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Paul Nakasone said Tuesday that Cyber Command conducted nine “hunt forward” operations in different countries last year, a data point he shared to illustrate why the command’s use of persistent engagement is critical to its success.

“These are countries that have asked for our assistance, deploying our defensive teams for being able to identify malware and tradecraft our adversaries were using and then sharing that broadly with a commercial provider,” Nakasone said in prepared remarks delivered at Vanderbilt University.

U.S. Cyber Command’s use of persistent engagement — defined as the need to constantly interact with adversaries in cyberspace and the importance of speed and agility to success — and what Nakasone calls a “defend forward” strategy has been a topic of discussion recently amid reports that the Biden administration had planned to pare back cyber authorities given to the Department of Defense under National Security Presidential Memorandum-13 (NSPM-13).

Nakasone told the Vanderbilt audience the American approach to the conflict in Ukraine has been informed by a philosophy of “continual action,” which was articulated in the 2018 Department of Defense strategy that

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