Thursday, September 7, 2017

Book Review: 'The Art of Cyber Conflict' by Henry J. Sienkiewicz

Henry J. Sienkiewicz has gained a BA from the University of Notre Dame and a MS from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, having served in multiple positions within the United States Federal Senior Executive Service since 2008 since his retirement as a US Army Reserve lieutenant colonel. He also has extensive work in computers and computer software: he is the founder and chief executive officer for Open Travel Software, an award-winning software developer focused on the global travel community. Computer World named him a Premier 100 in 2013.

Who better to summarize and analyze the pros and cons of our current increasing obsession with communication through the ether – and the fear of hacking and loss of personal information and security of our finances etc – than Henry? The pleasure of reading his book is his erudite prose that places the facts before us and allows to muse about the threats and benefits of dependency on the Internet.

In his Introduction he states his purpose – ‘This book came out of a series of conversations I have had over the years with numerous cyber experts, corporate executives, colleagues, and military professionals. The discussions revolved around the topic of how to think about the problem of cyber, the noun that has become shorthand for a wide range of disparate topics to include the network, systems, applications, and digital devices; conflict in cyber; cyber conflict; cyber security; and cyber safety. I have met some of the most brilliant minds in cyber security and some of the most confused minds in cyber security. The brilliant minds have thought about technologies and solutions; the confused minds simply want to make their respective organizations safer amid the ever-changing nature of cyber. What is this book? This book is my response to those conversations. It is an approach to thinking about the complex problem of cyber and cyber conflict. It is intended to give executives and business managers a way to think about the problems surrounding cyber. Concurrently, this book offers the technical team a way to communicate some of the underlying problems in a straightforward fashion. What it isn’t? This is not a technical how-to manual. Technology is constantly changing and evolving. A specific series of detailed steps would quickly be dated. This book is structured to be highly approachable and provide a pathway for leaders and executives to better reflect and understand the issues surrounding cyber and cyber conflict. It is designed to provide cyber professionals a way to better communicate with their respective stakeholders.’

The wealth of information and advice Henry divides into chapters that are rich in content and make fascinating reading – Safe, Why Sun Tzu? (a true little masterpiece of writing), Cyber, Complementary Theories, Cyber Axioms, Approach, The Art of War and these are followed by his compendium of resource material and bibliography.

The use of the image on the book’s cover is well explained in Henry’s synopsis –‘If Sun Tzu were alive today, rather than in the fifth century BC, he would be on various stages and his strategies would be all the rage for individuals and organizations alike. The Art of Cyber Conflict brings Henry’s strategic and practical experience to bear as he uses the timeless strategies from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in this highly relevant and exceptionally approachable guidebook. From a technology-independent perspective, Henry focuses on knowing and understanding cyber, the cyber environment, the cyber actors, and this constantly evolving form of modern conflict, while concurrently providing direct approaches to recognize, remediate, and resolve the underlying threats.’

Superb contribution and outstanding writing make this a must own book. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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