LONDON — The overclassification of information is costing militaries time, money and effectiveness, several officers said at ITEC.
“I cannot put ‘How to train a barber’ online today, because it is FOUO,” for official use only, said Capt. Kevin Oakes, U.S. Navy director for learning and development with the Naval Education Training Command.
Oakes spoke May 22 on a panel at this training and simulation conference. He echoed themes presented in the day’s keynote speech by Lt. Gen. William Rollo, the U.K. deputy chief of the Defence Staff for personnel and training. Rollo said that “an awful lot” of information is needlessly classified, and that delays its delivery to the warfighters who need it. He urged militaries to pull such material out of classified systems and networks.
Lt. Gen. Karlheinz Viereck of the German Air Force also urged better information sharing, arguing that the potential harm is generally far less important than real increases in military effectiveness.
“The education and training outweighs security issues,” Viereck said.
Frank DiGiovanni, director of training readiness and strategy for the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, said that American soldiers need to train as they operate, which is often under enemy scrutiny.
“Most of us in this business know we’re being watched,” DiGiovanni said.
Given the improbability of making a completely secure network that is impervious both to technical and human failures, DiGiovanni said that open source could be a defense strategy. Attempting to keep information secret expends resources, whereas making information open allows thousands of eyes to keep watch on it.
“We have to get over the fact that some things you are just going to have to share,” DiGiovanni said on the Joint Strategic Vision panel at ITEC. “The benefits outweigh the risks.”