Air Force announces new cyberspace command

Speaking yesterday at the C4ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Integration Conference in Crystal City, Va., Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne announced that the branch is creating a new cyberspace command, assigned to the 8th Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and previously part of the Air Combat Command.

The announcement was not unexpected. At the end of August, the Air Force reorganized its network operations structure and put all units charged with network operations under the command of Lt. Gen. Robert Elder Jr., the head of 8th Air Force. And a year ago, the Air Force mission was expanded to include "air, space and cyberspace."

"The idea of freedom of cyberspace may in time be the same kind of principle as freedom of the seas and freedom of the skies. This means that cyberspace is a domain on which many rely and in which warfighting can, and, actually by some definitions already, takes place," he said in prepared remarks.

"Last month, the Joint Chiefs of Staff defined cyberspace as 'a domain characterized by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical infrastructures,'" Wynne said.

Wynne pointed out that the basic questions of the principles of war can be applied to the cyberspace domain.

"Can one mass forces in cyber? Yes. Does surprise give an advantage in cyber? Of course. Simplicity? Economy of force? Clarity of objective? Yes, yes and yes," he said.

Wynne said that he and Gen. Michael Moseley, the Air Force Chief of Staff, have asked Elder to develop a roadmap to grow the new command into an organization comparable to its peers, Air Combat Command and Space Command.

"We expect that this work will stretch out for the bulk of this next year," he said.

Patience Wait is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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