AF cyberstrategy to focus on disrupting attacks

The new Air Force Cyber Command issued a strategic vision statement Thursday outlining the military unit's goal of strengthening cyberspace capabilities to defend national interests.

In the 24-page document, cyberspace is described as a domain of electronics and electromagnetic spectrum used to store, modify and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical infrastructures.

Cyberspace has become increasingly important to commerce, critical infrastructure and national security, and the role of protecting cyberspace is a natural one for the Air Force because of its history of using radar and electromagnetic spectrum in warfighting, according to the 24-page document.

"Before the inception of radar, Airmen fought and won battles in the electromagnetic spectrum. We will build upon this legacy by enhancing the scope and breadth of our cyberspace capabilities," the strategy states.

The Cyber Command's vision is to develop capabilities to defend against cyber attacks, to "create effects" in cyberspace against hostile attackers and to integrate those abilities with the military's other systems.

Some of those effects may include use of directed energy for sensor disruption, data manipulation, decision support degradation, command-and-control disruption and weapon system degradation, the document said.

The ultimate goal is to "operate in and control cyberspace, convey operational advantages to our forces in all domains, and prevent surprising events within cyberspace that are contrary to our national interests," states the document.

To achieve its mission, the command said it must develop career paths for "cyber warriors" who will be devoted to the mission.

The Cyber Command was established in 2006 and is expected to reach initial operational readiness this year and full operational readiness next year.

Operating from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., it is considering other locations for a permanent home, which is expected to be announced in late 2008.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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