U.S. Air Force has been ordered to
put the activation of its Cyberspace Command on hold. This new organization was
supposed to officially begin operating by the end of the year. After that, the
air force was going to try and use this new Cyber War operation to gain overall
control for all Department of Defense Cyber War activities. The other services
were not keen on this.
Cyberspace Command will be on hold for a few months, while the new senior air
force commanders check it over, work continues on building a Cyber Control
System. This is a hardware and software system that would enable the Cyberspace
Command to monitor, in real time, the security state of all air force networks.
If any of these networks were attacked, the Cyber Control System software would
immediately alert Cyberspace Command controllers, and recommend a course of
action. Think of this as a war room for Cyber War. Many people, deluged with TV
and movie representations of high tech military command centers, believe such a
Cyber War center already exists. It doesn't, and the air force is building it.
If the Cyber Control System can prove itself, the air force hopes to use it run
the show for all Department of Defense networks.
What the air
force wants to do is be in charge of security for the 11 million Internet
users, five million PCs and 12,000 networks belonging to the Department of
Defense (which is the largest Internet user on the planet). All the services
are scrambling to get their Cyber War defenses strengthened, but the air force
wants to be in charge. This effort is not appreciated by the other services.
The U.S. Air
Force is also advocating more Cyber War attacks. Apparently there has already
been some offensive operations, but no one is giving out any details about
when, how, and who the target(s) were. The air force has long been in the lead when it comes to Cyber War
operations and security. So far, the other services have not regarded this as a
call to compete. Everyone is scrambling to defend their networks, and if the
air force can come up with better tools, everyone is eager to make use of them.
The Cyber Control System, however, is different, in that it would be air force
generals calling the shots, and determining how a Cyber War should be fought.
This might cause some inter-service friction, but if the air force is able to
demonstrate some real skill in this area, they will have a better chance of
being allowed to run the show.