U.S. Air Force has officially scrapped its planed Cyber Command. This new
organization was supposed to officially begin operating by the end of the year.
Instead, many of the personnel that were going to staff the new command are
being sent to the new Nuclear Command. This change was made in response to a
growing (over the last few years) problems with the management of air force
nuclear weapons. Despite that, for several years now, the air force has been
planning to establish the new Cyber War operation and use it to gain overall
control for all Department of Defense Cyber War activities. The other services
were not keen on this. That resistance, plus the nuclear weapons problems, have
led to the Cyber Command operation being scaled back to being the 24th Air
Force. This organization will handle electronic and Internet based warfare.
Cyber Command will not become reality, work continues on building a Cyber
Control System. This is a hardware and software system that would enable the
24th Air Force 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 24th Air Force 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 wanted to do was 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.