Military readies its cyber forces
All of the military services will soon have their own cyber groups, coordinated at a higher level by the recently launched U.S. Cyber Command. Here is a timeline of the recent developments.
The Air Force becomes the first service to activate a dedicated cyber component, the 24th Air Force, under the Air Force Space Command. Located at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, the 24th is charged with operating the Air Force’s portion of the Defense Department’s Global Information Grid. It is commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard Webber. The Air Force's cyber outfit faced controversy when plans to launch it as a major command were halted in 2008 in favor of placing the responsibilities in the 24th.
Marines establish the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, based at Fort Meade, Md. The command is led by Lt. Gen. George Flynn.
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The Navy launches the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, headquartered alongside the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. The command is led by Vice Adm. Bernard McCullough and will soon welcome aboard former Navy Department Chief Information Officer Rob Carey as director of strategy and policy. This is a relaunch of the 10th Fleet; the original 10th Fleet was established during World War II to sink German U-boats.
U.S. Cyber Command is activated after delays and the Senate confirmation of its commander, Gen. Keith Alexander, who also leads NSA. Cybercom is part of the Strategic Command and is intended to integrate and coordinate the cyber defenses and offensive capabilities of the individual military services. Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered Cybercom's creation in June 2009. It is located with NSA at Fort Meade.
October 2010 (planned)
The Army Forces Cyber Command is slated to attain full operational capabilities in October, but plans for its leadership and organization are still under way. Army Brig. Gen. Steven Smith, currently chief cyber officer in the Office of the Army CIO, is expected to command the component, which reportedly will be located in the Washington metro area.
Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering defense and national security. Connect with her on Twitter: @AmberInsideDOD.