Spacecom handling cyberattack, defense

U.S. Space Command is considering whether to form a unified subcommand to

take charge of computer network defense and attack missions.

Spacecom has been responsible for computer network defense missions

and this month added the computer network attack responsibilities. Computer

network attacks include offensive information operations such as cyberattacks

against enemy networks that control air defense systems.

The command now is studying the best organization for conducting the

two types of missions, according to Air Force Brig. Gen. Dale Meyerrose,

director of command and control systems for Spacecom. Options under consideration

include separate task forces for the two missions, one task force for both,

or a subcommand for both.

The study is scheduled to be completed Oct. 1, 2001.

"We are looking at how to do that over time — whether or not it is a

separate joint task force or a combined joint task force, and then whether

you add other things for a subunified command," Meyerrose said. "We've got

to work it through the intelligence community, the [regional commanders

in chief], the services, the agencies and the departments."

Meyerrose said task forces are attractive to military leaders because

they are often-used and well-understood entities, but they also are designed

to be temporary. Creating permanent task forces goes against tradition.

"A subunified command would imply more of a permanence, if you will,

but we are not set on any of the answers," Meyerrose said. "Our initial

take is that those elements need to be so closely interwoven that we need

to look long and hard at it being a single task force or a single subcommand."

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