Cyberwar ops may unify

Minutes after U.S. Space Command officials announced they were considering

a unified subcommand to take charge of computer network operations, some

critics questioned the strategy.

Computer network operations include offensive and defensive cyberwarfare

missions, both of which now fall under Spacecom.

Gen. Dale Meyerrose, director of command and control systems for Spacecom,

told attendees at the Military Communications conference in Los Angeles

last week that Spacecom is considering forming a unified subcommand to oversee

computer network attack and defense missions. Meyerrose and others cautioned

that the subcommand option is one of several being considered during a study

set for completion Oct. 1, 2001.

But some information warfare experts are already questioning whether

a subcommand is the right option. "No matter how you go about it, building

a unified subcommand virtually from scratch is not going to be cheap," one

Air Force information warfare expert said.

Martin Libicki, a defense analyst at Rand Corp., questioned whether

the two missions need be centralized. "Do you really want everyone doing

things the same way?" he asked.

But putting the two missions under the umbrella of computer network

operations is one reason military officials find the subcommand option attractive.

"The right way to look at this is computer network operations — not

just attack and defense as separate entities. I think you have to put them

together," said Air Force Gen. Ed Eberhart, Spacecom commander. "If you

put them together, it could be a joint task force, but a unified subcommand

would make sense if we decide to invest those types of assets and resources."

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