Air Force leaders hold Cyber Summit

The Air Force moved one step closer to the cyber frontier yesterday when more than two dozen senior leaders met at the Pentagon for a Cyber Summit. The meetings were meant to solidify the service’s plans to bring full-scale military operations to cyberspace and chart the way, officials said.

On Nov. 2, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne announced that a new Cyber Command will be formed from the 8th Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The command will coordinate offensive and defensive network and electronic warfare and will eventually become a major command, Wynne said.

“We are past the talking, past academic discussions about definitions, and on to moving this to operational reality,” said Lani Kass, director of the Cyberspace Task Force, at the meeting. The new command will integrate the full range of effects in air, space and cyberspace, she added.

Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley hosted the summit, which included representatives of the Air Force Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, Air Education and Training Command, and Air Force Materiel Command, according to an Air Force spokesman.

Leaders discussed the global strategic environment and the need to think of cyberspace as a warfighting arena, equal to land, air, sea or space, the spokesman said. The leaders agreed to create new career paths for leaders in cyber roles and to train Air Force members to perform cyber operations, he added.

Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, who will lead the Cyber Command, was directed to study the acquisitions and technological challenges that face the Air Force as it develops new cyber systems. Elder will report his findings when service leaders meet in February.

In May, the Air Force altered its mission statement to reflect cyberspace’s importance. The new mission, it states, is to “deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests — to fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace.”

“Cyberspace as a war fighting domain is no longer a question,” Moseley said. “We are fighting there every day.”

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