Air Force moves to populate Cyberspace Command

Implications of Cyber Warfare (.pdf)

The Air Force is developing plans for a dedicated force to populate the ranks of the service’s new Cyberspace Command, its commanding general said today.

Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, commander of the 8th Air Force and chief of the new command, said the service will finish deliberations on a force structure for the command within a year and then start filling those positions.

Once service officials have laid out career paths and training guidelines for the jobs, Elder said, recruits will be able to join what he called the Air Force’s cyberforce just as they could opt to become fighter pilots or navigators.

Air Force officials have not yet determined how big this force should be, Elder said.

He estimated there are now 40,000 men and women in the service conducting cyberoperations in one form or another. He said the question will be defining which of those service members would fall under the ranks of the new Cyberspace Command.

Efforts are also under way to include some cyberforce training in basic courses all service members must take, Elder said. “We want to train every airman to be a cyberoperator” equipped with at least basic knowledge about defending the military’s information networks.

Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne announced plans to establish an Air Force Cyberspace Command in November 2006.

Military officials have defined cyberspace as “a domain characterized by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical infrastructures,” Wynne said.

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