Service leaders mull future of Cyber Command

In response to reports that Air Force officials have halted efforts to create a cyberspace command, a spokesman acknowledged that the program is under review.

“We do understand that senior leadership is taking a look at this, but we have not been told to halt just yet,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt in the 8th Air Force’s Public Affairs Office at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

“We’ve got new leaders — in the chief of staff and the secretary of the Air Force — and they’re looking at all the issues of the Air Force,” DeWitt said. “They will be looking at cyberspace and the Cyber Command capabilities and try to determine the best way forward with that. As of this point in time today, we have not officially been told to put anything on hold.”

Once a decision is reached, officials will share that information with the public, DeWitt added.

The Cyber Command’s mission is to organize, train and equip forces to use and maintain access to cyberspace in support of military operations.

The first phase in establishing the command is due to be complete by Oct. 1. Then the command will have a year to reach full operational capability.

“Essentially, we are building something from nothing,” DeWitt said.

The Air Force already has cyber defense capabilities. “The Cyber Command was there to collect all those and have command and control over that,” DeWitt said. “The initial steps obviously were just the organization, essentially.”

The provisional Cyber Command was established in 2007. The location for the permanent command has yet to be decided.

“There have been a lot of changes in the Air Force recently, and in light of those, we understand that the new leadership will look at those programs individually,” DeWitt said. “We know that cyberspace is definitely on their docket of things to look at — trying to streamline those processes in line with everything else that the Air Force is doing.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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