Defense

Air Force setting up Silicon Valley office

Air Force logo

A week after the Defense Department announced it would open an office in Silicon Valley, the Air Force CIO said his service is ahead of the curve setting up shop in Northern California. The Air Force's presence in the Valley is meant to "rapidly turn technologies toward operational capabilities," Lt. Gen. William Bender said May 1.

Given that Bender has had an Air Force liaison in Silicon Valley building relationships with academia for a year, “I didn’t see fit to wait on” getting it set up, he said at a luncheon hosted by AFCEA’s Northern Virginia chapter.

Solidifying a presence in Silicon Valley is Bender’s latest move to shake up the Air Force’s approach to IT since becoming CIO in September. In December, he announced plans for a cybersecurity task force to thoroughly examine the Air Force’s network vulnerabilities.

Bender said the Air Force’s emphasis on cybersecurity aligns well with that of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. The secretary’s first Saturday briefing of military service officials was on cybersecurity, said Bender, adding that, in Carter’s eyes, about 80 percent of DOD’s cyber mission is network defense. Bender did not fill in the blank for the other 20 percent of the mission, but added: “We need to know what our offensive capabilities are so that when the president asks following a Sony, ‘What can you do about it?’…We have to have an answer to that.”

Bender was referring to the crippling cyberattack that hit Sony Pictures Entertainment in November, which U.S. officials have blamed on North Korea. Pyongyang blamed Washington for an Internet outage in North Korea the following month. Though U.S. officials have generally avoided commenting on that accusation, Texas Republican Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in March that “there were some cyber responses to North Korea” after the Sony Pictures attack.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the USAF office in Silicon Valley is part of a larger Department of Defense site, and not its own facility.

 

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is a former FCW staff writer.

Featured

  • Defense
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) reveal concept renderings for the Next NGA West (N2W) campus from the design-build team McCarthy HITT winning proposal. The entirety of the campus is anticipated to be operational in 2025.

    How NGA is tackling interoperability challenges

    Mark Munsell, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s CTO, talks about talent shortages and how the agency is working to get more unclassified data.

  • Veterans Affairs
    Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer speaks at an Oct. 10 FCW event (Photo credit: Troy K. Schneider)

    VA's pivot to agile

    With 10 months on the job, Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer is pushing his organization toward a culture of constant delivery.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.