It’s no secret that the cyber domain has become the new battlefield, where the challenge is that we face an enemy that is very adept at breaching networks, often faceless, nation-less and very difficult to track.
To meet these demands, the Department of Defense (DoD) has been aggressive in advancing the efforts of U.S. Cyber Command to be more strategic when focused on joint force commander problem sets.
According to recent in-depth series by Federal Times, the current cyber mission force consists of 133 teams and 6,200 persons. These cyber warriors handle everything form defending DoD networks to supporting combatant commanders to focusing on malicious state actors.
Although the U.S. Cyber Command is building out robust capabilities, it’s still a relatively young organization, being only created in 2009. As highlighted in a recent C4ISR NET article, the organization is still “learning lessons from training exercises and operations pertaining to its structure, the structure of its teams, how to deploy teams and how to conduct operations.”
A core part of this is enhancing operational capabilities with its annual Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag training exercises. This is a “joint and combined military exercise focused on training and validating the Cyber Mission Force’s capabilities and readiness to execute all phases of conflict across defensive and offensive capabilities of U.S. Cyber Command’s assigned mission area responsibilities in support of Combatant Commands.”
However, significant challenges remain. According to retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, the former National Security Agency director and U.S. Cyber Command commander, “our approach to defending our country in cyberspace is not where it needs to be. It’s broken.” These were his comments at a recent Aspen Institute event, where he also outlined his vision for defending the nation in cyberspace – which aims to promote more visibility into network attacks, and faster response times.
The mission of bolstering our offensive and defensive cyber capabilities requires tenacity, constant training, and the ability to foresee and prevent attacks. The U.S. Cyber Command is gaining traction and tackling the right steps to meet these mission requirements.
This is why we are naming the organization as this week’s GovTransformer. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.