Cyber Command Builds ‘Cyber Warrior’ Capabilities

FORT MEADE, Md., Sept. 27, 2011 — Rec­og­niz­ing there’s no cook­ie-cut­ter for­mu­la for a “cyber war­rior,” the out­go­ing chief of staff at U.S. Cyber Com­mand said the strong, diverse capa­bil­i­ties already in place will pro­vide the foun­da­tion for the military’s pro­fes­sion­al cyber corps.

After his piv­otal role in stand­ing up U.S. Cyber Com­mand and help­ing to mold its ini­tial cyber force, Air Force Maj. Gen. David N. Sen­ty not­ed the array of skill sets it brings to the mis­sion of defend­ing vital mil­i­tary networks. 

The cyber force includes experts not only in infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy, but also in sig­nals intel­li­gence, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. Com­bat-arms forces among their ranks bring an oper­a­tional mind­set and mil­i­tary judg­ment to the equa­tion, Sen­ty said. 

Many of the mem­bers, like Sen­ty, a mobi­lized Air Force reservist, come from the reserves and Nation­al Guard and bring civil­ian-acquired exper­tise to the mis­sion, he not­ed. Togeth­er, he said, they pro­vide a capa­bil­i­ty crit­i­cal to defend­ing the Defense Depart­ment glob­al infra­struc­ture grid and the net­works mil­i­tary forces depend on to operate. 

“They are real­ly awe­some folks,” Sen­ty said. “We have a great num­ber of them at the com­mand who are moti­vat­ed, excit­ed by what they are doing, and encour­ag­ing and bring­ing oth­ers into the com­mand with a grow­ing recog­ni­tion of the impor­tance � the dai­ly impor­tance � of what we are doing.” 

A month shy of Cyber Command’s first year at full oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty, Sen­ty said the force already has demon­strat­ed its abil­i­ty to change with the oper­a­tional envi­ron­ment. “The way we have adjust­ed our tac­tics, tech­niques and pro­ce­dures has been very agile,” he said. That agili­ty, the gen­er­al explained, is the strength of the cyber force as it deals with an evolv­ing threat that takes advan­tage of the oppor­tu­ni­ty to oper­ate freely and anony­mous­ly in cyberspace. 

Sen­ty echoed con­cern expressed by Army Gen. Kei­th Alexan­der, Cyber Com­mand com­man­der, that future cyber attacks will become destruc­tive, not just dis­rup­tive, not­ing that evi­dence exists show­ing that adver­saries are build­ing destruc­tive tools. “There is an aware­ness now … about destruc­tive tools that are out in the wild,” he said. “And those can do griev­ous dam­age to phys­i­cal infrastructure.” 

Fac­ing off against this threat is a force Sen­ty com­pared to a soc­cer team. Unlike a foot­ball team that has dis­tinct offen­sive and defen­sive play­ers, he said, the cyber force must adopt the rules of soc­cer, con­duct­ing “con­tin­u­ous play, with offen­sive and defen­sive [skills] at all times,” oper­at­ing and defend­ing in the same cyber­space. “That sort of mind­set was part of bring­ing the com­mand togeth­er,” he said. 

With most of the com­mand now in place, Cyber­com lead­ers rec­og­nize the need to assign more mem­bers to sup­port the geo­graph­ic com­bat­ant com­mands. That will require a larg­er cyber foot­print around the globe, with posi­tions like­ly to be filled not just by Cyber­com head­quar­ters, but also from its ser­vice com­po­nents, Sen­ty said. 

As it fine-tunes its cur­rent assign­ments, Cyber­com con­tin­ues to eval­u­ate what force will be need­ed down the road, Sen­ty said. “We are build­ing a com­mand cul­ture about the cyber war­rior of the future, the impor­tance of those skills and the aware­ness of the oper­a­tional impact of every­thing they do in cyber­space,” he added. 

That, the gen­er­al said, involves work­ing with the ser­vice com­po­nents to devel­op a com­mon mind­set, com­mon train­ing stan­dards and career pro­gres­sion across the com­po­nents. Sen­ty said he envi­sions a “very delib­er­ate rota­tion sched­ule” of assign­ments in the future between Cyber Com­mand, its ser­vice com­po­nents and com­bat­ant com­mands to ensure a sol­id expe­ri­ence base in build­ing net­works, defend­ing net­works and oper­at­ing in cyberspace. 

“It is real­ly a new hybrid of skills that comes togeth­er through a migra­tion of assign­ments,” he said. 

Mean­while, Sen­ty said, he sees grow­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty and oth­er agen­cies � an effort already under way — and with inter­na­tion­al part­ners. Ulti­mate­ly, he added, he expects poli­cies that will gen­er­ate “cyber joint warfight­ers” and even “cyber coali­tion war­riors,” all work­ing togeth­er so their net­works are mutu­al­ly secure across the globe. 

Sen­ty, who retires Sept. 30, said the Cyber Com­mand team’s force has “the right moti­va­tion, skill sets and future thought about where cyber is going” to take the com­mand forward. 

“You can see the excite­ment in their eyes,” he said. “They are real­ly inspi­ra­tional in the way they have pitched in to this mis­sion and leaned for­ward. I’m real­ly inspired by the future, think­ing ahead toward where they will be in the future with this incred­i­ble capa­bil­i­ty that is so fun­da­men­tal for the mil­i­tary today.” 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →