USA — Cyber Task Force Passes Mission to Cyber Command

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 7, 2010 — After spend­ing the bet­ter part of the past decade defend­ing the Defense Department’s com­put­er net­works, the Joint Task Force Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions com­mand cased its col­ors.

Joint Task Force Global Networks Operation in Arlington, Va
Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand com­man­der, deliv­ers remarks at the deac­ti­va­tion cer­e­mo­ny of the Joint Task Force Glob­al Net­works Oper­a­tion in Arling­ton, Va., Sept. 9, 2010. The task force is the Defense Department’s lead effort in cyber defense. Its mis­sion and per­son­nel now fall under the U.S. Cyber Com­mand at Fort Meade, Md.
DoD pho­to by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Car­den
Click to enlarge

The task force was deac­ti­vat­ed in a cer­e­mo­ny today here at the Defense Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Agency. The task force’s oper­a­tions and per­son­nel now fall under U.S. Cyber Com­mand at Fort Meade, Md.

Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, com­man­der of U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand, presided over the cer­e­mo­ny. Although the cer­e­mo­ny marked the end of the task force’s tenure, its mis­sion con­tin­ues, he said.

“Today we’re rolling the flag at JTF-GNO, but we’re not rolling the mis­sion,” Chilton said. “This mis­sion will con­tin­ue on at U.S. Cyber Com­mand and will be as essen­tial tomor­row as it is today to the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.”

The task force was short-lived, but it was the prod­uct of 12 years of ini­tia­tives and fore­sight to devel­op the best ways to oper­ate on the cyber bat­tle­field. JTF Com­put­er Net­work Defense was cre­at­ed in 1998 under the U.S. Space Com­mand.

That task force had a dual mis­sion to con­duct offen­sive and defen­sive cyber oper­a­tions. It was reor­ga­nized to fall under Strat­com in 2003. By 2004 the task force was redes­ig­nat­ed as JTF Com­put­er Net­work Oper­a­tions to assume the offen­sive role. The JTF Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions also was estab­lished.

The new task force’s mis­sion was to direct the oper­a­tion and defense of the glob­al infor­ma­tion grid through­out the full spec­trum of war fight­ing, intel­li­gence and busi­ness mis­sions with­in the depart­ment.

Since its acti­va­tion, JTF Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions has ensured sup­port to Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom, Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom in Afghanistan, Oper­a­tion Noble Eagle and the over­all glob­al war on ter­ror.

Cyber­com was acti­vat­ed in May. The JTF Com­put­er Net­work Oper­a­tions fol­lowed soon after. JTF Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions’ deac­ti­va­tion cul­mi­nates years of work and effort to inte­grate Cyber­com into its oper­a­tions, Chilton said.

“It was clear that our mis­sions need­ed to come togeth­er, and we’ve done that,” the gen­er­al said. “The tran­si­tion began this year, and it’s going to con­tin­ue today.”

Chilton praised JTF Glob­al Network’s final com­man­der, Army Lt. Gen. Car­roll F. Pol­lett, who he said changed the cul­ture of net­work account­abil­i­ty with­in the depart­ment and got lead­ers involved in cyber secu­ri­ty.

“The com­mand and con­trol was not as tight as it need­ed to be to con­front the threats of today,” Chilton said. “[Pol­lett] made our net­works com­man­ders’ busi­ness. You brought that focus to every ser­vice and DoD agency.”

Pol­lett assumed com­mand of JTF Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions and duties as direc­tor of the Defense Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Agency in Novem­ber 2008. He remains direc­tor of DISA.

JTF has played a sig­nif­i­cant role “in set­ting the con­di­tions for the future” of the depart­ment, cyber­space oper­a­tions and the nation, Pol­lett said.

As the JTF Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions col­ors are retired for the final time, Pol­lett said he’s remind­ed of the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the tran­si­tion of the task force to Cyber­com.

The infor­ma­tion envi­ron­ment, he said, has evolved dra­mat­i­cal­ly, and today the infor­ma­tion grid is more than some­thing that enhances capa­bil­i­ties.

“[Infor­ma­tion] has become an oper­a­tional imper­a­tive in our abil­i­ty to deliv­er deci­sive capa­bil­i­ties to warfight­ers and our nation­al lead­ers,” the gen­er­al said. “Cyber­space has evolved into a new warfight­er domain.

“[Cyber­space has proven equal and just as impor­tant as air, sea, land and space as a domain,” he con­tin­ued. “It’s clear that it must be defend­ed and oper­a­tional­ized.”

Pol­lett praised the peo­ple under his com­mand for their efforts, call­ing them “pio­neers” on the cyber domain front.

“It’s an hon­or to rec­og­nize the [JTF Glob­al Net­work Oper­a­tions] men and women, past and present, for their extra­or­di­nary accom­plish­ments in work­ing in the cyber domain,” Pol­lett said. “You led the way for dra­mat­ic changes in the Depart­ment of Defense as the mis­sion, require­ments and threats evolved.”

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

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