US CYBER COMMAND EXPANDS CAPABILITIES
By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News Service
18 Aug 14. U.S. Cyber Command continues to expand its capabilities and capacity, Navy Adm. Mike Rogers said Aug. 14. The U.S. Cyber Command commander and director of the National Security Agency was speaking during an interview at the NSA headquarters building here.
“The decision to create [U.S. Cyber Command] was a … recognition of a couple things. No. 1, the increasing importance of the cyber domain and the cyber mission set in Department of Defense operations in the 21st century,” Rogers said.
Such a command would add to the department’s ability to protect and defend its networks, and give policymakers and operational commanders a broader range of options, he said.
The second consideration involved DoD’s mission to defend the nation, coupled with the potential of nation-states, groups and individuals to conduct offensive cyber activities against critical U.S. infrastructure.
In that scenario, the admiral said, defense officials thought it was likely the president would “turn to the secretary of defense and say, ‘In your mission to defend the nation, I need you to do the same thing here in the cyber arena against this mission set critical to U.S. infrastructure, and I need an organization capable of doing that.'”
These conditions led the department to realize the need to create a traditional warfighting organization capable of executing a spectrum of cyberspace missions, Rogers said.
And, he added, they knew they needed to do so “with a dedicated professionalized workforce. This is not a pickup game where you just come casually to it.”
Rogers said he focuses on five priorities for Cybercom.
These are to build a trained and ready cyber force, put tools in place that create true situational awareness in cyberspace, create command-and-control and operational concepts to execute the mission, build a joint defensible network, and ensure Cybercom has the right policies and authorities that allow it to execute full-spectrum operations in cyberspace.
Making progress is important to Rogers, who characterized his ultimate goal as bringing U.S. Cyber Command to a level where it’s every bit as trained and ready as any carrier strike group in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility or any brigade combat team on the ground in Afghanistan.
“My objective during my time as the commander, first and foremost,” the admiral said, “is to ensure that we have brought to fruition the operational vision in cyber … [to make sure] it’s something real, it’s something tangible, and it is operationally ready to execute its assigned missions.”
That is happening as Cybercom brings its warfighting capability online, with the services generating a total cyber mission force of about 6,000 people by 2016, all trained to the same high standard and aligned in 133 teams with three core missions:
— The Cyber National Mission Force, when directed, is responsible for defending the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources.
— The Cyber Combat Mission Force provides cyber support to combatant commanders across the globe; and
— The Cyber Protection Force operates and defends the DoD information network, or DoDIN.
Defending the DoDIN is the focus of a partnership in progress with the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA.
The agency provides command and control and information-sharing capabilities and a globally accessible enterprise information infrastructure to warfighters, the president and national leaders, and other mission and coalition partners.
DISA, Rogers points out, is also a combat support agency.
The agency reports to acting DoD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen, and its director is Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr.
“I have always believed … that we need to integrate operations and networks and our defensive workforce into one team,” Rogers said, “and that you are more effect