By Christen N. McCluney
Defense Media Activity
The director the U.S. Cyber Command recently spoke about the role of the new agency, as he became the first CYBERCOM commander during a small ceremony at Fort Meade, Md. On May 21, 2010.
“Last June, the secretary of defense directed the standup of U.S. Cyber Command to streamline the command and control of our military’s cyber-capabilities,” said Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command, during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. For more information, visit the Defense.gov Cyber Security special.
“Since that time, we have been leaning forward and building an organization and a mission alignment that is more integrated, synchronized and effective in the support of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians.”
The command will lead the day-to-day defense of all military networks, support military and counterterrorism missions and, under the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security, assist other government and civil authorities and industry partners.
Alexander, who is also the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and chief of the Central Security Service, said that protecting cyberspace is a national security priority and that the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command will represent the intersection of military, intelligence and information-assurance capabilities.
Recently, a Cyber Joint Operations Center was established to combine the existing staffs of the Joint Functional Component Command for Net Warfare and the Joint Taskforce Global Network Operations.
U.S. Cyber Command also gained service elements that will act as the boots on the ground in support of its mission. These include the Army Forces Cyber Command, the Marine Forces Cyber Command, the 24th Air Force and the Navy’s 10th Fleet, Fleet Cyber Command.
Alexander said that the U.S. military is responsible for protecting more than 7 million machines, linked through 15,000 networks with 21 satellite gateways and 20,000 commercial circuits composed of countless devices and components.
“America’s very wealth and strength make it a target in cyberspace. And one of the pillars of that strength, our military, is at risk, perhaps to an even greater degree,” he said.
National and military information infrastructures are heavily intertwined and as a result, Defense Department (DoD) systems are probed by unauthorized users 250,000 times an hour, over 6 million times a day.
“The DoD must be able to operate freely and defend its resources in cyberspace,” he said. “So the job of the U.S. Cyber Command is to assure that the right information gets to the right user at the right time at the right level of protection.”