8th Air Force named as cyberspace command
Release Number: 011106
11/2/2006 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne announced today that the 8th Air Force is now the service' s lead command for cyberspace.
The command's new responsibility is a potential step to becoming an Air Force major command, Wynne said.
The "Mighty Eighth" was made famous during the Combined Bomber Offensive over Europe in World War II. "The mission of bombers now within the 8th Air Force will remain," he said.
The move accompanies the service's ever-increasing reliance on operations within the cyberspace domain, Wynne explained. "The capital cost of entry to the cyberspace domain is low. The threat is, that a foe can mass forces to weaken the network that supports our operations," he said. Wynne noted that the traditional principles of war as taught to young officers apply fully in cyberspace, and he stressed that cyberspace operations can include far more than computer network attack and defense. He cited the use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq, terrorist use of Global Positioning Satellites and satellite communications, Internet financial transactions by adversaries, radar and navigational jamming, and attacking American servers as just a few examples of operations that involve the cyberspace domain. "This new way of war is data-dependent. We need to protect our data while detecting adversary data and then deny, disrupt, dissuade or destroy the source of that data or transmission as appropriate," he said.
Led by Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, 8th Air Force will develop the cyberspace force by reaching across all Air Force commands to draw the right people and capabilities.
The cornerstone of the cyberspace command will be the leading-edge capabilities already resident in 8th AF to include command and control, electronic warfare, net warfare, and surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Wynne called the move "good stewardship" and said it was necessary to ensure the cyberspace domain receives the emphasis required. The 8th Air Force will be responsible for training, organizing and equipping the service for cyberspace operations and managing career planning to grow cyberspace professionals from among the active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian ranks.
"There will be careers and a strong future for the Airmen whose work is in the cyberspace domain. Air Force military and civilian experts are working now forming the career and school paths that will ensure a full career with full opportunities for advancement to the highest ranks of the Air Force," he said.
In December 2005, the Air Force mission statement was amended to include cyberspace as an operational domain along with air and space. The service stood up the Cyberspace Task Force in January, led by military strategist Dr. Lani Kass. The task force, composed of Airmen from across the Air Force, has spent the past ten months gathering data and exploring how the service operate effectively in cyberspace. Recently Air Force leaders tasked the commanders of Air Combat Command and Air Force Space Command to submit a proposal for establishing an operational command for cyberspace.
Air Force Cyber Operations Command - Mission: Warfighting (pdf) (original ppt copy), 5 Jan 07 briefing slides, by LtGen Bob Elder, Commander 8th AF
[06-01-07] SECAF: Dominance in cyberspace is not optional
The Air Force's senior leader's message was clear: dominance in cyberspace is not optional. He made that case to attendees May 23 at the inaugural 55th Wing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Symposium in Omaha.
"Our own nation's neural network resides in cyberspace," Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne said. "Our military command and control, ISR and precision strike capability all rely on ensured access to the electronic spectrum.
"As the nation with the world's most advanced armed forces, we can't afford to risk losing the freedom of action in the cyberspace domain."
[03-02-07] Cyberspace warfare remains serious business
It's a primary medium for the way the Air Force does business, whether it is used for command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance or reconnaissance, yet cyberspace remains a relatively new and vulnerable frontier.
And Air Force leaders know it.
With technology evolving so quickly, cyberspace is probably the only warfighting domain in which we have pure competitors, and Airmen must stay ahead of them, said Gen. Ronald E. Keys, Air Combat Command commander, at the recent Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla.
[02-28-07] Fighting in cyberspace means cyber domain dominance
The Air Force officially announced creation of the new Cyberspace Command late last year. Now, just four months later, the command's leaders are talking about the way ahead.
The Air Force's operational Cyberspace Command, also known as 8th Air Force, is commanded by Lt. Gen. Robert J. "Bob" Elder. He said as part of an effort to develop better understanding of the cyberspace domain, elements of the command recently engaged in mock battle with aggressors and tactical experts from the Air Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
"For us, one of the big things was understanding what the cyberspace domain is and then what operations in cyberspace means," General Elder said. "We actually played cyberspace in a futures scenario and looked at how cyberspace could be used to enhance our contributions to a joint fight."
[11-02-06] Cyberspace as a Domain In which the Air Force Flies and Fights
Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne
Remarks as delivered to the C4ISR Integration Conference, Crystal City, Va., Nov. 2, 2006
Thank you, Barry [Barry Rosenberg, Director, Defense News Media Group Conferences], for the introduction and thank you to the Defense News Media Group
I have long worked on Command and Control issues, and watched how the technology has diffused, in the drive for more Jointness. We see how weapons now fly so far that there is ever increasing need to be able to trust the data we use to guide them.
This I understand is your Sixth gathering. This annual event has a great future.
I want to discuss with you today a subject I regard as extremely critical: the Freedom of Cyberspace.
Just last week Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, speaking before a major network warfare audience, listed the attempts of hackers, "Cyber-vigilantes", terrorists, and even hostile nation-states to degrade our Fighting Networks as the single issue that he spends "more time thinking about in the middle of the night, than any other."
Before addressing Cyberspace directly, I want to set some context, first as to the Mission of the Air Force, then as to the topics of this Conference, and also as to what we are learning from current combat.
I. The Mission of the Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests-- to fly and fight in Air, Space and Cyberspace. This was defined a year ago, and then codified a month later, on December 5, 2005.
[10-05-06] Air Force leaders to discuss new 'Cyber Command'
Air Force leaders are gathering in early November to discuss plans for creation of a new command, one chartered with flying and fighting in cyber space.
Cyberspace became an official Air Force domain, like air and space, on Dec. 7, 2005, when Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. T. Michael Moseley introduced a new mission statement.
In a letter to Airmen, they said the new mission was to "deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace."
Now, Air Force leaders are planning to stand up a new "cyber command," to be responsible for fighting in that domain, said General Moseley.