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Airmen Must Understand Business of Cyber

Airmen Must Understand Business of Cyber, General Says

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- June 5, 2013 – (AFPS) – As U.S. Cyber Command gains strength and steadily extends its range across the newest warfare domain, it has called on all the services over the next five years to contribute trained-up teams of cyber operators to ensure U.S. military freedom of action, defensively and offensively, in cyberspace.

For the Air Force, this means adding more than 1,000 cyber professionals between fiscal years 2014 and 2016, the commander of Air Force Space Command, Gen. William L. Shelton, said during a news conference here in January. This is a 15 percent increase over the 6,000 or so cyber experts now working at 24th Air Force, the service’s operational cyber organization.

Official opening a new 46,000-sqare-foot HQ and operations center for 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber

Air Force Maj. Gen. Suzanne M. Vautrinot is in charge of the Air Force cyber enterprise. She commands the 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber, called AFCYBER, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.

“I wear two hats,” the general told American Forces Press Service during a recent interview. “One is organizing, training and equipping the 24th Air Force under Air Force Space Command, making sure that we provide cyber resources for the Air Force and for U.S. Cyber Command.”

Her 24th Air Force units are the 67th Network Warfare Wing and the 688th Information Operations Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and the 689th Combat Communications Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. It’s also a virtual command, Vautrinot said, with locations and people at about 40 different places around the globe and “groups and squadrons all over the place.”

“On the other side is Air Forces Cyber, the component to U.S. Cyber Command,” the general explained. “We need to provide those trained and ready and capable folks to conduct the missions that Cyber Command delegates to us or involves us in.”

“Cyber is not unique to the military; it’s a partnership,” Vautrinot said, “so in order to build the right stuff for the skilled workforce, there’s a lot of external partnering.”
Vautrinot quoted a congressman as citing James Gosler, the first director of the CIA’s clandestine information technology office, who in October 2008 said, “The U.S. has no more than 1,000 people with the advanced security skills to compete in cyberspace at world-class levels -– we need 20,000 to 30,000.”

“We took that to heart and partnered with industry to leverage best practices,” she said, “both because it’s a shared problem and industry is leading the way, and there’s no reason to duplicate.”

The nation doesn’t need “silver bullets,” the general said. It needs capability and capacity, she added, defining capability as “the number and kinds of things you can do” and capacity as “how many people you can do those things for simultaneously.”

“What we’re all trying to do as a nation is make sure that we can all scale,” she added. “So we take the capacity that’s in industry, the capacity that’s in government, the capacity that’s in the academic world, the capacity that’s in our international partners and we partner, because this is a shared problem.”

The 24th Air Force uses cooperative research and development agreements to collaborate with big and small companies and organizations in industry, academia, other government organizations and research institutions.

“What we do,” Vautrinot explained, “is … share information and understanding about the threat and the environment, or information on what kinds of technologies and innovations are in the realm of the possible or just now emerging so we can put those together.”

The general also works closely with international partners, she said.

“There are all kinds of concerted efforts at the level of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and within Cyber Command and in each individual combatant command to expand international partnerships,” Vautrinot added.

“We have a United Kingdom embed on our staff, and we’ll have an Australian coming soon,” she added. “When I work with my counterparts in other countries, the 5th Air Force is in Japan and they work with the Japanese in different mission areas, so they reach out to me to help with respect to understanding cyber implications for those particular missions.”

The 24th Air Force also is a collaborative element in the whole-of-government approach, Vautrinot added, so she works through the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, through law enforcement by way of the FBI and local law enforcement agencies, and with the departments of Treasury, Homeland Security and Commerce.

“We are partners with them, because we’re all defending the same nation in different ways,” the general said, “and we are all dependent on cyber and networks, so we share and collaborate.”


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).