Us cyber command reports to be ready for cyber war in principle

U.S. cyber command reports that it is in principle ready for cyber war

West point team during a cyber exercise. Image: dod

Full operational capability postponed until 2018, finding suitable cyber soldiers is difficult

A few days ago, the pentagon announced that the us cyber command is now conditionally operational with 133 units, each of which is to be 40-60 strong. It had achieved initial operating capability (ioc), i.E. It can already intervene and perform basic tasks, but full operational capability has not yet been achieved. It is worth noting that the first commander, general keith alexander, had already stated in 2011 that the cyber command was fully operational in october 2010. At the same time, there were just over 900 employees.

Alexander had also attracted attention when he threatened that the usa could also react to cyber attacks with the use of deadly weapons up to nuclear missiles (the right to strike back wildly in the event of an attack in cyberspace). The establishment of the cyber command was decided in 2009. According to the doctrine, the classical forces for land, air and sea have been joined by those for space and cyberspace. Since several forces were vying for this central command and the air force had already begun to claim it for itself, the pentagon decided to place the command directly under strategic command, but not yet on an equal footing with the other forces, i.E., the army, the air force, the navy and the marines, and to appoint the respective nsa director as commander.

The assignment is still not properly resolved, for example, who is in command of a cyber attack on the infrastructure of the usa: the cybercom or northcom (state chaos in the pentagon in the event of a cyber attack). It is also controversial whether nsa and cybercom should not be strictly separated.

The cyber command is responsible for protecting military computer systems and networks, protecting the u.S. And its infrastructure from and responding to cyberattacks, and supporting the armed forces in their missions around the world. Accordingly, there are four tactical teams: cyber national mission force teams, cyber combat mission force teams, cyber protection force teams and cyber support teams. In addition, combat mission force teams are distributed among centcom state capabilities, such as jfhq-c marforcyber for special operations command or jfhq-c arcyber for central command, africa command, and northern command. At least to an outsider, it’s all a bit confusing.

In announcing the operational capability, admiral michael rogers, the cybercom commander and nsa director, indirectly pointed to the competitive tussle between the forces. He explained that the pentagon had made it that way because of this "the russian federation has managed to train and build this force unusually quickly, as each branch has concluded that cyber is a mission that requires deep expertise over time". This, he added, has not always been the case.

In 2015, it was said that the cybercom was initially operational, but that there were not yet enough experienced personnel and that it was difficult to realize the planned increase to 6000 men by 2016. By the end of 2014, they had only hired 2400 men and women and had begun to outsource jobs (u.S. Cyber command takes shape). In the new cyber strategy published in 2015, the not very credible threat to react militarily to a cyber attack with all means, i.E. Up to the use of nuclear weapons, was transformed into graduated reactions, probably also under the impression of the attack on the sony pictures network (pentagon strategy for cyber war).

The full staffing with the planned 6.200 man was postponed from 2016 to 2018. An rfp was then ied to look for available cyber weapons on the market (the us army wants to know what cyber weapons are available on the market). A tender at the end of 2015, according to which the us cyber command wanted to outsource offensive cyber warfare and the development of even lethal cyber weapons for almost half a billion us dollars (outsourcing of cyber war), finally pointed to a lack of capacity and personnel. Are sought, for example, by the private sector for the cybercom: "malware developers, reverse engineers, penetration testers /test engineers, sharepoint web developers, windows, nix, cisco experienced administrators and integrators, and systems engineering technical assistance/advisor."

In the summer, in the run-up to the offensive on mosul, the first use of cybercom against is was already announced by defense secretary ash carter. It is not known whether this has taken place or had any effect. From the silence one can probably conclude that one was not very successful (the cyberwar against the is announced by the pentagon is droning on).

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