Thursday, October 09, 2008

Whither Air Force Cyber?

I was disappointed to read in Air Force senior leaders take up key decisions that Air Force Cyber Command is effectively dead:

Leadership also decided to establish a Numbered Air Force for cyber operations within Air Force Space Command and discussed how the Air Force will continue to develop capabilities in this new domain and train personnel to execute this new mission.

Apparently that unit will be 24th Air Force. Since the Numbered Air Force is the unit by which the service presents combat forces to Unified Combatant Commanders in wartime, it makes some sense for cyber to at least be organized in that manner.

I guess the Air Force believes it needs to get its house in order before trying to establish a new command. The Air Force is also suffering the adverse effects of the way it advertised itself, essentially stealing the spotlight by not appearing "Joint" enough.

I am most concerned with the effect of not having Cyber Command upon the proposed cyber career field. From what my sources had told me, it was turning into a rebranded communications AFSC. The biggest problem the Air Force faces in cyber is not retaining skilled personnel. It suffers because there is no career path for cyber warriors. If that problem is not fixed, none of the reorganization efforts will matter anyway.

6 comments:

CG said...

I dont think any of the services have figured out how to properly identify people with "cyber" skill sets or how to keep them in the right jobs once they are trained or identified.

Its unfortunate that outdated thinking and ways of doing business are forcing the talented people to get out to do what they are good at.

Anonymous said...

Told ya.. The guys with 50" zippers need love too.

Joe said...

I guess no one has ever heard of Information Operations (IO) or Land Information Warfare (LIWA), both of which predate anything that the Air Force has recently publicized. Retention of soldiers with this skill set is definitely an issue. It is tough for a soldier to know that his civilian counterpart who sits literally across the aisle makes 4 times his salary. When this civilian counterpart actively recruits the skilled soldiers he encounters for his company only the truly dedicated and patriotic remain soldiers.

Richard Bejtlich said...

Joe, the AFCERT was created in 1992 and the AF Information Warfare Center followed in 1993.

djb said...

From The U.S. Navy CIO Blog

Everyone Is a Cyber Warrior Published, October 2, 2008

http://www.doncio.navy.mil/Blog.aspx?ID=780&ShowComments=true

Look for the Navy to soon drop the word "Defense" from Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command

Leena said...

i agree with richard