Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Not Your Father's Air Force XXIX

This is interesting...
(Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force has designated six cyber tools as weapons, which should help the programs compete for increasingly scarce dollars in the Pentagon budget, an Air Force official said on Monday.

Lieutenant General John Hyten, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, which oversees satellite and cyberspace operation, said the new designations would help normalize military cyber operations as the U.S. military works to keep up with rapidly changing threats in the newest theater of war.

"This means that the game-changing capability that cyber is is going to get more attention and the recognition that it deserves," Hyten told a cyber conference held in conjunction with the National Space Syposium in Colorado Springs.


He gave no details on the new cyber weapons, but the Pentagon has become more open over the past year about its work to develop offensive cyber capabilities in the face of escalating cyber attacks by China, Russia, Iran and others.

That makes sense... weapons and weapons systems get funded, ephemeral "capabilities" not so much.  It's about time the US got serious about cyber-warfare.  There's a lot to do when it comes to securing our national IT infrastructure... financial systems, pipelines, power grids, the inter-tubes as a whole... not to mention our near total reliance on IT to conduct warfare in this day and age.  It's a good thing we're developing an offensive cyber capability but I tend to worry more... much more... about our cyber DEFENSES.

Apropos o' not much... the Air Force provided me with my entrĂ©e into the wonderful world of IT back around 1984 or so.  I didn't know a microprocessor from a food processor when my management made me the point guy for rolling out the first-ever desktop computers in my lil corner o' the Air Force Communications Command's Engineering/Installations Division.  The learning curve was steep... VERY steep... but that particular tasking/responsibility set the stage for my follow-on civilian career in IT, and the rest is history.  I gotta say the computer biz was one helluva lot more lucrative than the radar biz ever was.  Thanks, Air Force.


  1. I would say we've been serious for some time... we just haven't announced our level of intent in a public forum. The Air Force has been trying to take the lead in Cyber for some time. The Navy and Air Force have competing interests in this arena... STRATCOM told both services they need to develop PEOPLE to do these things and STRATCOM would develop the things. That's changed now with CYBERCOM, but it really hasn't changed that much.
    Services man, train and equip... COCOMs execute. That fact seems to be lost on the services at times when they are positioning themselves for funds. You are right, we put serious money into weapon systems.
    Weapon systems fall under a unique line of accounting (color of money) that enables the military to spend LOTS of money accross fiscal years... and insulate the system from a fickle congress. The budgets for weapon systems are not isolated from congress, but they are insulated.

    1. You'd know a LOT more about this than me. ;-)


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