Posts Tagged ‘Cyberwar’

US Military Cyber Defense

January 19, 2011

The US military is preparing for 21st Century electronic warfare and cyber terrorism. A joint US Cyber Command and four service cyber commands have been set up.

Their mission is to defend American military networks and civilian American infrastructure from cyber terrorism and from foreign government hackers.

More info at

Recent Cyber Attacks Serve as Lesson, General Says

August 27, 2008

Recent cyber attacks against government information systems overseas should serve as a lesson that the United States needs to continue to strengthen its defenses against those who would target the country’s financial, business and military systems, the commander of U.S. Northern Command said today.

Appearing on C-Span’s “Newsmakers,” Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., who leads both NorthCom and North American Aerospace Defense Command, cited recent cyber attacks against the former Soviet republic of Georgia in which government Web sites were intermittently knocked offline, as well as last year’s cyber attacks against government computer systems in the Baltic nation of Estonia.

“We need to ensure that we learn the lessons of those two events, and that we continue to strengthen an integrated process to defend ourselves against these kinds of intrusion,” Renuart said.

Since early this month, hackers have attacked Georgian servers and Web sites, forcing the government to relocate the sites to other servers. Some sites were defaced, while others were simply rendered unavailable.

The general said NorthCom relies on space- and land-based sensors to identify threats, and that intrusions into its computer networks could disrupt the command’s ability to provide warning of an attack.

“It’s critical to our mission that we are comfortable that we have a secure network, that it’s resilient to probes and attacks, and that it will be able to sustain good decision-making … for the nation’s leaders,” Renuart said.

Renuart said that though there is ample funding to combat the threat, efforts to do so have been somewhat “segmented.”

The Department of Homeland Security has the mission for the cyber-defense of the nation, and its role is to integrate the other elements of government into that effort, the general said. But cyber threats are not just a government problem, he said. Private industries — finance, health care, business and others – have a stake, Renuart noted.

“All of those have to come together in a unified effort if we are to maintain adequate defense against those who might intrude to our networks and try to disrupt them. It’s a big challenge,” Renuart said. He said better integration among the agencies is critical to success.

“If you are going to be successful at defending it, you have to have strong and close integration among the various agencies,” Renuart said.

The general stopped short of saying additional legislation is needed from Congress to better integrate the agencies, calling that a discussion for top U.S. leaders.

“Because this is such a broad area and it touches so many different elements of our society – business, medical care, information, certainly military and economic – many of those same organizations are struggling with ‘How do you pull them together in a more coherent fashion?’” Renuart said.

Renuart said that the departments of Homeland Security and Defense are working “aggressively” together alongside many private partner corporations. He also said that many in the private sector are “further advanced” than the Defense Department in some areas. He cited the banking and investing industries, which have advanced protections built into their systems, and said the government should partner with the private sector so that defense systems are compatible.

During the question-and-answer session with journalists on the program, the general was asked if he considers Russia a threat to the United States. Renuart called Russia a growing power. The country emerged from the Cold War struggling politically and economically, but now is stable economically and is expanding its sphere of influence, he said.

Russia also is becoming more active militarily, the general noted, sending its nuclear submarines and long-range bombers further from its shores. The country has also held recent tests of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Still, Renuart said, he is not yet concerned that the United States and Russia will face off within the international community any time soon.

“I’m not as worried that a Cold War relationship is returning so much,” Renuart said. “Those are things we have to pay attention to, but I think it is important not to swing the pendulum too much in an alarmist fashion.”

He said that the Russian military movements involving the U.S. military have been conducted “professionally” and in compliance with U.S. requests.

Renuart was also asked about the Arctic region and its increasing significance in national security. An increase in navigable water in the region has resulted in increased traffic by military, research and tourist vessels.

Renuart said his concerns are how to ensure adequate search and rescue capability, maintain a presence that can monitor movement of other military forces in the region, and ensure that the United States is involved in discussions and negotiations about military movement in the region.

NORAD monitors the air space over the Arctic.

“I don’t see a threat to the nation coming from the Arctic,” Renuart said. “But I do see security concerns that will arise as you have nations compete for resources, as you have nations compete for passage, as you have commercial interests competing for passage through the area. All of those have a security element, and I think we just have to have a good discussion about it.”

Tunnel systems along the U.S.-Mexican border also came up in the questioning. The tunnels are used by criminals for drug and weapons smuggling, and U.S. officials have long feared they also could be used by terrorists. Renuart said his command is “increasingly successful” at finding the tunnels and passing the information on to law enforcement officials, who investigate and monitor them.

Technology used first in Afghanistan now is helping to pinpoint border tunnels, or potential tunnel locations. But Renuart called the tunnels a “reality and a challenge” and said the narcotics traffickers are “learning adversaries.”

“As you close one route, they’ll open another,” Renuart said.

Renuart said that as officials are successful interdicting by the air, traffickers move to the sea. As U.S. officials stop more by sea, traffickers go underground.

“If we believed we have solved the problem, we are almost guaranteeing it will come back. You can’t take your eye off the ball in this kind of a situation,” Renuart said.

The general said his command works closely with other agencies in its efforts on the border and across the United States. He called NorthCom’s relationship with its 60 federal partners extremely “close and solid.”

“We are seeing a team now that is closer-knit than maybe ever before,” Renuart said.

Forty-five of the agencies have assigned senior officials to NorthCom’s headquarters. They are integrated in the planning and operations and interagency coordination process. Renuart said the days of frictions among governmental agencies are over.

“Those days are gone. We are working hand in hand,” he said. “We are seeing now a synergy that is really strong.”

This type of interagency cooperation is critical as NorthCom tries to focus efforts across an array of potential threats to the United States, Renuart said. Every day his command monitors threats overseas, develops roles of missile defense, looks for air threats inside U.S. borders and provides military support relief efforts after natural and man-made disasters and threats.

“On any given day, one of them will be our highest priority,” Renuart said.

“What keeps me awake is making sure that our team is focused on the many threats out there, and not taking any one for granted, not leaving any one unobserved,” he said.

Fred W. Baker III (AFPS)

Army Activates Network Warfare Unit

July 4, 2008

A new chapter for the Army began July 2, when the Army Network Warfare Battalion (Provisional) was activated during a ceremony at Fort George G. Meade, Md.

The battalion’s cyber mission will provide support to the Army and the Department of Defense. This support will include a variety of tasks, ranging from tactical support to Army Brigade Combat Teams in Iraq through strategic support to the other services, joint commanders, and interagency partners as required.

“We observe history this morning when this battalion activates. It is a first for INSCOM and a first for the Army,” said Maj. Gen. David Lacquement, commander, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. “This battalion formalizes and centralizes the Army’s mission to provide rapid, increasing support to forces worldwide and will lead the Army in providing a larger and more robust network warfare capability.”

The threats to America’s computer networks are real and significant. As part of approved military operations, the U.S. Army maintains capabilities to defend itself in cyberspace or any other domain, against terrorist groups or any adversary who seeks to harm our national security.

In the space of 15 years, networked information systems have become essential to organized human activity across much of the globe. These systems are integral to telecommunications, banking and finance, transportation and energy distribution, human services, government, and all levels of military operations. “Activation of this unit centralizes the U.S. Army’s existing computer network operations into a provisional battalion, which gains efficiencies. This unit will serve as core for Army network warfare activities that will expand and gain capacity in the coming years,” Lacquement said.

Members and guests of the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade watched two ceremonies this morning. The INSCOM commander presided over the activation ceremony for the new battalion, as well as the brigade’s change of command ceremony.

Lt. Col. Jen Easterly accepted command of the ANWB from the 704th MI Brigade commander, Col. George J. Franz. Easterly previously served as the director’s fellow for the director of the National Security Agency.

After the activation ceremony, Franz, the outgoing brigade Commander and a driving force behind the establishment of the new battalion, relinquished brigade command to Col. Robert Taylor. Taylor previously served as the director, School of Advanced Military Studies, Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


(Army News Service)

US Military to Patrol Internet

July 2, 2008

The U.S. military is looking for a contractor to patrol cyberspace, watching for warning signs of forthcoming terrorist attacks or other hostile activity on the Web.


“If someone wants to blow us up, we want to know about it,” Robert Hembrook, the deputy intelligence chief of the U.S. Army’s Fifth Signal Command in Mannheim, Germany, told United Press International.

In a solicitation posted on the Web last week, the command said it was looking for a contractor to provide “Internet awareness services” to support “force protection” — the term of art for the security of U.S. military installations and personnel.

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USAF Cyberwar Headquarters Staff To Operate Virtually

June 26, 2008
Air Force Cyber Command officials announced their intent to spread out headquarters staffing among nine locations so it can meet the 45 percent manning requirements needed for initial operations.”Normally, a major command headquarters will house all its staff functions at one place, but because the final basing decision for AFCYBER has not been determined, the command will operate in a virtual environment,” said Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, the commande of the AFCYBER (Provisional).

He said this action will allow some personnel to be assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. – the interim headquarters location for the command – and minimize relocation actions at the other places for the rest of the proposed 450-person HQ staff. Of the original 540 positions allocated for AFCYBER HQ staffing, about 90 of those positions were moved to man positions in the 24th Air Force and subordinate wings.

Thus the command will assign about 240 positions and fill them during the summer so it can declare initial operations capability by Oct. 1. It is not known at this time whether the rest of the 450 authorizations will also be assigned to the identified locations, or to new ones after that date, or be on hold until the final basing location is decided.

“We’ll be operating in this virtual construct until the final basing decisions are made, which is expected to be announced by September of 2009. At that time the Air Force may be decide to keep AFCYBER in this construct, relocate all its staff to one place or perhaps a combination of the two,” General Lord said.

“What this virtual command will do for us is minimize environmental impacts to all involved while be able to move forward in building this command. The virtual construct is not intended to foreclose or presuppose any options for permanent basing.”

During this process there are no new billets being created and there are no net increases in the number of people at these locations. Movements will result from a limited number of permanent change of sation actions, or, as in most cases, permanent change of assignments (same base but different organization) and through temporary duty assignments.

The numbers listed at the locations represent the authorizations being assigned as HQ staff at the time the command declares IOC.

The locations and proposed numbers for authorizations are:

Barksdale Air Force Base, La. – 36 billets. As the current location of the provisional command, the interim capability for the HQ staff will remain there until the final basing location is established. This will facilitate integrations with the Air Force Network Operations Center, a new 608th Air Operations Center and the command structure that provides forces to combatant commands.

Scott AFB, Ill. – 69. Many of the A1-manpower and personnel functions, as well as the A6-communications functions are currently being done by members assigned to the Air Force Communications Agency. Those authorizations will be recoded to support the headquarters functions.

Langley AFB, Va. – 58. Billet transfers will come from both the Air Combat Command and Global Cyberspace Integration Center. Much of the A5-plans and requirements and A8-strategic plans and programs functions for cyberspace already occur here.

Lackland AFB, Texas – 43. This is the location of the Air Force Information Operations Center and the 67th Network Warfare Wing. This will allow for the leveraging of the A2-intelligence and the A3-air, space and information operations capabilities.

Tinker AFB, Okla. – 5. The 3rd Combat Communications Group and the 38th Engineering and Installation Group are located here. Along with HQ, A3 and A6 functions, there will also be elements of A4-logistics that will work contracting issues for combat communications and engineering and installation requirements.

Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. – 20. D-M houses the 55th Electronic Combat Group. Interim capability for the new Electronic Warfare Wing headquarters will be established here to leverage the preponderance of EW forces gained by AFCYBER.

Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio – 13. This is where the most significant Air Force procurements are channeled as well as the leading Air Force Research and Development Center for cyberspace. The command will leverage its A4-logistics and A7-installations and mission-support functions here.

Hanscom AFB, Mass. – 7. This is the location for major research and development operations as well as the program office for a large number of communications and cyberspace initiatives.

Griffiss ANGB (Rome Labs), N.Y. – 2. Rome Labs currently conducts leading research for information operations and cyber warfare and these authorizations will take advantage of R&D efforts to advocate for the development of cyber capabilities.

Peterson AFB, Col. – 7 (tentative). Discussions are underway for achieving capabilities with space-related resources.

“Again, this represents the minimum capability required to activate the command and gain units,” said the general. “We must move forward to provide people the right chain of command, the right leadership and be able to meet the Air Force’s timeline on schedule.”



Karen Petitt (AFPN)