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Secretary Wynne speaks at cyber symposium

by Monica D. Morales
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

6/19/2008 - MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (AFPN) -- While the Air Force has made great strides in cyberspace during the last three years, it remains an arena that will require the continued efforts and innovation of all Airmen and warfighters, said Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne to attendees at the second Air Force Cyberspace Symposium June 18.

"Now it is up to you to determine if this mission succeeds or fails," he said. "We need to build (cyber) confidence and capabilities just as we would in any other domain."

The secretary's speech was the opening key-note address in the three-day conference themed 'Equipping the Cyber Warrior to Fight in Cyberspace.' The symposium, co-sponsored by Electronic Systems Center, Air Force Cyberspace Command (Provisional) and the Paul Revere Chapter of the Air Force Association, focuses on the Air Force's efforts to develop offensive and defensive cyberspace capabilities.

There's little question that the American face of war is changing because of cyberspace, Secretary Wynne said, and its effects are far reaching. The combination of new technology investments and organizing constructs across a netcentric operation, for example, have resulted from cyberspace's re-defining relationships with coalition partners.

And while the concept of cyberspace has, at times, met a reluctant defense establishment, the secretary said that continued work and the symposium itself represented a historic shift in how cyberspace is viewed.

"Frankly, these efforts are about to bear tremendous fruit," Secretary Wynne said.

This is reflected in Air Force Cyberspace Command publishing its strategic vision in March and the completion of its concept of operations. Similarly, the first versions of cyber doctrine have now been written, and cyber capabilities have now been incorporated into Air Force exercises.

With the structuring of the provisional Air Force Cyberspace Command underway, the secretary said that a number of important points must be considered. Foremost among them is ensuring that innovation keeps pace with the rapid changes of cyber technology.

"As you go about the matter of structuring the organization and culture of this new command, keep in mind that innovation has to be the top goal," Secretary Wynne said. "Your organization has to be incredibly agile, more agile than any existing organization in the Department of Defense."

The secretary also said that Airmen's strong partnerships with industry will be important in forging new cyber capabilities. It's also an area, he said, that will require the focus of the total force to include the Guard and Reserve, and, taken a step further, an operating environment free of stovepipes that reaches across the government and the coalition.

He added that his hopes are to see a command in which Airmen are "thought of as premier providers of cyber war capabilities across the joint force and agencies" and whose work would allow joint force component commanders to fully integrate the service's cyber capabilities into the joint and coalition force.

"We must start on the road that allows us to organize, train and equip our cyber forces as robustly as our air and space forces. ... When we are done, no adversary will be able to engage the United States in cyberspace with any expectation of victory," he said.

And while the utility of cyberspace may not have initially been clear to commanders, he said, there's little question now of how these capabilities can vastly improve the ability to fight and win wars.

"Fortunately we live in the greatest country on earth, a country that has surprised the world with its willingness to change and innovate," Secretary Wynne said. "It is my firm conviction that with your help, they will come to see the immense importance of cyberspace. You all are the leading edge."

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