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Air Force leaders work to develop cyberspace roadmap

10/24/2008 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- Air Force leaders here continue to create a roadmap of the service's cyberspace mission while adjusting to a new organizational construct outlined by Air Force officials in October.

Officials from the Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional) team here and Air Force Space Command are moving forward with creating a roadmap for how the two organizations will jointly shape the Air Force cyberspace mission.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz announced Oct. 8 that there would no longer be a new major command developed for cyberspace operations. Instead Air Force officials would continue with standing up a component-numbered Air Force, which will focus on cyberspace warfighting operations. All other administrative, policy and organize-train-equip oversight now falls under Air Force Space Command.

The AFCYBER (P) team, led by Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, will stay formed so they can assist in developing this roadmap, which will outline the actions needed to transition the work done this past year over to Space Command. The provisional team will also assist with other tasks as needed until the new organizational construct is formalized.

"There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, so developing this roadmap is our first priority," General Lord said. "Once we have that approved, we can move forward, and we expect that to happen in the coming months if all goes well."

Along with developing the roadmap, the provisional team will be working with their space counterparts to update the Program Action Directive, which formally establishes and identifies the units that will be associated with the cyberspace missions, along with other key timeframes and decisional matters. The teams will also be looking at the manpower numbers since the creation of a nuclear major command may affect the numbers the cyber organizations can draw upon. They will also assist in the environmental process required to determine the location of the numbered Air Force and any subordinate wings or units as needed. No location, or interim location, has been determined at this time.

"We're not 'going back to the drawing board' as some have reported, because most of the decisions have already been made, but we do need to relook at the resources, the mission scope and refine and build upon that foundation," General Lord said.

He also said that organizing the numbered Air Force under Air Force Space Command makes sense because there are "great synergies in the cyber business and in the space domain. (Working together), we can become more effective: Air plus space plus cyber is greater than the sum of each of those in our opinion. This is where you can begin to get more of a one-to-one leverage.

"We have to ensure that Air Force systems are protected so that we can perform command and control functions and ensure we're available for the joint fight," General Lord said. "How we integrate these capabilities into the joint fight is paramount. The numbered Air Force will be focused on how we present cyberspace forces (in a way our) combatant commanders can use most effectively. Space Command then has the task of making sure we continue to provide the right training and that we have the right resources to fight the fight. We're moving forward in this effort together."

The Air Force Space Command, led by Gen. C. Robert "Bob" Kehler, has the monumental task of not only assisting in the effort to transition its nuclear mission capabilities to a new nuclear command but also take on the cyberspace mission.

"This is not an additional duty for us," General Kehler said. "We are in this 100 percent, and we will dedicate the manpower and resources needed to make this transition work. This is not just building a cyber numbered Air Force. This is establishing a robust cyberspace capability for our Air Force, and there won't be a huge difference in what was being presented originally -- cyber being its own command -- with what will be done under Air Force Space Command's umbrella.

"The charge to continue developing our cyber warriors is still moving forward, and we will see changes to career fields and training during the coming year," he said. "Our plans for training and education are still on track to be funded by next fiscal year. We will continue with the development of doctrine and policy that guide our actions as we participate in this arena. And, we will continue with the Air Force's vision of developing a premiere cyberspace capability."

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