[ISN] Air Force Establishes 'Reduced' Cyber-War Command

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 00:38:55 -0500 (CDT)

By David Axe
Danger Room
August 18, 2009 

A year ago, the Air Force suspended its plans to set up a new "cyber 
command" for network defense and online warfare. The suspension came at 
a tumultuous time for the air service. Its two top officials had just 
been canned, botched airplane buys were under close scrutiny and Air 
Force nuke handlers were reeling from several potentially catastrophic 
gaffes. "It makes sense for new leadership to want to pause and 
evaluate," cyber-security specialist Richard Bejtlich said.

Things are calmer now. The Air Force has new leaders, new and more 
modest acquisition plans and tighter nuke controls. Amid the calm, and 
without much fanfare, the Air Force on Tuesday established a new, 
"greatly reduced" cyber-warfare organization, to borrow Gannett's 
description. The 24th Air Force, at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, 
"will provide combat-ready forces trained and equipped to conduct 
sustained cyber operations, fully integrated with air and space 

What does that mean? Setting up and protecting new, instant networks in 
war zones, for one. Plus defending existing Air Force networks from 
intrusion. If there's an offensive component to the 24th, the Air Force 
isn't saying.

The 24th will subsume two existing wings, and add one new one, so it 
mostly amounts to re-packaging old forces. "The largest advantage is 
focus," Gen. Robert Kehler, the top officer at Air Force Space Command, 
told Danger Room. Having a new umbrella organization for cyber-defense 
helps the Air Force "think differently about requirements and 


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