Building the Cyber Force

The Defense Department is about halfway to the goal of fielding a ready force of 133 teams of cyber specialists by the end of Fiscal 2016 to protect the US military’s information network and support US combatant commanders worldwide, said Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, US Cyber Command’s deputy commander. This cyber mission force, spanning the services, represents “a significant way of bringing capacity and capability to bear in our ability to defend the United States and to accomplish the Department of Defense missions in cyberspace,” McLaughlin told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee’s emerging threats and capabilities panel on April 14. The Air Force already has 17 of its teams available, with two fully operational and the other 15 having achieved initial operational status, said Maj. Gen. Burke Wilson, head of 24th Air Force, the service’s cyber operations arm, at the same oversight hearing. “In addition to providing unprecedented support to joint coalition combat forces in Afghanistan and Syria, these cyber forces are engaged in support to combatant commanders and Air Force commanders around the world as well as defense of the nation,” he said. (Wilson’s prepared testimony)