Developing Cyber Weapon Systems

Orlando, Fla. The Air Force’s cyber warriors must normalize cyber capabilities in the same way USAF has other weapons systems in other domains, Air Force Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton said Friday during AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium here. As of today, seven of USAF’s cyber capabilities have been declared official “weapons systems,” Shelton said. “If that catches you off guard, it’s just that as the Air Force invests and maintains and sustains systems, we are using the weapons system framework to sustain cyber capabilities.” These include systems such as the Cyberspace Defense Analysis System, the Vulnerability Assessment System, and “offensive cyber capabilities,” which are still in development for use by joint force commanders, noted Shelton. US Cyber Command recently set up a “cyber mission force concept,” Shelton added, and USAF will contribute some 2,200 airmen in a total of 39 teams to this effort over the next three years. The teams include national mission teams that will focus on strategic cyber defense; combat mission teams tasked with supporting combatant commanders; and cyber protection teams to provide mission assurance activities. “We have tremendous opportunity ahead, but it will require us to rethink how we do business in cyber space,” Shelton added.