Improving Cyber Command and Control

Enormous resources are pouring into the Department of Defense to improve cyber capabilities, but the boom must come with proper attention to command and control of such capabilities, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security. CNAS Senior Fellow Ben Fitzgerald and Air Force Fellow Lt. Col. Parker Wright argue the rapid growth of new cyber organizations raises the danger of duplicative capabilities or not being able to deploy and manage these capabilities effectively. Strong focus on theater-level command and control of cyber capabilities will help mature these tools in a “strategically coherent manner,” states the report, released April 24. The Department of Defense has to find a balance between centralizing cyber capability at US Cyber Command and pushing command and control to the combatant commands. CYBERCOM also must establish a construct that fulfills both individual service needs, oversees and manages operations around the world, and guarantees access to combatant commanders. Among their recommendations, the authors say CYBERCOM should delegate operational control of theater cyber forces to COCOMs, and COCOMs should set up joint functional cyber component commands to assure unity of effort.