Intel and Ops Come Together in 24th AF

Air Force Space Command is making progress on defining what direction it will take with its nascent cyber efforts and that direction may well include closer ties with the Intelligence Community, Gen. Robert Kehler, AFSPC boss, told a Capitol Hill seminar Tuesday. Speaking of embracing the service’s cyber efforts, including standup of the 24th Air Force, Kehler said: “We have bitten off something that we have started to chew. I think we can chew it.” He explained that part of the difficulty of grappling with cyber war is that no one “really understands” yet is the apportionment of the nation’s cyber effort. In effect, he said, who should be doing what. The very nature of cyberspace with its national security, economic, and private elements makes it, for instance, “difficult to separate traditional intelligence from traditional operations,” he said. He expects to have IC personnel attached to 24th AF when it stands up. “We’re going to put them in the unit, and they’re going to be sitting in there with the appropriate authorities to conduct intelligence-related activities at the same time that we conduct operational activities,” Kehler said. The Air Force wants to locate the 24th AF headquarters at Lackland AFB, Tex., and expects to finalize that selection later this summer. Kehler also noted that organizational decisions that might shift units, like the recent moves of the Air Force Communications Agency and Air Force Frequency Agency, under AFSPC’s umbrella or create an alignment of some sort between 24th AF with the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, should be made by the fall.