On Pause, but Not Abandoning

The Air Force said yesterday, in response to rampant rumors, that it is not abandoning plans to establish a major command to lead its activities in the cyber realm. Rather it is taking a pause “to make a fresh assessment” and allow the new leadership time to plot the best path forward. “This pause does not imply any decision,” said USAF spokesman Ed Gulick. Instead, Gulick said, “The Air Force remains committed to providing full-spectrum cyber capabilities to include global command and control, electronic warfare, and network defense.” He added, “The Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force have considered delaying currently planned actions on Air Force Cyber Command to allow ample time for a comprehensive assessment of all AFCYBER requirements and to synchronize the AFCYBER mission with other key Air Force initiatives.” Acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said during a Pentagon press briefing on Aug. 12 that the service is taking a closer look at the planned start of initial Cyber Command operations on Oct. 1. “We’re looking at that more closely to understand … what that means and all the administrative actions that are supposed to being trained to make that happen,” Donley said. AFCYBER, he said, will go forward. “The issue,” he continued, “is in what context … and what form and in what national framework. This is not just Air Force. It has to fit with [US] Strategic Command, has to fit with the broader national security community. And we’re going to look at making sure that all those pieces fit together as we proceed.”