And the Air Force recently created the Cyberspace,
Global Strike and Network Operations Command,
which will be capable of offensive missions to stop military or government operations without dropping bombs.
Granger said the new Air Force command “was
completely modeled after the Navy cyber warfare command. They spent a lot of time with us, looking at how
we’re structured, and … essentially adapted that same
The military operates a separate Internet for classified
and sensitive information, which is secured by rigid fire-walls and encryption to reduce the danger of an attack.
But while the more sensitive information is protected by the classified networks, Granger said “the
unclassified networks carry valuable things as well. …
A majority of your logistic functions are all run over
the unclassified networks.”
Most of the material going to Iraq and the Central
Command area moves by commercial carriers, he said.
Those shipments are managed over the public networks.
“Our unclassified networks have significant importance to the military,” Granger said, and they are more
vulnerable to attack because they are more accessible
by the general Internet population.
Although “there certainly would be impacts” on Navy
operations of an attack on the national networks, like the
one that hit Estonia, Granger said combat operations and
similar activities are run on the more secure networks.
“It would not shut down the Navy’s ability to defend
the country or, for that matter, DoD’s [ability],” he said.
Protection of the networks is a
cooperative effort involving more
than just the military.
“When something happens here,
it’s immediately shared with everyone, because a risk to one is a risk
to all,” Granger said. A hacker “may
be using you to attack someone
else. We’ve had Navy computers
being used to attack Air Force computers, Army computers attacking
The command has law enforcement agents co-located with it and
can work with the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service, the FBI and
even foreign law enforcement, if
required, to respond to an attack.
President George W. Bush has
given the Department of Homeland
Security the responsibility for protecting the government’s civilian
House Homeland Security
emerging threats, cybersecurity, and science and technology subcommittee chairman James Langevin, D-R.I., and ranking member, Michael McCaul, R-Texas,
recently announced the creation of a commission to
study and make recommendations on how the next
administration can improve cyber security and avoid
what they called a “digital Pearl Harbor.”
And the Network Centric Operations Industry
Consortium (NCOIC) — an organization formed by the
commercial network users and providers — is conducting a similar study for Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
The NCOIC study is led by retired Rear Adm.
Robert C. “Willie” Williamson, a former Navy fighter
pilot and now a Raytheon vice president.
Williamson noted that in today’s combat “the network has become as essential as the bullets that are
fired. What NCOIC is trying to do is to make sure the
good people of the world have an advantage over the
NCOIC has established a number of “integrated
project teams,” which may have as many as 800 engineers working on information assurance and network
reliability, Williamson said. They also are coordinating
with NATO’s cyber defense organization.
They intend to present their findings and recommendations directly to Gates, probably by the end of
the year, Williamson said.
“I believe if we can come up with a better network,
the good guy’s network, that will advantage everyone,”
he said. ■
U.S. AIR FORCE
Capt. Jason Simmons and Staff Sgt. Clinton Tips update antivirus software
for Air Force units at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The activity is in support
of the new Cyberspace, Global Strike and Network Operations Command,
which is modeled after the Navy’s cyber warfare command.