In today’s Boston Sunday Globe, I laid out my reasoning for a dedicated US Cyber Force. Here’s an excerpt from my OpEd:

If we think of cyber as we did of aviation a little more than 100 years ago, we are just now on the beach at Kitty Hawk. In the cyber world, we have much yet to finalize. While some nascent structures and norms exists, we do not have functional equivalents for: precisely developed and institutionalized norms for air traffic control; airports operating under national and international regulation; well-defined international civil aviation routes; methods and means for military uses of air power; a civilian Federal Aviation Authority with broad jurisdiction and powers; or a Transportation Security Administration.

And just as the United States realized the need for a professional military cadre to operate in the air — the US Air Force — it should now consider the need for military professionals to serve and defend in the cyber world with the creation of a US Cyber Force.

Consider the history of the creation of the Air Force. During and after the First World War, both the Navy and the Army explored the use of aviation assets for reconnaissance, surveillance, and ultimately for offensive attack operations. In the interwar period, a series of experiments demonstrated the capability of air attack, notably against large, slow US Navy capital ships. Throughout the Second World War, the use of long-range bombers, tactical fighter aircraft, over-land and over-water surveillance, troop transport and insertion, and many other aviation missions came to the fore.

As aviation operations became more specific and needed expert execution, proponents of a separate service built a coherent case. Over the objections of the Army in particular, the old Army Air Corps was transformed into a separate US Air Force in 1947, about 40 years after Kitty Hawk.

Read the entire article here.

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One Response to Why the United States Needs a US Cyber Force

  1. Charlie Flores, Col, USAFR says:

    Bravo Zulu sir, you delivered the first salvo on what should be debated nationally by our leaders. Some of my cyber ops colleagues have made similar observations. Hopefully we will not go through what another Airman, BG Billy Mitchell, experienced nearly 100 years ago for his observations concerning an independent air service.

    We do not have the luxury to marginalize this force as a second or third tier capability below the primary mission of the different Services. It is precisely because of our investments in independent services that today we have forces capable of land, sea and air superiority.

    Further, just about every system depends on cyberspace, i.e. Its development efforts. From a simple toaster to cars to the most sophisticated weapons in the world; all are designed through networked engineering teams, utilizing software development tools and getting guidance and direction from emails to video teleconferences. Therefore, as you observed, without an independent cyberspace service, how can we ensure focused industrial development in systems that are properly financed and designed to fight and survive through cyberspace?

    There is no surprise why our potential adversaries are investing so much in this domain. Worst, today even so-called third world countries could have a cyber capability against us.

    In this domain, as I tell my friends, the effort is not denial of service in the traditional sense. The effort is to make things happen such that you can’t tell what is fact or what is fabricated. Lest we forget that “splendid little war” that made me third generation American. Remember the Main!