April 18, 2012
Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that President Obama had nominated Marine Corps Lt. General Jon M. Davis to be the new deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), replacing Marine Lt. General Robert E. Schmiddle, Jr., who is moving on to become deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation.
Although his title will say Deputy Commander of CYBERCOM, in fact General Davis will be the de facto operational commander of the organization for the next two to three years. Cyber Command’s nominal chief, General Keith Alexander, is also the director of the massive National Security Agency (NSA), which understandably occupies about 80% of his time. This means that the job of actually running the ever growing U.S. Cyber Command is delegated to his deputy except for high-level policy matters.
Formally activated at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland on May 21, 2010, U.S. Cyber Command is responsible for all offensive and defensive operations in cyberspace. Most of its efforts are defensive in nature, trying to protect the computer and telecommunications systems of the U.S. government from cyber attacks from abroad. But its most secretive work is its offensive component, which is responsible for carrying out limited or full-scale cyber attacks or denial operations against foreign targets if so directed by the President of the United States.
U.S. Cyber Command inherited this offensive mission in 2010 from a small but very secretive unit called Joint Functional Component Command - Network Warfare (JFCC-NW), which had been activated without any publicity at Fort Meade in January 2005 to perform this highly sensitive function. Interesting to note that the new deputy commander of CYBERCOM, General Davis, formerly was the deputy commander of JFCC-NW from 2006 to 2008, so he knows a thing or two about cyber warfare. It was General Davis’ JFCC-NW that took down the entire communications network of the Iraqi insurgents in a coordinated cyber attack in the spring of 2007 just before General David Petraeus launched his successful Baghdad surge offensive. Shows that cyber war is not science fiction.
- matthewaid posted this