Risk
8/13/2008
05:57 PM
50%
50%

Air Force Suspends 'Cyber Command' Program

The delay in the program does not necessarily mean the Cyber Command at Barksdale Air Force Base will not be created, but that could be one option, officials said.


Inside The U.S. Air Force's Server Room

Inside the U.S. Air Force's server room
(click for larger image)

Putting on hold a major cyberwarfare initiative less than two months before it was scheduled to become operational, the Pentagon this week said it is delaying and reviewing the future of the Air Force's controversial "Cyber Command" program.

The move was originally reported Monday on the Nextgov Web site, which quoted an internal Air Force e-mail as saying "Transfers of manpower and resources, including activation and reassignment of units, shall be halted."

A Pentagon spokesman, Ed Gulick, confirmed the hiatus in a telephone interview with InformationWeek.

Noting that the Secretary of the Air Force and the newly appointed Chief of Staff, Norton Schwartz, have several "key issues and initiatives" to review, Gulick said, "We are taking a pause on standing up the command so we can insure we're going about it the right way."

The delay in the program does not necessarily mean the Cyber Command will not be created, Gulick added, but "that could be one option."

Provisionally created last year to coordinate and initiate the defense of U.S. military computer networks and to launch offensive attacks on enemy IT systems, the Cyber Command has been based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The command's Web site says its mission is "To secure our nation by employing world-class cyberspace capabilities to control cyberspace, create integrated global effects, and deliver sovereign options."

The Army, Navy, and Air Force have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the leadership role in the U.S. military's cyberwarfare initiatives. The Navy has created both the Network Warfare Command and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center to develop technology and policies for confronting adversaries in cyberspace.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has also announced plans to develop a "National Cyber Range," a virtual network environment for cyberwar simulation.

In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hosted Cyber Storm II, a networking war game involving about 40 private-sector companies including Cisco, Juniper Networks, and Dow Chemical. The exercise came shortly after the Pentagon reported that China's People's Liberation Army was intent on expanding its capabilities for cyberwarfare.

Reports from the Caucasus indicate that the Russian began its assault on neighboring Georgia with a cyberattack intended to disable the smaller country's computer networks.

"A cyber warfare campaign by Russia is seriously disrupting many Georgian websites, including that of the Foreign Affairs Ministry," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement quoted in a Reuters report.

The stand-down of the Cyber Command comes at a difficult time for the Air Force. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June demanded the resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, because of the mishandling of nuclear weapons. In August 2007, USAF B-52 bomber mistakenly carrying five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, to the air base at Barksdale.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7444
Published: 2015-09-01
The Special:Contributions page in MediaWiki before 1.22.0 allows remote attackers to determine if an IP is autoblocked via the "Change block" text.

CVE-2015-2807
Published: 2015-09-01
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in js/window.php in the Navis DocumentCloud plugin before 0.1.1 for WordPress allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the wpbase parameter.

CVE-2015-6520
Published: 2015-09-01
IPPUSBXD before 1.22 listens on all interfaces, which allows remote attackers to obtain access to USB connected printers via a direct request.

CVE-2015-6727
Published: 2015-09-01
The Special:DeletedContributions page in MediaWiki before 1.23.10, 1.24.x before 1.24.3, and 1.25.x before 1.25.2 allows remote attackers to determine if an IP is autoblocked via the "Change block" text.

CVE-2015-6728
Published: 2015-09-01
The ApiBase::getWatchlistUser function in MediaWiki before 1.23.10, 1.24.x before 1.24.3, and 1.25.x before 1.25.2 does not perform token comparison in constant time, which allows remote attackers to guess the watchlist token and bypass CSRF protection via a timing attack.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.