By Peter Buxbaum
April 5, 2007
The Army may follow the Air Forces lead in setting up a cyber command.
Cyber war is emerging as just as important as kinetic war, some say more
important, said Vernon Bettencourt, the Armys deputy chief information
officer at the recent AFCEA Belvoir chapter/Program Executive Office
Enterprise Information Systems industry day in Bethesda, Md.
We are looking at what the Air Force has done and we keep asking
ourselves, Are there any ideas the Army should be adopting?? Bettencourt
The Air Force announced it would create a cyber command last November
that would be located at the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base,
La. The service named Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, commander of the 8th Air
Force, as the commands first chief. The command is scheduled to begin
operations in May and be fully operational by October 2009.
Bettencourt said the establishment of the Air Force entity represented a
restatement of that services mission.
The Air Force did not just create a new command, he said. The Air Force
changed its mission statement to say that it fights in three domains:
air, space and cyberspace. A development like that is worthy of our
To that end, a high-level Army delegation recently visited the Air Force
They have amalgamated some capabilities together, Bettencourt said. They
have consolidated network operations and defense on a global basis.
He added that the Army already has done some of the same by co-locating
parts of its Information Operations Command, its computer emergency
response teams and its Network Enterprise Technology Command together at
Fort Belvoir, Va.
Bettencourt also said the Army is leading the fleet in the use of common
It is an important part in defending our huge network, he said. In the
very near future, we wont be using passwords anymore.
Col. Tom Hogan, the infrastructure deputy program director of PEO-EIS,
said there was at least one exception to that rule.
We will continue to honor passwords for retirees, Hogan said. We will
maintain a way to get into system for all those dont get CAC cards.
Bettencourt went on to admonish the defense industry audience not to
offer equipment or software to the Army that is not CAC-enabled.
Another Army priority that has emerged is the encryption of data at
rest, especially because it has been distributing more laptop computers.
As a result, were having more computers stolen and lost, Bettencourt
said. We have issued a policy requiring that any computer taken out of
the office must be labeled as authorized for travel and that its data
must be encrypted. Even if the machine is CAC-enabled so a thief cant
pull out the hard drive and read all of its data if it is lost or
Bettencourt said the ultimate decision to stand up an Army Cyber Command
will come down to how to best provide cyber capabilities to warfighters.
We are assessing what it means from a command perspective, he said. How
do we take information operations capabilities and organization and
provide them the combatant or joint force commander?
Buxbaum is a freelancer writer in Bethesda, Md.
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