Inside the Cyber Command Turf Battle


Reports by the Associated Press who obtained a memo on the subject said this week the Pentagon delayed and may even kill the Air Force’s planned Cyberspace Command. Why exactly is up for speculation, but according to one insider who absolutely did not want to be identified - “It’s a dollar Grab”.

The insider went on to say that “with an estimated $30 billion being spent on cyber capabilities, who can blame them?”

As I tally it, the Army, Air Force, CIA, NSA, DIA, DHS, StratCom and two unidentified black-ops units have already begun developing cyber warfare capabilities. Anyone with an ounce of sense would not want to get in the middle of that group! The Pentagon has to be thinking it would be better to have one unified cyber command rather than all these dispirit efforts.

Cyber warfare is a highly desirable command area — it is new, it’s exciting, it’s a real threat and arguably the hottest topic in military circles. Multiple security experts, including myself, have warned that significant and very special resources and expertise are required to execute the core elements of the Bush administration’s cyber security plan.

Earlier this year I wrote an article titled “The Department of Cyber Defense” that was published by International Intelligence Magazine. It looked at this exact issue. The article was based on rumors back then that the Executive Branch was considering establishing a new department and cabinet level appointment responsible for our country’s cyber offensive and defensive capabilities. By establishing a new department and cabinet level position, one entity can focus on developing cyber warfare technologies needed to support both defense and civilian agencies.

Remember we even created a new patch for the organization.

Richard Clarke has warned how significant a threat cyber attacks pose to the United States and our allies. Turf battles and infighting are slowing the United States’ efforts to mitigate this threat and develop the necessary offensive cyber warfare capabilities. We cannot and should not tolerate the inaction and lack of progress this squabbling is causing.

— Kevin Coleman

  • Edward Liu

    After clicking through to the Cyber Warfare organization patch and reading the comments that followed, can the first hard target this group goes after be comment spammers with a tenuous grasp of English spouting their swindle garbage everywhere?
    Either that, or they should get recruited and deployed. Imagine the devastating effect that Nigerian spammers and gold swindlers will have when deployed in force against the cyber-infrastructure of the enemy.

  • John


  • G

    Great, another department… add more to the already complex bureaucracy, why don’cha?

  • Trial Lawyer

    Hey guys, this is all well and good but there are more pressing needs right now. Like for instance, my Nigerian niece is sick and will die without help from our American friends. Any financial assistance you can provide is appreciated. If you help my niece and I, I’ll mail, free of charge, growth/enlargement pills and herbal supplements.

  • Crister

    I agree with Ed, except with an addition: we should recruit ALL available spammers and focus their attention on the aggressor of choice. What a denial of service attack that would be!
    LOL @ trial lawyer’s comment!

  • Crister

    Getting serious though, James is right on target here - except, of course, for the Department of Homeland Security part. It would be good to have professionals handle this, not a bunch of wanna be amateurs.

  • Hammer6

    How can the USAF lay claim to a new “domain” of warfare when the service can’t handle its own issues (KC-X, nuclear security)? The service needs to focus on fleet recapitalization and prepare for the future in the domains for which it is now responsible. Cyber seems too multidisciplinary - and too important - to leave to the whims of one military service.

  • Joe

    I think the Military Branch with the smartest Military men and Woman should be assigned.

  • Apul

    I read all the cyber warfare pieces on here plus the one Kevin wrote on Obama’s Cyber Defense Strategy and I have a question for Kevin. Are you the one he is going to appoint to head up our cyber defenses? I am not joking -I am serious - are you?

  • Bambooviper

    Nothing but up the budget and the tax payer you know what.

  • lime

    Cyber is not strictly a USAF domain; however, USAF is the first service with the insight to elevate it to command level. A lot of the sniping against Cyber Command comes from the fact some of the other services-and even some USAF persons-don’t like the attention the Air Force has given cyber at its highest levels…while they ignored it.
    It’s a big deal; bigger than most outside cyber really know. Cyber is where each individual military member who uses a computer is an operator, and cyberspace is where each individual military member who uses a computer is vulnerable to attack. Unlike operators in other domains, these operators have little training and little understanding of the cyber domain.
    As for the other services and DoD rallying against Cyber Command; its like my dad said about crabs in a pot. When one is about to escape; the others will pull it back down…so no one escapes. The same concept applies here.

  • focusonthis

    The problem (imo) is that everyone is focused on the war on terror. If you look at it long enough your going to find that there is no winning this battle. The problem with terrorism is so widely classified and so hard to put a face to that we will find ourselves fighting anyone and everyone. We NEED to focus on Cyber Warfare. We NEED to focus on improving this new battlespace and our position in its struggle. If we dont look into it now, then in 10 years when some other government is richer and more powerful, we will find ourselves lacking in the new war fronts.
    War has been waging for thousands of years in the Middle East, what makes you think our goals are any different from the goals of the last major powers fighting over there.

  • Andy

    Unified Command is just that-unifying the Service Cyber Centers, so it is not about not having Service Cyber Commands-its about ensuring unity of effort and effectiveness.
    Please note the US Navy established the Naval Network Warfare Command in July of 2002 and has been evolving it since to master cyberspace, space information Operations and the physical layer on which it depends-and ts Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command preceded them all.
    Its not about who is first or who is in charge it is about getting it right-we should not ceded anything to nation states, miscreants or criminals in cyber or any other domain.

  • anthony

    I think that they should have harscher penalties for persons that break in computer”hacking”punish them first by there own country then a sort of internatiol court.It seems at this moment people are still aloud to “hack”thats like breaking in myhouse and private bank..

  • anthony

    I think that they should have harscher penalties for persons that break in computer”hacking”punish them first by there own country then a sort of internatiol court.It seems at this moment people are still aloud to “hack”thats like breaking in myhouse and private bank..

  • Brian H

    There are many dangers in the cyber world. For example, malorthographers like anthony. You want “harscher”, anthony? How about a year of mandatory remedial spelling education for a first offense of distributing erroneous letter sequences, and capital punishment for the second. Harsh enough for you?

  • reshtet

    All I see here is labels not capabilities as Americans…My military service was wrecked by it!
    Agency this Commando that…

  • reshtet

    HaHAHA!I saw a new version of BUD/s class 234,and
    it’s a lie!Mr.Legg broke his leg during HELLWEEK,
    but they literally showed him in the other phases
    anyhow??? And he even graduated with 234,according
    to the camerman??? But I read he graduated eventually with another class,after healing and than saw a picture of him before he came down with
    cancer…If that isn’t a wrong media what is???
    Wrong is wrong!!!Right is right!!!

  • reshtet

    The Navy will never master cyber/info spaces!!!
    It’s a job,not their lives…ANything that isn’t
    personal cannot be mastered!

  • reshtet

    Please find the algorthm and move on!Its that plain and needed.

  • reshtet

    Please find the algorthm and move on!Its that plain and needed.