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Basla Discusses Cyber

04/11/2011

Basla Discusses CyberCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Apr. 11, 2011) -- Air Force Space Command's second-in-command said the Air Force is working to build cyberspace from an organizational, equipment and training perspective to provide access to and use of the cyberspace domain to the joint warfighter. 

Speaking at the Space Foundation's Cyber 1.1 event today in Colorado Springs, Lt. Gen. Michael J. Basla, USAF, vice commander, Air Force Space Command said that last year, the Air Force established an organizational basis when it established the 24th Air Force, later designated AFCYBER. He cited accomplishments:

  • On an educational level: graduation of the first cyber undergrads, 200, 300 level professionals.
  • On an operational level: the 689th Combat Communications Wing has already deployed a warfighter support capability, establishing secure communications at four bare bases in hostile areas.

Basla said that the cyberspace domain is unique when compared to the other operational domains of the Air Force, air and space.  Basla said that the air and space domains are governed by immutable and unchanging laws of physics, while the nature of the cyberspace domain changes regularly as a product of human ingenuity. He explained that the continual evolution of the cyberspace domain makes constant evolution of situational awareness capability both a top priority and a uniquely difficult task. Additionally, he explained there needs to be understanding that spectrum is a limited natural resource that links different operational domains and different activities, from sensors to command and decision making.

Basla outlined the three elements to the USAF approach to defense in cyberspace:

  • Stability in processes and people -- not technology. He said technology moves too quickly and too aggressively to rely on technological dominance as the primary means to maintain dominance.
  • Human capital including development of a fundamental underlying conceptual understanding of cyberspace, in the same way that the entire Air Force is conversant in air power doctrine. He said continual education is a critical element to this process, as well as effective utilization of Guard and Reserve components to take advantage of private sector expertise.
  • Cooperative efforts through stable partnerships with industry, as the leaders in cyber innovation. However, it is critical that an emphasis is placed on interoperability and embedded security of the products developed, Basla explained.
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