Cyber Command -- the new frontier

  • Published
  • By Col. David Thompson
  • 45th Operations Group commander
The Secretary of the Air Force announced Nov. 2 that 8th Air Force would become the Air Force's lead command for cyberspace. 

Command officials are now responsible for organizing, training and equipping the Air Force for cyberspace operations. This is an important next step in securing a new frontier, something at which the Air Force has always excelled.

Seventy years ago, Airmen developed doctrine that allowed us to fight and win the nation's wars in the air. Those Airmen of the 1930s prepared for a future they knew was coming, so they had the tools they needed when that moment arrived. It was the same 8th Air Force that led the way in the strategic bombing offensive in Europe, paving the way to victory in World War II.

Fifty years ago, the Air Force led the nation into space, developing the medium- and long-range missiles that protected the nation throughout the Cold War and allowed our country to lay claim to the "high ground" of space. Even today the Air Force delivers space effects that are unmatched on the battlefield. Space also provides vital civil services as well.

Now Air Force leaders are taking steps to exploit cyberspace, to secure it for our country's use and when directed, deny the same capability to our enemies. Every Air Force member is on the front line of that war. 

As much as we might complain about certain initiatives that limit one's ability to exploit our networks, these initiatives are steps we have to take to secure cyberspace. Even the administrative local area network has become a vital part of an efficient and effective fighting force, a tool we can't afford to lose. It has forced us to change some of our habits and the ways we've used computer systems in the past, but it's necessary to meet the threat.

"Air Force Cyber Command" will join the fight as we learn to fully secure and exploit the electromagnetic spectrum. It is a sign that the Air Force is still on the leading edge of technology.

These are important steps, because the threat is real, and as close as your desktop. Welcome to yet another battlefield of the twenty-first century.