Offutt in running for Cyberspace Command
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — Offutt Air Force base is in the running for a new Air Force command that will match wits and bits with enemies in cyberspace.
How many jobs or how much money that might mean to the Omaha-area economy was unclear, especially given that cyber warriors can take aim from most anywhere the Internet is available.
In March, the commander of the Offutt-based U.S. Strategic Command told the Housed Armed Services Committee that the best defense against cyber attacks on U.S. military, civil and commercial networks is to go on the offensive.
"Cyberspace has emerged as a war fighting domain not unlike land, sea and air, and we are engaged in a less visible, but nonetheless critical battle against sophisticated cyberspace attacks," said the StratCom boss, Marine Gen. James Cartwright.
"Our adversaries seek to operate from behind technical, legal and international screens as they execute their costly attacks," he said.
On Nov. 3, the Air Force secretary announced formation of the new Cyberspace Command.
Secretary Michael Wynne said the new command would be part of the 8th Air Force and that its organization would spring from elements of the 67th Network Warfare Wing, which is based at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
Besides hosting StratCom, Offutt also is home to the 55th Wing — a component of the 8th Air Force.
The high-tech technical and human infrastructure required by StratCom and other Offutt units makes it attractive to potential cyber warriors.
"Offutt is the most logical, best location for this command because there’s so many of the high-tech capabilities they need already in place," said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., whose assignments include the Armed Services Committee.
Offutt’s likely competitors include the home of the 8th Air Force — Barksdale Air Force Base, near Bossier City, La., — and Lackland Air Force Base — in San Antonio — which hosts the 67th Network Warfare Wing.
"We’re building up speed toward the command, like you build up speed to get on the highway," said Tech. Sgt. Kristina Barrett, a spokeswoman for the 8th Air Force.
Officials in Bossier City, La., are planning a 58-acre, $100 million technology innovation center near Barksdale that could help serve the new cyber command.
A decision on the new unit’s headquarters was expected later this year
"Exercise Frontier Sentinel"
Military exercise aims to improve agencies' emergency co-operation
The USS Wasp is an amphibious assault vessel, similiar to one the Canadian military wants to buy. (Daily News/Andre Forget)
Improving collaboration sounds like more paperwork, but it means saving lives.Exercise Frontier Sentinel, coming up next week, will test the operational bonds between the Canadian Forces, various government agencies and American authorities. It's an experiment to spot any holes when it comes to working with other agencies and nations. After the exercise is analyzed, changes will be made to the rule books, some of which may require legislation.The Canadian costs of the exercise are estimated at $425,000, but the results will be priceless, according to a retired commodore."It's an extremely wise way to spend one's money," said Eric Lerhe, a military analyst.Sharing information is crucial and could have prevented several tragedies, he said. For instance, it was discovered there were 10 instances leading up to the terrorist attacks in 2001 where information wasn't shared."If they had shared data, they could well have stopped the attack," he said.It's the same story with the Air India bombing, he said.The scenario for the exercise is a "maritime-security event with a nexus on organized crime," said Capt. Bruce Belliveau, chief of staff operations for Joint Task Force Atlantic, during a news conference yesterday.Some time on June 24, an emergency call will be made from a ship off the coast of Nova Scotia and New England. There will be hostages taken, and the RCMP will be the first to respond, with the navy backing the agency up.It's a pretense that's pretty realistic, Belliveau said."It's one of many potential threats in the maritime environment. It is not based on a specific threat today, but it's one of the scenarios we've determined is a potential."But the hostage-taking scenario isn't what's important, Belliveau said."It's the collaboration and the ability for us to turn the whole of government to a problem, and provide the right level of assets to deal with any maritime security threat," he said.The Americans are contributing aircraft, but mostly they've offered the USS Wasp, an amphibious-assault vessel unlike anything in the Canadian fleet."We're looking at it as an asset we can use to push a security problem further off shore," said Cmdr. Richard Strayer, a Maritime Homeland Security officer."It is one of our objectives to use Wasp, a ship like that, in this capacity to see how well it functions."Canadians want a similar ship, but it has been bumped down on the priority list, said Belliveau.It's a complex exercise, but civilians won't be able to catch a glimpse because all the action will happen far off shore, he noted.
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