The U.S Navy has joined the Air Force and Marines with the formation of a new command charged with overseeing cyberspace operations.
The new U.S. Fleet Cyber Command is responsible for “global Navy cyberspace operations designed to deter and defeat aggression and to ensure freedom of action to achieve military objectives in and through cyberspace," according to a Navy statement. The command also will be tasked with directing Navy cryptographic operations worldwide.
The command will be the Navy's “fighting arm and service component” to the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and will carry out operational missions assigned to the Navy, a USSTRATCOM spokesman told SCMagazineUS.com in an email Tuesday.
“The stand-up of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command will enhance our nation's war-fighting capabilities in the cyberdomain, a domain similar to land, sea, air and space — a domain that we depend upon and need to protect,” the spokesman said.
In addition, the U.S. 10th Fleet was recommissioned Friday to work alongside the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said in the statement.
The fleet was originally established in 1941 to lead anti-submarine warfare and was active during World War II, but was de-established in 1945, the Navy said. The command has a history of protecting American forces through the use of intelligence and information – a responsibility that will carry on today, Roughead said.
Together, the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and the U.S. 10th Fleet will “unify the Navy's ability to implement Department of Defense cyberspace policy and strategy, as well as increase our nation's ability to prevent and respond to cyberthreats,” the U.S. Strategic Command spokesman said.
Both the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and the U.S. 10th Fleet are based at Fort Meade in Maryland, where the Navy has existing warfare command infrastructure, communications support and personnel currently in place. Both will be commanded by Vice Adm. Bernard McCullough III
“To execute our defined mission we must be able to exercise command and control over our networks with dynamic, real-time defense and information assurance enabled by intelligence collection,” McCullough said.
McCullough added the command plans to work with other branches of the military, educational institutions, federal agencies, the private sector and other allies in its efforts.
“Cyberspace is a unique domain with a totally different set of challenges,” McCullough said. “To operate successfully in this newly defined domain, the Navy must first think differently about cyberspace operations. This world travels at the speed of light and requires real-time command and control. We must ensure seamless alignment and integration with fleet operations.”
Separately, the Air Force and Marines also previously established cybercommands. In addition, in June, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the establishment of a U.S. Cyber Command
to protect military networks and organize digital security efforts underway at the Pentagon. The U.S. Cyber Command, based in Fort Meade, Md., is expected to become fully operational by October.