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U.S. Navy Establishes Cyber Fleet

January 29, 2010

Although the U.S. Navy has been in the cyber arena for many years, today the service officially moved into the operational cyber domain as Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, USN, took command of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. At the commissioning/re-commissioning of this new command and revitalized fleet, Adm. McCullough officially became the Navy's primary connection with the other armed services and joint community as well as the Navy's leader in the cyber operational and tactical realm. Prior to the Commissioning Orders and Assumption of Command ceremony, CNO Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, explained the significance of the recommissioning of the 10th Fleet. The fleet was created in World War II to address a new threat in the Atlantic Ocean: submarines. In 1945, it was decommissioned but is now being revived to address the newest battleground: cyberspace. As in the initial 10th Fleet, today's organization will depend on information and intelligence rather than firepower, Adm. Roughead said. Current dependence on communications systems that move at digital speed and attacks that occur in milliseconds makes protection in minutes laughable, he added. Special operators are and will continue to be trained for cyberspace missions. It is now time to recognize the nation's future and to rethink how it operates and staffs the U.S. Navy, Adm. Roughead stated. The command must move from a reactive to a predictive stance, he noted. Adm. McCullough's first message as the commander of Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet was one of righteous and realistic ambition. Cyberspace experts must be able to make a real-time, dynamic difference in the virtual world, he said. When called upon, the command and fleet must be able to provide nonkinetic effects to commanders. "We have to be ready," he said. In cyberspace, the Navy faces a different set of challenges and operations that require a competitive advantage. "The cyber domain's nuances have yet to be discovered," Adm. McCullough stated. The command and fleet will develop nonkinetic effects that also have yet to be discovered or even imagined, he added. After the ceremony, Adm. McCullough stayed around to answer a few questions from the press. To a question about his priorities, the admiral said that personnel, visiting the commanders under his command worldwide, obtaining the right tools and graphic displays for situational awareness, and finding the best tool sets to deal with information overload are among his top priorities. The Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet is headquartered at the NSA on Fort Meade; when it reaches full operational capability, it will direct more than 14,000 cyber professionals worldwide.


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