The U.S. Navy is establishing new teams to run cyber operations and help defend Defense Department networks as a service extension of U.S. Cyber Command. These teams are part of a centralized defensive and offensive cyber capability that is beginning to take shape within the Defense Department, said Kevin Cooley, command information officer for the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.
Speaking at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th annual Naval IT Day, Cooley explained that the Navy is standing up 40 cyber national mission teams totaling some 2,000 personnel. All the teams will be up by the end of fiscal year 2016. These teams will function as units based on mission orders from the U.S. Cyber Command, Cooley said.
The Navy teams will provide U.S. commanders with additional cyber resources to use during operations. Cooley noted that many of the information technology and communications capabilities created over the past 20 years have given the Defense Department a major advantage operationally. Potential adversary nations have been working for some time to copy these capabilities for themselves. But, those systems have weaknesses that can be exploited. “We spend a lot of time dealing with how to capitalize dealing with those vulnerabilities so that we can provide our commanders with a robust set of kinetic and non-kinetic options, should that need arise,” he said.
It also is likely many nations and smart individuals around the world are putting similar efforts into exploiting U.S. network weaknesses. “They’re smart, they have a lot of money and they are very motivated,” Cooley said. This is both a problem and an opportunity of national importance, he added.