“True cyber security is preparing for what’s next, not what was last.”
– Neil Rerup
Located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, 24th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) is the Air Force’s cyberspace warfare operations. They establish, operate, maintain and defend the Air Force networks for their military forces worldwide.
Along with their brethren of the Army, Navy and Marines, they uphold their Mission, “American Airmen delivering full-spectrum, global cyberspace capabilities and outcomes for our service, the joint force and our nation:”
- S. Army Cyber Command
- S. Fleet Cyber Command
- Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command
Established on August 11, 2009, and activated on August 18 of the same year, they are divided into three separate, yet intertwined parts. Their Roles and Responsibilities are:
- 24th Air Force: the commander reports directly to the commander of Air Force Space Command and is responsible within the Air Force for organizing, training, and equipping ready cyber forces and capabilities in support of joint, coalition and service missions. 24th Air Force also serves as the Cyber Security Service Provider for the Air Force Network (AFNET) and Air Force Network -Secure (AFNET-S), and other designated cyber terrain.
- Air Forces Cyber: the commander presents and employs Air Force cyber forces to support U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) for the planning and execution of full-spectrum cyberspace operations across the Air Force Information Network (AFIN), portions of the DoD Information Network (DoDIN), and other cyber key terrain as directed.
- Joint Force Headquarters: the commander is entrusted with leading forces in the planning and, upon the order of the President and/or the Secretary of Defense, the execution of offensive cyberspace operations in support of Combatant Commanders.
These Roles and Responsibilites allow the Air Force to follow through on their six Lines of Effort, extending their capabilities to the tactical cyber edge of today’s modern battlefield, as well as work toward whatever the cyber future holds:
- Build: The Build line of effort focuses on building the AFIN and related Cyber Capabilities.
- Operate: The Operate line of effort will focus on fostering a dynamic, resilient, responsive cyber environment, thus enabling Air Force and Joint missions.
- Secure: The Secure line of effort focuses on the establishment of an acceptable level of information confidentiality, integrity, and availability for the Air Force cyber terrain, creating a sustainable and repeatable cyber security posture across the AFIN.
- Defend: The Defend line of effort focuses on the ability to proactively protect the cyber key terrain from adversary attempts to achieve desired effects.
- Extend: To expand network capabilities in support of operational requirements.
- Engage: To conduct multi-domain integrated cyberspace operations to achieve desired effects against an adversary throughout all aspects cyberspace.
These Line of Effort allow the Air Force to synchronize their actions across cyberspace and to execute and accomplish their Command-Wide Priorities:
- Employ Multi-Domain and Integrated Cyberspace Capabilities in support of Combatant and Air Force Component Commanders
- Develop and Empower Our Airmen and Take Care of Their Families
- Lead Through Teamwork and Partnerships
- Inculcate a Strong Warfighting Culture into Cyberspace Operations
- Equip the Force through Rapid, Innovative Fielding of Cyber Capabilities
With the hard work and dedication of their cyber forces, the Air Force continuously strives to meet and exceed their Vision: The world’s preeminent cyber force, powered by Airmen … fueled by innovation.