US Cyber Command

The Secretary of Defense directed the establishment of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) in June, 2009, and it was established at Ft. Meade on May 21, 2010 under the direction of General Keith Alexander, also the Director of NSA. The command is charged with pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that did not previously exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment. Vice Adm. Michael Rodgers is scheduled to assume command of both NSA and USCYBERCOM in 2014, pending Senate confirmation.

In addition to USCYBERCOM, several related commands are located at Fort Meade, including the Navy’s 10th Fleet and Navy Fleet Cyber, Marine Corps Cyber, Army Cyber (relocating to Ft. Gordon, Georgia in 2019), INSCOM Cyber, and 24th AF Cyber. Though original estimates of total Cyber Command (all agencies) employment were 2,300, current personnel figures and projections show manning of 2,840 by 2016, with estimates +/- 5000 by 2017.

Some of the uncertainty regarding the size of Cyber Command relates to questions about the scope of its mission, still being refined. In a speech on July 14th, 2011, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III outlined the five pillars of U.S. cyber strategy, including:

  • Treating cyberspace as an operational domain like land, air, sea and space, operating and defending department networks and training and equipping forces for cyber missions.
  • Introducing new operating concepts on department networks, including active cyber defenses, using sensors, software and signatures to stop malicious code before it affects operations.
  • Working with the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector to protect critical national infrastructure like the power grid, transportation system and financial sector.
  • Building collective cyber defenses with allies and international partners to expand awareness of malicious activity and help defend against attacks.
  • Fundamentally shifting the technological landscape of cyber security by significantly enhancing network security.

General Keith Alexander defined the mission more succinctly in January 2014, identifying it as having three components: defending the nation, supporting the combatant commands, and defending the DOD informatino networks.

As the U.S. Cyber Command strategy is refined and expanded, additional resources may be needed and further linkages made that will affect the number of personnel at Fort Meade. The latest information on U.S. Cyber Command can be found at Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, a DoD website.

Construction is underway on a new Cyber Security facility at Fort Meade, adjacent to the new DISA buildings on the NSA East Campus (the former golf course). The first phase includes a 675,000 sf Data Center, two 150,000 sf Operations Centers, and a 150 MW Sub Station.

A brief summary of the command’s mission can be found at USCYBERCOM Fact Sheet.

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