Get hacking! America's cyber warfare force is now operational

Cyber-security and cyber warfare has been all over the news lately. Whether it was Friday’s attack that shut down Netflix and a host of other sites or reports of hacked political e-mails, you can’t escape the fact that cyber-warfare is here — and it is being waged right under our noses.

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, director, National Security Agency, chief, Central Security Service, provides a keynote address to students, staff, faculty and guests during a convocation ceremony kicking-off the 2015-2016 school year at NWC in Nepwort, Rhode Island. During the ceremony, Rogers provided a keynote address and was presented NWC’s 2015 Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. The award honors NWC graduates who have earned positions of prominence in the national defense field. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl/Released)

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, director, National Security Agency, chief, Central Security Service, provides a keynote address to students, staff, faculty and guests during a convocation ceremony kicking-off the 2015-2016 school year at NWC in Nepwort, Rhode Island. During the ceremony, Rogers provided a keynote address and was presented NWC’s 2015 Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. The award honors NWC graduates who have earned positions of prominence in the national defense field. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl/Released)

Well, the best defense is a good offense, so United States Cyber Command reported Monday that all 133 of its Cyber Mission Force teams had reached an initial operating capability. This means that all of those teams are now at least minimally useful and able to get hacking.

According to the Cyber Command website, the 133 Cyber Mission Form teams include 13 National Mission Teams, 68 Cyber Protection Teams, 27 Combat Mission Teams, and 25 Support Teams. The Support Teams are there to help the other cyber warriors — primarily the National Mission Teams (responsible for protecting the United States against significant cyberattacks) and the Combat Mission Teams (responsible for supporting the various combat commands). The Cyber Protection Teams have the task of protecting the Pentagon’s networks and systems from cyberattacks.

That said, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the commander of United States Cyber Command, said during a conference Oct. 25, “We’re way past the time where it can be, ‘I don’t have to worry about that, that’s what my IT guys do.’ ”

“I’ve come to the conclusion that you must not only spend time focused on that, but you must acknowledge that despite your best efforts, you’ll eventually be penetrated,” Rogers added.

Cyber Command’s goal is to have all 133 teams fully mission-capable by the end of 2018. Even then, it may not be a guarantee that U.S. won’t see another successful hack. Ultimately, though, cyber-security is everyone’s business.

“How do you make users smarter so that they can make intelligent, well-informed decisions?” Rogers wondered. “If your users are making choices that undermine that security, you’ve made your job that much tougher.”

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