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[ISN] Air Force examines its vulnerability to cyberattack


By Sebastian Sprenger
May 29, 2007

Air Force officials have kicked off a study examining the service’s 
vulnerability to electronic attacks on critical network infrastructure 
and systems, as service officials continue planning for a major Air 
Force command dedicated to waging war in cyberspace.

Last month, service leaders assigned the Air Force Scientific Advisory 
Board to assess the risk of potential cyberwarfare scenarios and 
determine their effect on Air Force systems and operations, according to 
the April 19 terms of reference for the study.

The board also must review the Air Force’s current cyberwarfare defense 
capabilities and assess critical vulnerabilities in this area, the 
document states. In addition, panelists are to define technology trends 
and develop a science and technology plan that would help mitigate the 
impact of cyberattacks on Air Force systems.

The group is expected to deliver its findings in a briefing to Air Force 
Secretary Michael Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael 
Moseley in July. A final report is due in August.

Wynne announced plans to establish an Air Force Cyberspace Command in 
November. The new command will be led by 8th Air Force Commander Lt. Gen 
Robert Elder, who is also the joint functional commander for global 
strike and integration at U.S. Strategic Command.

Air Force officials are now working to flesh out the details for the 
command. Efforts are also under way to assess what kind of training and 
materiel service members need to fight in cyberspace.

Military officials have defined cyberspace as “a domain characterized by 
the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify 
and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical 
infrastructures,” Wynne said.

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