The Key Is Control

Speaking at an Eaker Institute event in Washington Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Robert Elder said that fighting in cyberspace is very similar to other mediums, where control is the key. Just as sea-lanes and airspace need to be secured and policed, so, too, must the Air Force “secure the domain” of cyberspace. That doesn’t mean that all aspects of cyberspace will be considered a battlespace, but that capabilities from the civilian and military sector will have to be tied together to increase the effectiveness of networks in the event of an attack. “Having robust cyber enables a quick kill chain,” Elder said and added that, whether providing a kinetic or non-kinetic response, everything hinges on dominating the cyberspace spectrum. One of the key capabilities Elder wants to develop is the ability to “to fight through the [network] attack,” rather than to have to shut down and reboot systems. To aid its cyberspace efforts, Elder said the Air Force had enlisted the help of other agencies, including the Defense Information Systems Agency, Homeland Security, US Northern Command, and the Air National Guard. On the Air Guard, he said, “My goal is to stand up an Air Force cyber unit in each state by the end of next year.”