Cyber Talk

The Air Force’s current focus in cyberspace is to establish the capacity to keep critical computer networks up and running even when an adversary has succeeded in intruding them, says USAF’s current cyber commander. “We’re establishing tactics, techniques, and procedures to allow us to fight through an attack,” Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, commander of 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB, La., and overseer for USAF’s provisional Cyber Command, told Network World in an interview piece, dated Jan. 23. “The types of things we’re doing are ensuring we can continue to defend the US. Even if the US comes under an attack, we can continue to operate.” Thwarting cyber espionage is also a “huge issue,” he told the publication. “Most of our work is done on a classified network, but the non-classified net is connected to the Internet. We’re concerned about users introducing a backdoor through a ‘phishing’ attack or that through something like a thumb-drive, data is allowed to flow,” he said. The Air Force is considering Barksdale among the locations to host the permanent Cyber Command. A decision is expected in the coming months. Elder said the Air Force’s goal is to have the command fully established by October. It will grow in size to between 5,000 and 10,000 personnel, he said. He cited the development of technology to identify where a network attacker has placed embedded code or to discern what data may pose a threat as an area in which high-tech industry could support the Air Force.