The leaders of the military cyber forces told House legislators they have made progress in building their mission teams and capabilities against a growing threat, but they warned that a return to sequestration funding levels would slow or stop that progress. “Our military networks are probed for vulnerability a million times a day,” and the US capabilities in cyber “is precisely the reason why the adversaries’ threats and our vulnerabilities are compounding,” Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, told members of the House Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee on Wednesday. As an example of the Air Force’s cyber progress, Maj. Gen. Burke Wilson, 24th Air Force commander, said Air Forces Cyber “has completed migration of our unclassified networks from many desperate systems into a single architecture. We transferred over 644,000 users across more than 250 geographic locations into a single network and consolidated over 100 network accesses into a more streamlined 16 … resulting in a more defensible network,” he said. Asked by subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) what Congress could do to help, Rogers said, “Ensure a steady resource stream.” If sequestration returns, “it would have a significant impact on our ability to execute the mission” and to defend our networks. “It would slow, and in some cases, stop our progress.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.