Most people understand cyberspace from a user’s perspective, but few can make sense of the laws and regulations surrounding the military’s newest man-made domain, said Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, Friday. Nor can they understand the intricacies of operating in the virtual world, Basla told attendees of AFA’s CyberFutures Conference in National Harbor, Md. He said this forces cyber officials to make physical analogies about a cognitive domain. For example, he said, it’s like comparing the Air Force’s multiple networks to a single maintenance squadron being responsible for 10 different types of aircraft. While such analogies may get the point across, they also are “insufficient,” said Basla. “We need to culturally update the thinking and understanding of the cyber domain” to fall more in line with the understanding of the air domain, he said. For example, most airmen know the difference between an F-22 and an F-16; they also should be more conversant about cyberspace. Basla suggested rewarding airmen who increase their cyber knowledge or certification, similar to paying airmen to learn a foreign language.
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.