According to Maj. Gen. William Lord, commander of Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional), the fact that there will not be a cyber major command but rather a cyber numbered air force delivers a major advantage—a bee line to the combatant commander. In a Shreveport Times report, Lord explained, “The numbered air force gives you something that the major command doesn’t and quite frankly that’s the direct connectivity to the combatant commander.” Lord predicted that the new 24th Air Force would comprise about 400 people, roughly the same number that had been expected to man the AFCYBER major command, noting that the organizational work already done would “roll in” to establishment of the NAF. “Most of the work we’ve already done is completely reusable,” asserted Lord, who must complete a transition plan by Dec. 1 to transform the major command apparatus into a NAF under the umbrella of Air Force Space Command. AFPSC boss Gen. Robert Kehler agrees there will not be a “huge difference” in the look of the cyber force as its own command or now under AFSPC. Both officials announced work on a new cyberspace roadmap late last month.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.