The Air Force has proposed designating six cyberspace capabilities as weapon systems, according to a service spokesman.
Air Force Cyberspace Defense (ACD), Cyberspace Defense Analysis (CDA), Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter, Cyberspace Command and Control (C2) Mission System, Cyber Security and Control System (CSCS) and Air Force Intranet Control (AFINC) have all been proposed as weapon systems, according to Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. James Cunningham.
Cunningham said once these capabilities are designated as weapon systems, it will allow Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) to manage operational cyber capabilities to achieve organize, train and equip (OT&E) responsibilities in line with current Air Force methods; ensure these weapon systems are standardized, sustained and available to combatant commanders; mirror the approach taken for other Air Force weapon systems and align AFSPC with the other major combatant commands in the way they manage operational capabilities.
ACD employs defensive counter cyberspace operations and situational awareness (SA) capabilities and defense in a network defense role to achieve cyber space superiority for assigned missions, according to Cunningham. Cunningham said CDA monitors, analyzes and reports release of sensitive details from friendly systems such as computer networks, telephones, email and Air Force websites.
Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter provides vulnerability assessments, defense assessments and penetration test assessments for Air Force and Defense Department cyber assets. This capability would also conduct active defensive counter cyberspace operations to identify and counter advanced persistent threats to critical capabilities identified by combatant commanders and U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), according to Cunningham.
Cunningham said Cyberspace C2 Mission System employs situational awareness capabilities to enable C2 of USAF cyber forces in support of Air Force and joint missions. CSCS provides full spectrum network management and network defense for the Air Force-provisioned portion of the DoD Global Information Grid (GIG), according to Cunningham. AFINC provides network operations, network defense and overall management of the Air Force enterprise gateways, according to Cunningham. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) describes the GIG as the globally-interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating and managing information on demand to warfighters, policy makers and support personnel.
AFSPC chief Gen. William Shelton said in a Nov. 7 speech though these cyber capabilities aren’t necessarily weapon systems, weapon system designation would get these systems “in the standard Air Force weapons system sustainment process for continued management and sustainment funding through the lifecycle of the system.”