The Army and Navy’s Cyber Mission Force (CMF) teams have both reached full operational capability (FOC) a year ahead of schedule.

U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) validated the CMF’s met all training and capability requirements needed to carry out current cyberspace operations, both services announced Thursday.iStock Cyber Lock

All 40 Navy CMF teams were approved for FOC on Oct. 6 and the Army’s 41 teams on Sept. 28, after meeting the required number of personnel and operational training hours.

“Reaching FOC at this point in the development of the Navy’s CMF teams is a testament to the extraordinary hard work invested in manning our teams and training our personnel,” said Vice Adm. Mike Gilday, commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet, in a statement.

The Navy and Army CMF teams are tasked with carrying out USCYBERCOM’s effort to defend DoD networks, protect data, support joint military commander objectives and ensure the resiliency of critical infrastructure.

“The Navy dedicated a small team within U.S. Fleet Cyber Command to work specific manning and training for the Cyber Mission Force. This team established strong working-relationships with the Manning Control Authority in U.S. Fleet Forces Command and in Navy Personnel Command. Filling these positions and training our personnel was a priority for the Navy,” a spokesperson for U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet told Defense Daily

The Navy’s CMF teams include four National Mission Teams, eight Combat Mission Teams, and 20 Cyber Protection Teams, as well as three National Support Teams and five Combat Support Teams, according to the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet spokesperson. 

The FOC designation ensures that each CMF team has been externally evaluated in its ability to perform USCYBERCOM missions within its respective service.

CMF team training included cyberspace operations planning, devising network operational strategies and learning software analysis skills.

“The Army’s achievement of this critical milestone is a testament to both the tireless work of the soldiers and civilians of Army Cyber Command, Cyber Center of Excellence, the Army Headquarters Cyber Directorate, as well as unwavering support from the highest levels of the Army and Dept. of Defense,” said Lt Gen Paul Nakasone, commanding general of  Army Cyber Command, in a statement. “I’m grateful for the teamwork and support from our institutional leaders, and proud of our Army’s landmark accomplishment. The Army’s cyber teams are built and fully operational, but our work is just beginning, as we ensure they stay trained and ready to step into the joint fight when needed.”

The Army’s 41 CMF teams are divided between 20 Cyber Protection Teams tasked with defending the network, and 21 offensive operation-minded mission teams. There are also plans to begin assembling reserve 21 Cyber Protection Teams within the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

Full operational capability is a major milestone in the Army and Navy’s operational growth, but there are still steps to be taken to grow the services’ cyber workforce and overall combat readiness with the latest cyberspace capabilities.

“Although reaching this milestone is a great accomplishment, the true challenge will be sustaining readiness and the prompt ability to ‘answer all bells’ when directed by U.S. Cyber Command,” said Gilday.