AF IT Day: Lt. Gen. Basla says operational rules on horizon

The Air Force needs to work out what its missions and responsibilities are in cyberspace, a top service official said Oct. 11.

To meet this goal, the service will hold a cyber summit in November to formally establish operational rules and responsibilities in cyberspace, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael J. Basla, the service’s chief information dominance and CIO, said at AFCEA's Air Force IT Day.

The service has spent too much time talking about refining its mission, but not really doing anything, Basla said. The summit will bring together all of the top uniform and civilian Air Force officials to work out the service’s roles and operational needs in cyberspace.

“Today we’re only beginning to understand the capabilities of cyberspace and non-kinetic activities,” he said.

Besides supporting joint cyberspace operations with the other services, the Air Force also needs to work out its legal responsibilities in this area under Title 10 and Title 50, Basla said. Key questions that must be answered at the meeting are:

  • What is the underlying military mission in cyberspace?
  • What is the Air Force’s role in cyberspace?
  • What distinguishes the Air Force from the other services in this domain?
  • How should the Air Force train and equip its forces to operate in cyberspace?

The goal of the summit is to have a set of servicewide requirements for conducting operations in cyberspace at the end of the event, Basla said. In preparation for the effort, there are already a number of Air Force working groups preparing material, identifying operational gaps and highlighting service needs, he added.

With the cyber summit as a goal, the Air Force is working on creating a new generation of highly skilled cyberspace operations personnel. The service has developed a new six-month training program for cyberspace training. Additional professional development is provided through continuing education/skills enhancement courses, he said. 

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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