DOD plans major reorganization of cyber forces

The Defense Department plans to shift military and civilian employees from other areas to boost its cyber workforce, according to a DOD budget strategy report for fiscal 2014.

The DOD will move to further enhance its cyber capabilities and expand its workforce through a major reorganization that is being made in response to the increased frequency and magnitude of cyberspace threats, states the April report, "Defense Budget Priorities and Choices Fiscal Year 2014."

“Manpower from within the services and across DOD—military and civilian—will be reassigned to grow the capacity of the cyber teams,” the report states. “DOD will grow the cyberspace workforce by re-assigning non-cyber military billets to staff the new teams.”

Specifically, the DOD plans to reorganize its existing cyber forces into teams that will specialize in three areas: defending networks, degrading adversary cyber capabilities and supporting the defense of national infrastructure.

The new teams, which will furnish additional analytic capability and regional expertise for national and combat mission teams, will be overseen by the U.S. Cyber Command.

The DOD plans to have a cyber workforce in place by fiscal 2016 that consists of 40 mission teams, 25 direct teams and 68 protection teams.

ISR Assets

In the immediate years ahead, DOD will need unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that can go beyond the limited range of existing platforms, according to the report.

While land-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms can be modified to extend their range, it remains problematic to find nations willing to host existing or temporary air strips. To lessen the United States’ dependence on forward basing, the Navy will continue to develop its sea-based Reaper-like UAS known as the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) platform. At the present, the DOD is investigating cost and capability trades as it considers the UCLASS options available to it.

At the same time, the DOD plans to protect, and in some instances, increase its investment in ISR capabilities as they relate to Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2AD). For A2AD, the department is adjusting its science and technology research portfolio to focus on evolutionary capabilities for the near-term, rather than revolutionary ones that might take decades to field.

The workhorses of the DOD’s counter-insurgency effort will remain the MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, the strategy report states. The department is aiming for a fleet of 65 Reaper orbits to support counter-terrorism.

Both the Navy UCLASS and existing Air Force UAS Reaper and Predator programs are essential to meeting challenges in the Middle East and also in the shift to the Asia-Pacific theater, the report states.

Reduced Spending

The DOD’s total budget request for fiscal 2014 amounts to $526.6 billion. The report takes into account that the DOD is experiencing declining budgets that have led to continuing reductions in military modernization, force structure, personnel costs and overhead expenditures.

The DOD is required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to reduce defense spending by $487 billion from fiscal 2012 through 2021, the report notes.

As for sequestration, it represents about an 18 percent decline in the inflation-adjusted defense base budget between 2010 and 2014, according to the report. Sequestration would further reduce average annual defense spending by more than $50 billion each year through fiscal 2021.

To achieve rapid savings, the DOD first plans to target budget accounts that yield quick savings, such as modernization programs, training and maintenance accounts. Additional savings from overhead efficiencies, reducing personnel costs and structural reforms are possible but would take much longer to realize, the report states.

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