Air Force designates six tools as cyber weapons

The Air Force has approved the weapons system designation for six of its cyber capabilities as part of an ongoing effort to make cyber a normal part of its operational capabilities for warfare, said Lt. Gen. John Hyten, the Air Force Space Command vice commander, at a cyber event.

The decision to designate certain tools as cyber weapons was made by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Hyten said April 8 at the Space Foundation's Cyber 1.3 event in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"We're gaining ground in normalizing cyber operations in the Air Force," Hyten told attendees.

His presentation focused on the importance of getting back to the basics in cyber, and also the distinctions between cyber operations, IT and weapon systems, according to an Air Force news story. 

The Air Force also is integrating those cyber capabilities with other joint capabilities to meet combatant commanders' requirements, Hyten said.

All of the U.S. military services are endorsing a force presentation model that will build mission ready teams to support both U.S. Cyber Command and combatant command missions, he said.

Hyten did not disclose the names of the six cyber weapons nor give any specific details about them.

In his presentation, Hyten stressed the need for the Defense Department and the private sector to agree on some basic definitions for the cyber realm, Hyten said.
"While our Airmen have mastered the ability to communicate through cyberspace, our inability to communicate about cyberspace, the domain, and cyberspace operations in particular, frequently causes confusion and the inability to effectively and efficiently bring cyber capabilities to the fight," Hyten said. "We won't operationalize cyberspace until we operationalize our lexicon."

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