Cyber Defense

DISA's new cyber HQ starting to branch out

The Defense Department’s new, centralized office for defending DOD networks, which gained initial operating capability in January,is making progress on taking some of the defensive burden off of the U.S. Cyber Command, accoprind to the vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency.

“Right now the organization is starting to take over the day-to-day functions assigned to U.S. Cyber Command in the area of operating and defending the networks,” Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel told an audience today at the AFCEA NOVA Joint Warfighter IT Day in Tysons Corner, Va.   

Freeing up the Cyber Command to concentrate more on executing DOD’s cyber operations was the primary reason for the creation of the office, which goes by the name Joint Force Headquarters DOD Information Networks, or JFHQ-DODIN.

“It’s the result of collaboration between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command and DISA, in which we are developing the command and control relationship for the DODIN operations,” Zabel said.

Zabel said DISA will soon take a key step by standing up probational DODIN commands outside of its headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.  “The purpose of JFHQ-DODIN is to establish an overall command and control relationship that will reach in and affect all off its organizations so that the warfighter can bring to bear the powers of… the whole Department of Defense Information Network,” she said.

The new effort will be one of outreach to regional areas, such as the Pacific, for instance, to pass along information on cybersecurity capabilities they should prioritize or potential vulnerabilities on their systems.

“This is a very important step,” Zabel said. “These will be provisional commands and they’re going to be a – they’re basically a forward element of the Joint Force Headquarters supporting the commanders in theater requirement and progressing how we do command and control throughout the Department of Defense Information Networks.” 

Zabel said the concepts and exact mission of JFHQ-DODIN has not been officially defined yet, as something of this nature has never been done before. The stakes are very high, she said, but the nature of the work is exciting.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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