Friday, November 03, 2006
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force said Thursday it was setting up what could become a new four-star command to fight in cyberspace, where officials say the United States has already come under attack from China, among others.
"The aim is to develop a major command that stands alongside Air Force Space Command and Air Combat Command as the provider of forces that the president, combatant commanders and the American people can rely on for preserving the freedom of access and commerce, in air, space and now cyberspace," Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne told an industry conference.
Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana — home to the 8th Air Force and about 25,000 military personnel involved in everything from electronic warfare to network defense — will house the fledgling Cyberspace Command, Wynne said.
"Cyberspace is a domain for projecting and protecting national power, for both strategic and tactical operations," Wynne said.
"This new way of war is data-dependent," he said. "We need to protect our data while detecting adversary data and then deny, disrupt, dissuade or destroy the source of that data or transmission as appropriate."
Heading the new command will be Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, commander of the 8th Air Force, who said its capabilities would include, for instance, taking down a financial network if ordered to do so by the president or defense secretary.
Elder, referring to any U.S. foe, added: "If they want to fight with us in cyberspace, we're willing to take them on there, too."