Navy Standing Up Tenth (Cyber) Fleet
The U.S. Navy will stand up its cyber operations unit, the so-called Tenth Fleet, this week, says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead. Speaking at a Washington think tank gathering), Roughead said the new entity — Fleet Cyber Command — will open for business Friday (Jan. 29) at Fort Meade, Maryland, which is also home of the National Security Agency (NSA).
Fleet Cyber Command is the Navy’s component of U.S. Cyber Command, a joint services subcommand created by Defense Secretary Robert Gates last June as a way of unifying the defense of U.S. military computer systems and networks. However, Senate confirmation hearings have yet to be held for Cyber Comand’s designated leader, Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA.
At a Center for New American Strategy (CNAS) panel discussion on defending the contested commons –the planet’s commonly-used areas: the high seas, the air, space and cyberspace — Roughead also said space and cyberspace were both crucial to Navy communications. Roughead noted that the Navy operates “the largest corporate internet in the world with over 700,000 users and 300,000 work stations.” He added that the Navy has created an “information dominance corps,” bringing intelligence and information technology specialists, cartographers and cryptologists together to keep ahead on information and intelligence.
Roughead was part of a panel, including the Air Force vice chief of staff, Gen. Carol Chandler, discussing the importance of a just-released CNAS report on securing the contested commons. The report states that U.S. dominance, or even access to, the global commons will not be a certainty in the future. The rise of often ruthless non-state actors, the effects of global climate change and easier access fro all to potent new technologies threaten the safety and accessibility of the commons.
The 200-page report, available on the CNAS Website, recommends that the U.S.: work with the international community in developing agreements that preserve the openness of the commons; enlist “pivotal” states and non-state actors in the protection of the global commons; and develop capabilities to defend and sustain the global commons including, long range reconnaissance and strike systems combined with cruise-missile equipped attack submarines. It also recommends building up the air forces of allies and partners and pursuing an international no-first use agreement against kinetic strikes on satellites (except to protect Earth’s population from out-of-control satellites.).