of a four-part series exploring what U.S. Cyber Command will need to operate on its own, separate from the National Security Agency.
Given the two distinct — yet sometimes similar — mission sets of U.S. Cyber Command, a war-fighting organization, and the National Security Agency, an espionage organization, separate infrastructure, tools and training is needed for the former to operate on its own.
For CYBERCOM to meet the stipulations of
current law (as discussed in
Part I), which are unlikely to change in future years’ legislation given the
stern opposition from influential lawmakers regarding a premature NSA-CYBERCOM split, the organization will need its own infrastructure on which to conduct its operations.
This effort is currently spearheaded by the recently established Capabilities Development Group, which plans and synchronize capability development for the joint cyber force and whose No. 1 goal is developing the Military Cyber Operations Platform, or MCOP.
MCOP is “essentially the sum total of the portfolios we manage,” said Keith Jarrin, executive director of the Capabilities Development Group at CYBERCOM.
Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, of which CYBERCOM is a sub-unified command, recently
told the Senate: “I will not advocate separating the two until we have a separate platform in the services that Cyber Command can operate on.”
MCOP will be the war-fighting platform used by the cyber mission force to conduct Title 10 war-fighting missions.
The services are also looking into the development of the
so-called unified platform, which is outlined in the Department of Defense’s 2015 cyber strategy and serves as the back end of MCOP. Just like providing conventional kinetic military forces with weapons, munitions or vehicles, outfitting cyber forces involves fielding the unified platform and figuring out how to establish an infrastructure separate from the NSA to conduct missions.
Cyber warriors, in order to successfully carry out their mission, need a platform, an interface, a tool set and an infrastructure, just like war…