Cyber Command leverages acquisition model of special operations group

This is Part IV 
of a four-part series exploring what U.S. Cyber Command will need to operate on its own, separate from the National Security Agency.

The Capabilities Development Group is overseeing U.S. Cyber Command’s limited acquisition authority recently provided by Congress.

“The Command generally lacks NSA’s authorities in acquiring the tools for such initiatives, but Congress recently authorized USCYBERCOM acquisition authority for up to $75 million each year through the end of FY2021 to rapidly deliver acquisition solutions for ‘cyber operations-peculiar’ capabilities,” Adm. Michael Rogers, the head of CYBERCOM, wrote in congressional testimony in May 2017. “We look forward to reporting to the Committee soon on how we are executing this authority.”

Congressional aides have noted that this acquisition model was taken from U.S. Special Operations Command, describing it as a crawl, walk, then run. SOCOM enjoys rapid acquisition authority, which CYBERCOM eventually could get to but must first prove itself.

PART I: What is needed to split NSA and Cyber Command?

PART II: Here’s what Cyber Command’s war-fighting platform will look like

The Capabilities Development Group’s three-pronged mission includes planing and synchronizing capability development for the joint cyber force; developing capabilities in order to reduce risk or meet urgent operational needs; and maintaining CYBERCOM’s technical baseline. The group has many different subsections, such as identifying and pulling current resources or government off-the-shelf tools that are already available and in use to assist various elements or subordinate commands, such as the armed forces cyber components.

For example, the mission integration component ingests requirements from subordinate CYBERCOM elements along with the command’s headquarters, and then identifies capabilities that will potentially meet those requirements or work to get a capability developed and integrated, according to Justin Ball, the technical director at the Department of Defense Information Network Operations and Defensive Planning Division under CYBERCOM.

Ball spoke to C4ISRNET at the Defensive…

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