Air Force leaders are gathering in early November to discuss plans for
creation of a new command, one chartered with flying and fighting in
Cyberspace became an official Air Force domain, like air and space, on
Dec. 7, 2005, when Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and
Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. T. Michael Moseley introduced a
new mission statement.
In a letter to Airmen, they said the new mission was to “deliver
sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and
its global interests – to fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace.”
Now, Air Force leaders are planning to stand up a new “cyber command,”
to be responsible for fighting in that domain, said General Moseley.
“To deliver the full spectrum of effects we will evolve a coherent
enterprise, with warfighting ethos, ready to execute any mission in
peace, crisis and war,” the general said. “We will foster a force of
21st century warriors, capable of delivering the full spectrum of
kinetic and non-kinetic, lethal and non-lethal effects across all three
domains. This is why we are standing up an operational command for
cyberspace, capable of functioning as a supported or supporting
component of the joint force.”
Air Force leaders begin planning for the new cyber command Nov. 16 at
the Cyber Summit. During the summit, Air Force leaders will chart a way
ahead for the Air Force’s role in cyberspace, also called the cyber
domain, said Dr. Lani Kass, director of the Air Force Cyberspace Task
“The chief of staff of the Air Force is going to gather his senior
officers and talk about the new domain, in which, according to our
mission, we are going to fly and fight,” she said. “Our objective is to
come out with a course, a vector, that will set us up for transforming
our Air Force, to get us ready for the fight of the 21st century.”
According to Dr. Kass, cyberspace is neither a mission nor an
operation. Instead, cyberspace is a strategic, operational and tactical
warfighting domain – a place in which the Air Force or other services
“The domain is defined by the electromagnetic spectrum,” Dr. Kass said.
“It’s a domain just like air, space, land and sea. It is a domain in
and through which we deliver effects – fly and fight, attack and defend
– and conduct operations to obtain our national interests.”
The cyber domain includes all the places an electron travels. The
electron, which is part of the atom, can travel from one atom to the
next. This concept is key to electronic communication and energy
An electron may travel from a cell phone to a cell tower, for instance.
The path the electron takes, the shape of its path, the speed it
travels, and the direction it travels are all critical to ensuring the
cell phone works and that a usable signal is received. As part of a
signal, an electron can travel from a handheld computer to a reception
tower, over a wire to a telephone, to a television through an antenna,
from a radio transmitter to radio, and from computer to computer as
part of a network.
The electron can also travel, as part of energy transmission, from a
microwave oven to popcorn seeds to make them pop, from generators over
a wire to a light bulb, and from an X-ray machine through bone to a
detection plate to make an image for a doctor to review.
The places where the electron travels is the cyber domain, or
cyberspace. And the ability to deliver a full range of cyber effects –
to detect, deter, deceive, disrupt, defend, deny, and defeat any signal
or electron transmission – is the essence of fighting in cyberspace.